High life

High life | 11 April 2019

OK chaps, keep your hands where people can see them, and don’t touch. And try not to look. Soon that too will be a crime, so keep your eyes on the ground and you’ll be fine. The other thing to stay away from is due process. It does not exist and don’t try to exploit

Low life

Low life | 11 April 2019

In the Easter holidays, plus two school days, for which his mother will be fined or, as a serial offender, she will be summoned to appear in court (not that she’s bothered, bless her), I took grandson Oscar to Provence for a week. The flights cost us nothing because a neighbour passed on his air

Real life

Real life | 11 April 2019

With very little expectation they would care, I sent an email to Mole Valley Conservatives. It always amuses me, that name. It reminds me that in Ever Decreasing Circles the character played by Richard Briers worked at Mole Valley Valves. Martin Bryce, you may remember, was a narcissistic, obsessive, middle-aged man at the centre of

More from life

The turf | 11 April 2019

If you’ve never been to a Grand National and are approaching an age when it is appropriate to list ten things to do before you die, then put Aintree near the top of your list. The Cheltenham Festival provides a glorious championships to test the best in our sport but the Grand National, the People’s

Wine Club

The problem with no-fault divorce

It looks as if I’m the only one who wants to keep fault in divorce then. Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen so many divorces where there was actually fault, usually one of the parties running off with someone else. I can see why the adulterous party in the business should want to remove the distasteful

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have been undone by Brexit

One could almost look on Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn and see a story of frustrated love. They could be happy, the soppy observer might think. If only they could get some time on their own, and unburden their hearts, they would find they were in perfect agreement. Alas, their inability to be honest with

Wine Club 13 April

Everyone loves the wines of Villa Maria. Its so-called Private Bin range is hugely reliable and, heaven knows, I’ve drunk enough of it in my time. But there’s much more to VM than its entry level vino. Head further up the scale and you will find some corkers in the Cellar Selection, Platinum Selection, Reserve

No sacred cows

The Tory tipping point

The news that 83 per cent of Conservative voters are over 45, compared to 53 per cent of Labour voters, is depressing. That was a finding of a poll carried out by Hanbury Strategy for Onward, a right-of-centre think tank that’s just produced a report called ‘Generation Why?’. More alarmingly, Hanbury discovered that the ‘tipping

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 11 April 2019

Q. We sent out email invitations to our drinks party and have had too many acceptances. The venue has said that due to fire regulations we will have to reduce numbers by 20 people. What should we do? — T.L., Wantage, Oxon A. Email again, explaining the issue and asking for 20 volunteers to identify


A toast to independent Dorset

There was a shrewd old Tory MP called John Stokes. He was not on the left of the party. Indeed, I once told him that he was the right pole. He chuckled at the compliment. Others — including some Conservatives — would not have regarded that as a favourable assessment, and often found his views

Mind your language


Was the cascade of water that made the Commons suspend its sitting an omen or augury? When I asked that in conversation last week, a friend of my husband said that ‘strictly speaking’, augury is to do with divination from the behaviour of birds. I’ve since discovered that even more strictly speaking, it isn’t. Dear old

The Wiki Man

The central problem

A once famous question posed to job-seekers at Microsoft was ‘Why are manhole covers round?’ The question was revealing not because there was a single right answer, but precisely because there wasn’t. It helped elicit whether the applicant was someone happy to supply one plausible answer or someone who looked beyond the obvious. At a