If Emily Hill is right in her cover piece for the magazine last week headlined ‘The end of feminism’, then women like me are in a whole world of trouble. And by women like me, I mean women over 40.
The nub of Ms Hill’s argument was that all the big battles are won. She quoted the sparkling achievements of ‘women in their twenties’ and also ‘the under-40s’, who are out-earning men. What happens to women after they have broken through the glass ceiling is a question for an older, more cynical female writer.
As Angela Merkel approaches her tenth anniversary in power, Germans are talking about a possible Kanzlerinnendämmerung — a ‘twilight of the chancellors’. Anger is growing at Merkel’s handling of the migration crisis. Germany, which has only recently reconciled itself to the idea that it is a ‘country of immigration’, must now integrate vast numbers of asylum seekers, beginning with the million who are expected to arrive this year.
When President de Gaulle was asked to authorise the criminal prosecution of Jean-Paul Sartre for civil disobedience during the Algerian war, he declined. ‘One does not lock up Voltaire,’ he added, unhistorically. In France, ‘public intellectuals’ have a quasi-constitutional status, so it’s not surprising that a furious bunfight has broken out over a handful of philosophers known as ‘les nouveaux réactionnaires’.
If Labour is ever to clamber out of its cage on the fringe of politics, it will have to convince the 250,000 supporters who voted for Jeremy Corbyn to turn from far-leftists into social democrats. The necessity of persuading them that they made a terrible mistake is so obvious to Labour MPs that they barely need to talk about it.
In case it is not obvious to you, let me spell it out. Corbyn exacerbates every fault that kept Labour from power in 2015, and then adds some new ones, just for fun.
I remember the exact day my illness first declared itself. Twenty-seven years ago. Thursday 20 October 1988. My then wife and I were at a viewing of Harry Hook’s The Kitchen Toto at the Strode Theatre in Street when I felt a sudden, crippling pain in my back. Being 35 and a grown-up, I tried to ignore it. But the pain came back when we went for a pizza that evening, and I ended up crawling to the gents’, mewling and cawing.
Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling is the best thing in the Lake District. I lived near Wigton, just north of the fells, for two years and escaping the shadow of the clingfilm factory to witness generations of champions, all called Brocklebank, do writhy battle on the Cumbrian turf was a delight. Fools might think that the embroidered pants worn by competitors over their white suits indicate a camp, silly sport, but they are wrong.