Nihilism and disorder have been fostered by the state
On the third day of the London riots I received a telephone call from Mash, a member of a Brixton gang who I befriended three years ago. He was standing outside an electronics shop in Clapham,
watching the looting. I could hear shouts, glass breaking but never a police siren. I urged him to go home. ‘Harri man,’ he remonstrated, his voice hoarse with emotion, "You
don’t get to do this every day.
Only the wilfully blind could have been surprised by the scale or ferocity of the riots that have engulfed Britain in the past week. Unfortunately, most of the country’s political and intellectual class have been wilfully blind for years, in a state of the most abject denial; a brief walk in any of our cities should have been enough to tell them all that they needed to know. How anyone could have missed the aggressive malignity inscribed in the faces and manner of so many young men in Britain is a mystery to me.
Every reporter knows the feeling. I’m watching television at around 11.30 p.m. on Saturday night when my phone begins buzzing. It’s the distinctive number of the New York Times newsroom: 111 111 1111. Answering means being pitched into chaos. ‘We’re hearing of some unrest in Tottenham,’ says the voice. ‘Can you get there?’ I sigh, jump in a taxi and ask to go as close to the local police station as possible.
The Standard & Poor’s headquarters, inside one of the biggest skyscrapers in New York’s financial district, houses just about every kind of brainiac that Wall Street money can buy. Mathematicians, computer modellers, economists and market strategists pooled their collective wisdom before making last Friday’s decision to strip the United States of its triple-A credit rating. It is a shame, however, that the ratings agency didn’t have a historian with a sense of irony on its team.
Rome. A summer evening at the Colosseum. Snarling traffic and noisy crowds can be heard, but inside the arena the air is cool and still. On the dais, here to formally inaugurate the site’s restoration, which he is funding with a €25 million donation, is Diego Della Valle, ‘the shoemaker’, as the snooty Romans call him. He has built a fashion empire, transforming his father’s successful shoe business into a global brand, Tod’s, which continues to expand even in the depths of recession.
This being summer, many of us are going to spend a lot of time in airports. So we may as well make the most of it. During half an hour in WH Smith in Dublin airport, I learned to take life one small step at a time, the importance of learning how to delegate, and the best way to make decisions. I picked up Warren Buffet’s cardinal rule, which is to make a list of everything you want to get done today, begin at the top and work down.
They’re thriving – and they’re hungry The terrible story of the boys mauled by a polar bear in Spitsbergen has sparked a debate about the risks of adventure travel. But what does it tell us about polar bears? Some have claimed that this month’s tragedy is evidence that they are getting hungrier and more desperate as Arctic ice retreats. More likely, it shows that they are getting ever more numerous as hunting pressure relents.