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Freddy Gray

The Pacific President

On Monday, as Barack Obama is sworn in again as President, his allies in the West will ask themselves the same nervous question they posed four years ago: how much does he care about us? The British, in particular, are worried. War looms in Mali, yet Washington seems happy to let the French take charge,

Tom Courtenay vs fame

‘You can’t talk about what might have been,’ says Tom Courtenay, reflecting on an acting career that blazed like a meteor the moment he left drama school and is now in its sixth decade. ‘The things you might have done, the films you might have made. I just didn’t feel comfortable with the world of

The mother myth

Here she comes again. Back at the top of the news, draped in the robes of the righteous, embraced by those who sanctify all things traditional: the ‘full-time mother’. As usual, she is the undeserved victim of something or other; in this instance, it’s the incoherent shake-up of the child benefit system, leading to headlines

My Venezuelan jail hell

There are two conditions British foreign correspondents must meet before they can consider themselves old hands. The first is having one’s work savaged by John Pilger; the second is spending time inside a cell somewhere abroad, preferably somewhere exotic and hot. It so happens that it was during a trip to sultry Venezuela that I

Chávez’s useful idiots

In the ranking of dictators, Hugo Chávez is in the welterweight class. President of Venezuela these past 14 years, he is supposed to be holding a ceremony of inauguration for yet another term of one-man rule and demagoguery. In anticipation, his supporters, the Chávistas in their uniform of red shirts, are singing and dancing in


Letter from the Foodbank

It’s our foodbank’s first winter. We started collecting food and giving it to people who haven’t got any in August. Since then we have had to open two more distribution centres in our corner of Norfolk, and we have two more planned for the near future. When we started, we were the 194th UK foodbank