A venal House of Commons, a time of economic dislocation, an unpopular PM: Siân Busby sees eerie resonances in the strange case of Daniel McNaughtenWhen Daniel McNaughten, a young Glaswegian wood-turner, shot Edward Drummond Esq on a freezing January afternoon in 1843, the widespread reaction was dismay but not astonishment. Such atrocities were only to be expected at a time of economic depression, social dislocation, terrorists and spies around every corner (does that sound familiar?).
Rod Liddle takes issue with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and otherdoom-mongers: Kim Jong-il’s nukes are quaintly amateurishApparently it’s now five minutes to midnight. I am referring not to the actual time, but to the figurative clock of the apocalypse which tells us how long it will be until we are all annihilated. It was invented by something called the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists back in 1947 when, gravely worried by international developments, not least those two nukes dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they had the hands of the clock positioned at seven minutes to midnight.
Angela Wallace is one of a new breed of wavering voter. ‘I’m disgusted with all of the parties,’ she says, peering suspiciously at the men with clipboards on her doorstep. ‘MPs are not like they used to be. Now they’re all as bad as each other.’ The political activists I am accompanying have a ready response. ‘Well, why not make a protest vote?’ asks the candidate. ‘We’re the BNP.’ They have a leaflet ready: ‘Punish the Pigs’, it says.
In Ireland, some 2,000 adults who gave evidence of assault at the hands of Roman Catholic priests and nuns are, probably correctly, spitting tacks. The inquiry into their treatment when in children’s institutions has ruled that, although they did indeed suffer, no charges may be brought, no names shamed and, for what it’s worth, no bank balances swollen by damages sucked from the Vatican’s already depleted coffers.
William Hague responds to David Miliband’s claim in The Spectator that the Tory EU policy is suicidal and says the government’s own strategy has been an abject failureThree weeks ago in these pages David Miliband bravely took up the challenge of defending Labour’s record on Europe and claimed that the Labour government has been shaping the European debate. Yet the reality is that this government has brought Britain no greater influence in EU affairs nor greater standing internationally, while its legacy will be to leave the EU more lowly regarded in this country than ever before.