10/01/2015
10 Jan 2015

And they're off!

10 Jan 2015

And they're off!

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Features
Quentin Letts
The charming little airport that ruins thousands of holidays

Horror films occasionally use the device of the deceptive idyll. An apparently restful place — a clearing in the woods, a pretty cottage — is the site of a fiendish atrocity. A goodie escapes and breathlessly reports the matter to the police. Next morning the authorities race to the scene, and find nothing. Wickedness has been concealed. The deceptive idyll has returned. Such a place is Chambéry airport in south-east France.

The charming little airport that ruins thousands of holidays
James Forsyth
Why no one will win on 7 May 2015

On 19 June 1815, after the battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington declared that ‘nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won’. Two hundred years later, David Cameron or Ed Miliband might feel the same way as they sit in Downing Street. Any elation over victory will be quickly overshadowed by the thought of troubles to come — in all likelihood insurmountable troubles for either man.

Why no one will win on 7 May 2015
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
Why does Isis slay hostages? To cover up the fact that it’s losing

At this point in the war between the jihadist group known as the Islamic State and a US-led international coalition, many observers are wondering how Isis keeps winning. Isis is up against western air power and powerful regional opponents, and yet has apparently seized a territory larger than the United Kingdom, and is expanding into Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, and elsewhere. It seems incredible.

Why does Isis slay hostages? To cover up the fact that it’s losing
Tom Stacey
The deep instinct that Britain’s immigration debate still ignores

The issue of immigration won’t go away, because it threatens the soul of the nation. Nobody in political authority uses such language today, because they are unsure of the validity of ‘soul’ and of the political safety of the term ‘nation’. They will use the term ‘we’ in the context of Britain and its people, but would surely dodge defining it. Try as he might this election year, neither Cameron nor Miliband can do anything to persuade anxious voters they care about immigration, because they don’t use language which reaches the soul.

The deep instinct that Britain’s immigration debate still ignores
Tanya Gold
What The Theory of Everything doesn’t tell you about Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is a misogynist; and also, quite possibly, a narcissist. You wouldn’t know it from watching The Theory Of Everything, the new biopic from Working Title, in which you are invited only to weep when he discovers he has motor neurone disease at 21, and then marvel at his achievements in physics. It goes wild on the obvious cognitive dissonance of Hawking’s life and work — trapped in his body, yet transported in his mind to the stars.

What The Theory of Everything doesn’t tell you about Stephen Hawking
Jenny Mccartney
The Krays, Dennis Nilsen – and Chris Grayling: a conversation with Sir Ivan Lawrence QC

I’m standing with Sir Ivan Lawrence QC in a narrow room at his Pump Court chambers, examining an oil painting sent to him from Broadmoor by his former client the late Ronnie Kray. It is a naive depiction of a house in a field which could, at first glance, be the work of a worryingly forceful five-year-old. Yet what it lacks in finesse it makes up for in emphasis: the signature ‘R Kray’ is daubed in thumping capitals.

The Krays, Dennis Nilsen – and Chris Grayling: a conversation with Sir Ivan Lawrence QC
Mark Mason
Check yourself: have you succumbed to this corporate speak epidemic?

You know how it goes with corporate speak. A strange new habit grows and spreads, creeping largely unnoticed into the language, until one day you hear a sentence so bizarre, so divorced from normality, that it brings you up short. It happened to me the other day. A call centre operative, in the middle of a prolonged display of not being able to help, had to check something with a colleague. Before doing so she said: ‘Would it be OK if I put yourself on hold?’ Just stop and consider that sentence for a moment.

Check yourself: have you succumbed to this corporate speak epidemic?
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