In 2001, soon after George W. Bush’s inauguration, a bit of gossip surfaced from the White House: outgoing Clinton staffers had crept around the place taking the Ws off keyboards, phone wires had been snipped, furniture broken, glue placed on desk drawers and satirical signs hung up directing people to the ‘Office of Strategery’. Not bad as pranks go, but the country was not in the mood for laughing.
‘Since Dad went to work in England, Mum and I have been missing him all the time. Dad isn’t young anymore and he’s alone in a foreign country. It’s all because of me. What an unworthy daughter I am! Dad wants me to go to university and have a good life. He’s making money for me. We haven’t been in a photo together for five years. That’s how long he’s been gone. When the families have reunited over the New Year, we have only sorrow, and worries for Dad.
While my remaining bank shares were plummeting last week I bought a copy of Socialist Worker to try to cheer myself up. At least somebody must be enjoying themselves, I reasoned, as I sat down to enjoy what I thought would be red-blooded demands for insurrection and the public execution of Sir Fred Goodwin. I cannot say how disappointed I was. I might just quote this less than revolutionary sentence from a leader:At the very least, the government could insist on an end to the threat of repossession and debt collectors.
The Corporation has performed admirably during the conflict, says Rod Liddle. It is to Mark Thompson’s credit that he did not cave in to pressure on all sides to air the charity appealForgive me for turning into Dr Pangloss all of a sudden, but doesn’t the furore created over the BBC’s decision not to run the film begging for charitable donations for Gaza sort of justify its original decision, at least in part?The most voluble protestors have been drawn, in the main, from the anti-Israeli far left.
A wintry London night and the haunting note of the bagpipes summoned us to Burns supper at Boisdale of Belgravia. In the doorway Pipe Major Willie Cochrane paused for breath and shook my hand. ‘Are they giving you a nip of something later?’ I asked. ‘I’ve got one right there,’ he said, pointing to a glass of Johnny Walker tucked beneath the Boisdale pavement sign. ‘It’s good stuff. But don’t tell anyone.
Justin Cartwright recalls his conversations over the years with John Updike, who died this week, and the master’s contention that the only excuse for reading is to stealI love John Updike immoderately. I am profoundly shocked that he has gone, because he was for me the greatest American writer of the second half of the 20th century. He was also a gracious, charming and witty man. But above all he had a very rare quality in writing — absolute integrity.
Fraser Nelson says that the ‘cash for amendments’ scandal dramatises the accelerating decay of the Brown regime — economic, political, constitutional. A saga that began in 1997 with grand promises of reform is entering its last bleak phaseEven at the ripe old age of 79, Lord Taylor of Blackburn knows how to strike a bargain. ‘Some companies that I work with will pay me £100,000 a year,’ he told the undercover reporter posing as a lobbyist.
As Obama-mania engulfs America, I feel that I’m living in the middle of a historical bubble.As Obama-mania engulfs America, I feel that I’m living in the middle of a historical bubble. The palpable excitement that began two months ago, when Obama was elected president, has grown into a great thumping worldwide lovefest. I have never seen such immense pride in a new president. His every move and those of his wife and kids is chronicled, yet amazingly he hasn’t (yet) apparently put a foot wrong, even when snapped chomping on a chilli-dog in a diner.