For years, Britain has been failing to train enough doctors and has been importing them instead. This has been a well-known and much lamented fact, raising several ethical issues. Is it right for us to rob developing countries of their much-needed medics? Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, said at the Spectator’s health summit this week that Britain should stop ‘denuding low-income countries of health professionals they need’.
Much has recently been written about the incumbent Commons Speaker, from (vigorously denied) allegations of bullying to (less vigorously denied) suggestions of Brexit-foxing chicanery. And to call John Bercow a ‘Marmite politician’ is to state the obvious.
A little less obvious is his idiosyncratic style of address — the bizarre collision of a Dickensian clerk with aspirations to eloquence, a stern headmaster out of P.
Has there been a Brexit disaster? It depends on your point of view. When John Bercow ruled that the Prime Minister could not bring the same deal back for a third vote, there were a great number of MPs who seemed delighted. But they were at opposite ends of the Brexit debate. Needless to say, they can’t all be right.
Dominic Grieve, who longs for a second referendum, welcomed the decision — thinking that the panic, and the government’s inability to answer the question, would mean the decision being thrown back to the public.
The government has lost the ability to run the country. It is no longer in charge of its own destiny, let alone that of the nation. What makes this so humiliating is that power has been ceded not to parliament, but to the European Union. The immediate future of our country will be decided in Brussels and the capitals of the EU, not in Westminster. It will be the EU that decides whether or not to offer the UK an extension to the Article 50 process, and how long it will be.
‘Remember, lads: Subscribe to PewDiePie.’ With these words, the killer began broadcasting his slaughter of 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, live on the internet — and a new form of terrorism was born.
For those unfamiliar with internet subculture, PewDiePie is a Brighton-based videogames blogger whose YouTube channel, the largest in the world, is known for its politically incorrect humour.
OK, Archers fans out there. All five million of you. Ask yourselves a straightforward question. Why on earth do you — do we — listen to this show full of completely awful people? Why do we subject ourselves to this 13 minutes of daily torment, not to mention the Sunday omnibus, wallowing in the lives of fictitious characters who, let’s be ruthlessly honest, are almost universally loathsome?
Don’t get me wrong.
As I write, Isis is still holding out on a few hundred square yards of dirt in the village of Baghouz in Syria. This is all that remains of a ‘caliphate’ that was once almost half of Syria and a third of Iraq. The fighting has now gone on twice as long as the battle for Mosul, a city of a million and a half.
Isis has just sent a taunting message to President Trump, saying he spoke too soon when he tweeted: ‘We have defeated Isis in Syria.
In a blink, everything has changed and yet nothing has changed. Life goes on. The long, hot days of a record summer are lazily tumbling into autumn, gridlock has returned to the motorways, the kids are back at school. But the murderous events in Christchurch last Friday have distorted everything for us as a nation. This far-flung little haven of ours — we’ve been so proud of its unspoilt coastlines, its quirkiness, its outsized achievements (in our minds, anyway), its inclusiveness and safety.
There is a particularly magical West Country woodland that I know, through which a sunlit stream meanders, braided by a series of neatly dammed pools that hum with life; dragonflies and mayflies, swallows, swifts, kingfishers, amphibians and small fish teem here in numbers rarely seen in Britain. The birdsong is cacophonous. The water’s edge is lined with the fresh growth of willow, hazel and alder, artfully coppiced as if by a skilful gardener.