It was clear that things were going wrong for David Cameron when he had to say that his position on Iraq was ‘very, very simple’. To use that phrase was to admit that things had become very, very muddled. They remain so now.
The Prime Minister started the week with a robust line on the bloodshed in Iraq. He declared the start of a ‘generational struggle’ against Islamic extremism that would last for ‘the rest of my political lifetime’.
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[/audioplayer]Pity the modern starlet. Be she steaming-hot pop-tart or reality-show show-off, her range of emotional experiences will, thanks mostly to the gentlemen of the press, be strictly limited. She will have ‘lonely hells’ (often but not always linked to ‘drug hells’), ‘sex romps’ (sometimes ‘three-in-a-bed’) and watch her life ‘spiralling out of control’.
Poor Julian Assange. Call me a contrarian but I’m genuinely starting to feel sorry for the guy. He’s just made such a mess of his life, hasn’t he? And with such promise. Only a few short years ago he was the world’s most prominent anti-everything activist, with hair like an indie guitarist, feted and worshipped wherever you might find hot Scandinavian revolutionaries, smug old men who work for ‘theguardian’ and Jemima Khan.
Having written (for a Times diary) a few sentences about consciousness in robots, I settled back to study readers’ responses in the online commentary section. They added little. I was claiming there had been no progress since Descartes and Berkeley in the classic philosophical debate about how we know ‘Other Minds’ exist; and that there never would be. A correspondent on the letters page referred me to Wittgenstein’s treatment of the subject and so I studied his remarks.
The FTSE100 index stands precisely where it did in the first week of December 1999. Whichever way you look at it, shareholders — including pension funds — have had a rotten run on the economic rollercoaster of the past 15 years. So it’s reasonable to keep asking whether the rise in executive pay over that same period is justified: a report from the High Pay Centre says remuneration of the average FTSE100 chief executive is now at a multiple of 130 times (corrected from the report's original figure of 143 times) that of the average worker in the same companies.