With trademark grandiosity, Alex Salmond unveiled his white paper on independence this week as if he had retrieved it from the top of Mount Sinai. ‘This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published,’ proclaimed the First Minister. It was yet another reminder of an inexorable law of politics: the larger the document, the weaker the content. The American declaration of independence managed to fit on a page.
Nine cartoonists are shortlisted for the first ever Michael Heath Award for cartooning. The theme of the contest, sponsored by John Lobb, is ‘Man in Motion’. Work by four of the artists was printed in last week’s issue; four more are below. The winner will be published next week. Thanks to all who entered — and congratulations to those shortlisted.
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My memory gets addled sometimes, so maybe I’m wrong about this. But didn’t it used to be the case that when politicians were caught out lying, they made some sort of shame-faced apology to the nation and begged for our forgiveness? I’m sure that was it, you know. So if I’m right, to judge by the case of our Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, things have turned precisely 180 degrees. Mr Grieve has just offered a full and unqualified apology for having told the truth.
‘Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can!’ With these exuberant assurances, the young candidate, buoyed by an unexpectedly strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, vowed to carry on his crusade. One year later, in January 2009, the candidate became president and set out to make good on his promises.
That Barack Obama possessed the ability to heal the nation and repair the world seemed in many quarters all but self-evident.
You can’t go home again, as the Americans say. It’s worth running that adage, taken from Thomas Wolfe’s unfinished novel of 1938, past those zealots who snapped up 20,000 tickets for Monty Python’s reunion at the O2 Arena in 43 seconds when they went on sale this week. Four more dates were immediately inked in, with more to follow, one feels certain, as Python fever covers the globe. What a horrible prospect.
The plan to do last year’s Christmas shop at Peter Jones on 23 December was doomed from its sorry inception. I was soaked by the time I got there, my plimsolls waterlogged, kept going only by my expectation of a quiet and civilised department store, rammed to the skylights with perfect presents. Instead, I found myself spearing a path through the seething, teeming, hostile masses with my sodden umbrella, and, worse — finding its stock all but decimated.
Why should a portrait of a Flemish painter by a Flemish painter be considered so important to Britain that the culture minister Ed Vaizey has slapped a three-month export delay on it, and the National Portrait Gallery has announced a £12.5 million campaign to keep it in the country? Moreover, why is it so important that after reading this article you should immediately go to www.savevandyck.org and make a generous contribution to save it from going abroad? The answer lies in four words: Sir Anthony Van Dyck.
I’m Trinny, I’m an alcoholic and I’m an addict. When asked whether addiction is a disease, I didn’t have to think twice. Knowing that I have a disease is how I manage to have a healthy life today. All I can tell you about addiction is my experience. I grew up in a very normal home. Both my grandfather who was an alcoholic and an uncle who was alcoholic died of this illness. When I went to my first rehab I kept wondering: why I am an addict? They told me: ‘Don’t be concerned with why you have developed this disease.