The Spectator recently held a debate at the Royal Geographic Society with the motion ‘Immigration: Enough is Enough’. Proposing it were Frank Field MP, Dominic Raab MP and Kiran
Bali MBE JP. Opposing were Oliver Kamm, Jenni Russell and David Aaronovitch. Andrew Neil chaired. Here is Lloyd Evans' review:
‘I’m a coward,’ admitted Frank Field, the Birkenhead MP, proposing the motion. For years, his Labour party membership had prevented him from speaking out about immigration.
The downfall of Bo Xilai has been the closest thing the Chinese get to a proper public scandal. Here was the attention-seeking boss of the mega-municipality of Chongqing, a colourful rock star in the country’s monochrome politics, sacked in mysterious circumstances that gripped a gossip-hungry nation. China’s authorities this week even felt compelled to ban the word ‘coup’ from microblogging sites, amid wild speculation that an overthrow was in the offing.
No place for him in Scotland’s new McCop megaforceHere is an intro to get all Scottish Nationalists fuming about London media bias: Alex Salmond is abolishing John Rebus. Well, all right — this recalcitrant Scots detective never actually existed in the first place. And even in fiction, he’s been drawing his generous public-sector pension for some time now. But if Scotland’s First Minister reads crime novels, he will know that many of the successful ones depend as much on place as on character and plot — Conan Doyle’s clattering Victorian London, Morse’s Oxford, and a Rebus Edinburgh that keeps tourist board officials awake at night.
Carlsberg Special Brew is the beer of Churchill, Kingsley Amis – and me. They can’t ban itI have a confession to make: I am writing this article under the influence. As I tap away at my laptop, a can of lovely Carlsberg Special Brew sits on the table beside me, acting on my brain as oil acts on a car engine: lubricating the moving parts. Ever since I found that it could help to speed up my word output, strong Danish beer has been essential to my writing career, so it’s a great shock to discover that the government has Special Brew in its sights.
How – and why – ten-year-olds are being taught to run a businessThere’s an excited buzz in the Year 6 class of Yeading Junior School, in outer London. The ten-year-olds recently set up a polytunnel in the school grounds, and now they’re deciding which vegetables to plant in the new polythene greenhouse. Their teacher, Mrs Taylor, is cheerful but firm: ‘When the vegetables are grown, we’ll sell them for profit.
One staple of our national comedy is that someone must always fill the role of ‘Barmy Bishop’. While at Durham David Jenkins occupied the position, as perhaps in recent years has Rowan Williams. Certainly Richard Holloway recalls the morning while Bishop of Edinburgh when he woke to discover he had become the incumbent.His liberal views on women priests and gay rights, as well as vocal doubts over the literal claims of Christianity (culminating in his 1999 book Godless Morality) caused derision in the press and eventually made his position as a Bishop and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church untenable.
Round a bend in the mountain path, between the flowering rosemary and the wild box bushes, above the spine of bare rock that stretched like a dragon’s tail hundreds of feet down into the valley of the unseen river below, someone had sprayed in black letters on the unsuitable surface of the ground: ‘Catalunya is not Spain’. True enough, but where is? In the 700-mile railway journey I’ve been making over the past week from Montserrat in the east to La Coruña on the Atlantic, not many places.
Having visited most of the islands of the Caribbean when they were British colonies and since they were granted independence, I am convinced that Grenada, in the far south-east, is the fairest one of all. Its volcanic origin created wonderfully varied landscapes, from mountainous rainforests down to fertile plantations and a palmy littoral, brightened by bougainvillea, hibiscus, jasmine, orchids….
This August, Jamaica celebrates the 50th anniversary of independence. Amid the bunting and parades, talk will be of Britain’s continued presence in the island and the role of the monarchy in particular. Jamaicans are often incredulous that Queen Elizabeth II should still be their head of state. The Jamaican prime minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, has taken steps to replace the Queen with an elected president; yet she vigorously embraced Prince Harry during his Jubilee tour.
It’s easy to slide into comfortable sloth in Antigua: breakfast, swim, sleep, read; lunch, swim, sleep, read — a morsel of frozen fruit on a stick or afternoon tea here, a snorkelling trip or paddle in a glass-bottomed canoe there. Then perhaps a game of tennis or trip to the spa, followed by dinner.But you’d be a fool to snooze your time in Antigua away. We made some wonderful discoveries.