[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_8_May_2014_v4.mp3" title="James Delingpole and Daniel Knowles discuss the gilded generation" startat=42]
[/audioplayer]No one likes being told they’ve never had it so good. When Lord Young of Graffham tried it three years ago, he was quickly forced out of his job as David Cameron’s enterprise adviser. And rightly so, you might think, for it was an affront both to the evidence before our eyes and to our most basic human instinct: that the past was golden and ahead of us lies only misery, penury, falling standards, overcrowding and the on-going destruction of our once green and pleasant land.
For years, George Osborne cut a rather lonely figure on the European stage. He was portrayed as the only major statesman who advocated austerity. But finally he has some company. Another European leader has burst away from the pack and is promising to freeze all welfare benefits for a year, cut health spending, cut taxes — and to be honest with the people by saying that ‘we cannot live beyond our means’.
So what, exactly, does Vladimir Putin want? ‘To start World War Three,’ according to the embattled Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk. ‘To rule as president for life with powers on par with the tsars,’ according to Alexei Navalny, leader of Russia’s tiny opposition. To ‘force a major change of boundaries on Europe… and break the post-Cold War consensus,’ according to Radek Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister.
One way or another, we’re going to be seeing quite a lot of Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan in ankle-length coats with pale faces this season. They’re in the film Suffragette, which has been shooting in the House of Commons in recent weeks.
The suffrage campaign was not only successful, it was successful to the extent that any other course now seems a bit preposterous. But what’s rarely mentioned is that the bulk of the resistance to it was from other women.
[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_8_May_2014_v4.mp3" title="Cosmo Landesman and Lara Prendergast debate if the bores have taken over" startat=1297]
[/audioplayer]I can remember back in the 1970s when a girlfriend of mine, sensing my lack of interest in her very long and very detailed analysis of the lyrics of Bob Dylan suddenly said, ‘Am I boring you?’
Of course she was.
Fifteen years ago, Sugata Mitra, a scientist from Calcutta, conceived of an interesting experiment. He went to a slum in Delhi, installed a computer into a public wall in the manner of a cash machine, then he waited to see what would happen.
As he had expected, the local children crowded round and began to experiment — but what he had not expected was how very quickly the kids mastered the basics of computing and began to search the internet for new areas of study.
It is October 2012 and my ovarian cancer is back. As we wait to see the consultant I say to my best friend, ‘We are going to Mexico this weekend to get that stuff so I can kill myself. We’ll probably get killed by drug barons.’ My consultant says I have three years. I agree to more chemo and ask: ‘Can I go to Mexico?’ She looks baffled.
It is February 2013 and the consultant is discussing hospices.
As the aircraft descends into the high altitude military airport at Leh, the first glimpse of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Situated on an 11,500ft high desert plateau, and sometimes known as ‘Little Tibet’, Ladakh has remained immune from the Chinese and Kashmiri territorial conflict. It maintains one of the most intact Tantric Buddhist societies left on earth.