No one ever really expected Nadine Dorries’s ill-fated abortion bill to succeed — not after the Lib Dems had made a fuss, and the PM had withdrawn his support with his usual principled grace. But what’s more surprising has been the strange and unpleasant consensus which has risen up from the debate about the bill, and has been twisting into the minds and out of the mouths of journalists all week — not just on the left, but across the centre too, and throughout Westminster.
When Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opens next week, it is likely to have all the spooks in London flocking to the cinema. John Le Carré, who wrote the book and helped direct the film, created a wonderful, almost romantic world of British espionage — mental chess games played against deplorable, but often brilliant opponents in Moscow. How things have changed. Nowadays the spying game means analysing Islamists’ rants, befriending ghastly regimes, fighting ambulance-chasing lawyers and having embarrassing secrets sprayed all over the press.
Charity might begin at home, but worrying about charity begins at Waitrose. Those little green tokens they give you with your receipt — nice touch, I used to think. If the store won’t give me any of my money back by way of a loyalty card, at least they’ll give it to someone I can vote for, by dropping the token into one of three compartments in a big clear plastic box by the exit. Each compartment relates to a local charity.
Why shouldn’t one of Liberia’s most infamous psychopaths become its president?Human rights are universal and indivisible, existing as they do in an unexplored metaphysical sphere in which the European Court of Human Rights plays the role of Christopher Columbus. So it is a wonderful thing to see the court’s discoveries accepted, applied and even extended in a country in which its writ does not yet run, namely Liberia, in West Africa.
TripoliComing pretty much straight from the London riots to the Libyan revolution has made me more contemptuous than ever of Britain’s self-pitying, self-indulgent, social-security-claiming insurrectionaries. For all the fear and death, Tripoli’s uprising has been far more disciplined. Cool young rebels, in their bandanas and Free Libya T-shirts, guard the streets. Barely a shop has been looted, and trainers are still changing hands in the normal way.
Something queer has happened to Amy Winehouse in the six weeks since her death: she has been turned from an anti-rehab rebel into the poster girl for rehab. The tragic Camden songstress was famous for singing ‘They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said no, no, no’. Yet now her demise is being held up as a sign that all troubled folk should seek expert rehabilitation as soon as they can.Her deeply distraught father, Mitch, is having meetings with Home Office ministers to discuss setting up more rehab centres.
Multibillionaire Warren Buffett may sound cuddly, but he’s talking from both sides of his mouthAugust was a typical month for Warren Buffett, America’s second richest man. While the leisure classes lolled, he called for higher tax rates for the rich. If America had a debt problem, he wrote in the New York Times, it was high time the rich paid a greater share of their earnings to the government. Then, two weeks later, he sank his fangs into the fleshy rump of Bank of America, one of the bailed-out giants still staggering three years since the start of the financial crisis.