In the Montblanc/Spectator Art of Writing Award last year, readers were invited to submit a short essay on the subject of immortality. Here is the winning entry.
My father is old. He does not believe in God. He was 90 in December, an event celebrated with a family lunch at a hotel of his choosing. It was a very happy day, for both he and my mother are physically and mentally fit, but I was aware that he resists death.
You’d be surprised how many champions Sir Ian Blair has. Ken Livingstone thinks he’s terrific. So does his Oxford contemporary and namesake, Tony Blair. The Guardian has devoted a huge amount of space to telling us what a good job he is doing. According to one of its columnists, the clamour against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has been whipped up by ‘the reactionaries in the force and their friends in the press’, who have never forgiven his enthusiasm for the Macpherson reforms.
Cyrus the Great, the ancient Persian king who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and wrote the first charter of human rights, must be spinning in his grave. Once the world’s most advanced civilisation, Iran is yet again descending into barbarism under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the rabid fanatic who took power in a rigged election last year.
A former member of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Ahmadinejad is determined to return Iran to what he believes to be its rightful place at the vanguard of the global Islamic revolution.