A few nights ago, my missus and I were walking along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, minding our own business while trying not to think about Donald Trump — or Ted Cruz, or Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders.
Presently we passed the Old Post Office Building, a venerable pile dating to 1899. It looks a bit like Big Ben atop a ten-storey Romanesque atrium. There in front was a billboard the size of Montana proclaiming ‘TRUMP’.
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Russia’s bombing of the city of Aleppo this week sent a clear message: Vladimir Putin is now in charge of the endgame in Syria. Moscow’s plan — essentially, to restore its ally Bashar al-Assad to power — is quickly becoming a reality that the rest of the world will have to accept.
The LGBT rights movement — so the story goes — has split the Christian churches in two. On one side are the progressives, who believe that Christianity should accept gay people and recognise gay marriage. Lined up against them are the conservatives, who hold fast to the belief that being gay is sinful. It’s not entirely false, that story. There are just a vast number of Christians who don’t fit into it.
At a party recently I started talking to a friendly, charming woman and we established early on that she was left-wing. We chatted about this and that and for some reason I asked her if she played golf.
‘Oh no,’ she replied. ‘As I’m left-wing, I am not allowed to play golf.’
I was taken aback. Here was a soul who would go to her grave without ever experiencing the thrill of watching her drive soar into the air and race more than 200 yards down the middle of a fairway.
So the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, thinks his country has a ‘profound interest… in a very strong United Kingdom staying in a strong EU’, and President Obama is planning to join in campaigning for the Remainders too. They say this not because they think it is good for us, but because it is in their interests that we influence Europe in a free-trading, Atlanticist direction.
Well, two can play at that game.
The term ‘superhead’ was first used during the Blair government in 1998: an eye-catching word for a new breed of Superman-style headmasters or headmistresses, fast-tracked star teachers who would be parachuted into failing inner-city state schools and paid six-figure salaries to ‘turn them around’. It reaped rewards and can generally be considered a Good Thing. Sir Michael Wilshaw, for example, now chief inspector of schools, became known as ‘the hero of Hackney’ for transforming the academic record of Mossbourne Community Academy, built on the site of the totally-failed Hackney Downs School.
When people hear I’m from rural British Columbia, I know what their reaction will be: rhapsodic. ‘BC’ is their favourite place on earth — they had a life-changing encounter with nature there, and only their marriage/job/children stopped them dropping everything and moving there for ever. It may be one of the most beautiful corners of the Earth, but it’s also the place I grew up. In other words: I’ve always found it kind of boring.