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[/audioplayer]It is not mere hyperbole to say that the period between the Conservative party conference and the general election will be momentous. The next election will decide whether we have a chance to vote on Britain’s relationship with the European Union.
Václav Klaus has made a habit of saying things others shy away from saying, but it doesn’t seem to have done him much harm in the popularity stakes. Quite the opposite: the 73-year-old ardently Eurosceptic free-marketeer has legitimate claims to be regarded as the most successful ‘true blue’ conservative politician in Europe over the past 25 years. He was, after all, prime minister of the Czech Republic from 1992 to 1998 and then his country’s president for a further ten years, from 2003 to 2013.
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[/audioplayer]We love animals more than we love people. Of course we do. Following the recent fire at a Manchester dogs’ home, people donated £1 million and blocked the M6 with their cars as they arrived in their multitudes to adopt the displaced animals.
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[/audioplayer]The freshers heading off to university this month won’t only be bombarded with invites to join clubs and enough free Pot Noodles to sustain them till Christmas. They’ll also be swamped by advice on how to have sex. These young men and women, who probably thought that squirm-inducing sex-ed classes were a thing of their childish pasts, are in for a rude awakening.
If graduates from an architecture school designed buildings that were unfit for human habitation or doctors from a university’s medical faculty left death in their wake, their teachers would worry. The graduates of Oxford’s Politics, Philosophy and Economics course form the largest single component of the most despised generation of politicians since the Great Reform Act. Yet their old university does not show a twinge of concern.
The Ministry of Defence is like a sauna on Sunday. The air circulation system has been switched off and the place is hot — and deserted. Yet when you reach the Secretary of State’s floor, a small team is hard at work. As you enter Michael Fallon’s office, you see why. On an easel sits a map of Iraq and Syria. Tellingly, though, this isn’t the only map on the stand. Sitting behind it are ones of Pakistan, the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone.
I’m not sure what took me to Salvador Dalí’s house in Port Lligat, but it sure as hell wasn’t admiration. As a public figure, I hold him alone responsible for the look-at-me culture that gives contemporary art a bad name. And as a painter… don’t get me started. Sceptics slag off conceptual art as a load of navel-gazing nonsense, made by people with no interest in anything other than themselves. But to be fair to Dalí, he did at least have something to say.