The winning article in the 2004 Shiva Naipaul Memorial prize.
There were more than 60 entries from a total of eight countries. The runners-up were Horatio Clare, Simon Matthew Kingston, Joanna Kavenna, Bertie Cairns and Barnabas William Erskine Campbell.
In the Jollibee burger bar, Kuya Virgo held out his hands. Cradled in each palm was a duck’s egg, still warm from its boiling water. He looked at us expectantly; we looked back.
I left Liverpool 40 years ago, but I still regard the city as home: I am tied to the past by the unbreakable strings of memories and beginnings. If an uprising broke out in Liverpool — and God knows it’s often threatened — I would rush to the barricades, like those exiled Jews who returned to defend their country during the Six Day War. And that, following an unfortunate leading article in last week’s Spectator, is what I am now doing.
The word ‘hate’ should be used cautiously, but most British people seem to hate George W. Bush. The Spectator’s YouGov poll this week — see panel opposite — suggests that only 11 per cent of British voters and about 13 per cent of MPs would welcome a Republican victory in the presidential election. A convincing 53 per cent say they would be either ‘unhappy’ or downright ‘miserable’ if the incumbent renews his tenancy of the White House.