As the Obama administration’s top diplomatic brass fly to the Middle East to resuscitate the peace process, they will be inspired that 15 years ago Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan shook hands at the White House and inaugurated a lasting peace.This week the Middle East will again take centre stage as an ‘airlift of American officials’, three of President Obama's most senior advisers, arrives in Israel instructed to breathe life back in to the negotiations with the Palestinians while simultaneously pushing for a regional peace plan.
Rod Liddle says that the Equality and Human Rights Commission has been well led by Trevor Phillips — all the more reason to play straight with figures about the treatment of immigrant applicants for housingThere was a report out recently which said that men who marry much younger women tend to live rather longer than men who don’t. This cheered me up no end. I’ve always had the vague suspicion that I might be immortal, beyond the reach of the Reaper’s scythe, and I regularly scour the newspapers for scientific evidence that this suspicion of mine is indeed well founded.
Does Cameron think the Beeb impedes fair competition? Will he cut the DG’s salary? The closer Cameron comes to power, the more the Corporation panics, says Anne McElvoy What does David Cameron really think of the BBC? A spectre (or several, perhaps) haunts the taupe corridors of White City, Television Centre and Broadcasting house as a likely Tory victory grows closer. Memories abound of Mrs Thatcher’s Peacock Report, which was intended to begin the dismantling of the licence fee, of Norman Tebbit’s 1986 broadside, unleashed by coverage of the Libyan embassy siege, but really a Kulturkampf against a perceived left-liberal bias.
‘Don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans’ went a sarcastic lyric of Nöel Coward’s at the end of the second world war, and nowadays nobody of civilised instinct is beastly to them. Quite right too. Political correctness, so often stultifying to free expression, has at least ensured that racial bigotry is recognised as the cruellest kind of yobbery, distantly but recognisably related to genocide.
First, the good news. And we all need good news. According to the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, the UK is no longer at a ‘critical’ level of threat from a terrorist attack. We’ve been downgraded to a ‘substantial’ level of alert against al-Qa’eda or other extremist groups. So we’ve gone from a ‘touch-and-go’, worst-case scenario to a merely ‘significant’ one. However, the bad news is that ‘the Fear’ has been replaced by the Big Bogey Man himself — Mr Piggy.