An argument you sometimes hear from those sitting on the Brence (the Brexit fence) is that it’s a pity the EU couldn’t have stayed the same as it was when we first joined it in 1973. Back then, say the Brence-sitters, it was a trading bloc with only nine members, which made sense. Greece wasn’t a member, nor were Spain and Portugal, never mind Lithuania, Latvia and all those other countries ending in vowels.
Call this a scandal? A few years ago, it wouldn’t have made the cut. If any reporter had taken the David Cameron tax ‘scoop’ into the now-defunct News of the World, he would have been laughed out of the building.
‘OK, just run it by me again. The Prime Minister’s dad was a stockbroker, right? Daddy Cameron operated this fund in Panama, or somewhere, and Dave had a few shares in it. Then before Dave became Prime Minister, he sold the shares and made a profit of 19 grand, after paying full capital gains tax in Britain.
Last week we reached the beginning of the end of the pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio — the ‘great reformer’ of the Catholic church who, it appears, has been unable to deliver the reforms that he himself favours. This despite being Pope.
On Friday, he published a 200-page ‘exhortation’ entitled Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love’ (or ‘The Joy of Sex’, as English-speaking Catholics of a certain vintage immediately christened it).
Like millions of non-Americans hooked on the US election, I’m backing someone even though I don’t have a vote. I love Cruz and I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m not talking about the oleaginous Ted, but Caroline, his seven-year-old daughter. Caroline is that rare thing in politics — an actual human being. Her eyes glaze over in campaign videos as she’s forced to deliver a succession of facile lines. She ruins coordinated photocalls by making bunny ears behind her dad’s head and refusing to hug him for the cameras.
How clean are you? I ask not as a mother confessor. I’m not interested in the state of your soul. What I want to know is: how clean is your sock drawer? Your fridge? Your gut?
These are the pressing questions of the new cult of clean. Its apostles urge us to divest ourselves of worldly possessions, to renounce ‘dirty’ food and alcohol and to dress in monkish grey or bleached white. Our sins are these: we have bought too much tat, eaten to filthy excess and stuffed our wardrobes with cheap, disposable rubbish.
There are few more beautiful places in this world than Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas. I know this because, right now, I am staring down the sub-tropical Punakha valley, gazing at an untouched rural landscape where singing women hoe the sunlit chilli fields. It’s glorious. And gloriously devoid of tourists. Though apparently Prince William and Kate are coming here in the next couple of weeks. I hope they don’t lower the tone.
It’s 8.57 on a Friday evening and I’m at home, waiting for an obscure American radio talk show to come online. For the next hour I’ll be answering listeners’ love queries with the aid of my Tarot-reading skills, and out of respect to all the lovesick Americans out there I’ve made a real effort to stay sober. Which is quite an achievement because, downstairs, my friends are slugging it out over the EU referendum.