India in a day

Bold programming by the powers-that-be at Radio 4 meant it was possible to listen to all seven episodes of Ayeesha Menon’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children in a single day on Tuesday, exactly 70 years since independent India was born, and Pakistan created. Four and three-quarter hours of meticulously crafted drama (directed by Tracey Neale and Emma Harding) ingeniously slotted into episodes of different lengths throughout the day, some just 15 minutes, others a full hour (the adapter having to create and sustain pace in a variety of ways to suit the different lengths). Such cavalier treatment of the schedule would have been unthinkable a few years ago; there’d

Thatcher’s Britain with her knickers down

Two 16-year-old schoolgirls from a sink estate in Bradford find fun and happiness by shacking up with a middle-aged married man — if you’ve never seen it, it sounds like the worst movie ever made. Yet Rita, Sue and Bob Too was a delight, one of the best British films of the 1980s, and this month it’s being rereleased in a new restoration by the BFI. I saw it when it first came out, in 1987, and fell head over heels in love with it. At last, here was a film about working-class life that wasn’t glum. Watching it again, 30 years on, it still feels just as fresh and

Sunny delight

No Californian could have painted Hockney’s pools. No La-La Land artist, raised on sun and orange juice, would have done tiles and diving boards and tan-lined bottoms as the boy from Bradford did. It had to be a Hockney, brought up, the fourth of five children, in a two-up two-down. Hockney, who aged three had sheltered from bombs with his mother Laura, father Kenneth, four siblings and a lady neighbour in the cupboard under the stairs. A Yorkshire child steeped in Typhoo tea and fortified by meat and potatoes from Robert’s Pie Shop. A painter who had bicycled the Wolds in the rain, and lived in the garden shed of

Shady past

David Hockney: It is a kind of joke, but I really mean it when I say Caravaggio invented Hollywood lighting. It is an invention, in that he quickly worked out how to light things dramatically. I’ve always used shadows a bit, because that’s what you need below a figure to ground it, but mine are more like Giotto’s than Caravaggio’s. I use shadows that you see in ordinary lighting conditions; you don’t find ones like Caravaggio’s in nature. But there are other varieties of Hollywood lighting. The ‘Mona Lisa’ is one of the first portraits with very blended shadows. That face is marvellously lit, the shadow under the nose, and

George Galloway was humiliated in London. Hooray!

It’s rare that an election result leaves you with a sense of giddy, disbelieving glee, but there it was in black and white. Galloway, George, Respect (George Galloway) Party, 37,007 votes. Walker, Sophie, Women’s Equality Party, 53,055 votes. Once you took second preferences into account, Walker and her newly formed feminist movement beat Galloway and his band of Islamists by almost 100,000 votes. This result is so striking, and so perfect, because Galloway is one of those old-fashioned socialists whose attitudes towards gender equality are distinctly retrograde: it is the man’s job to further the revolutionary cause and the woman’s to provide dutiful comradely support. Indeed, while he may not be

Labour’s halfwits have revealed their anti-Semitic side

My guess is that the people who voted for Naz Shah at the last election think she did not go anywhere near far enough in her comments about transporting Jews. Ms Shah is, somehow, still the MP for Bradford West, a seat she yanked from under the feet of someone we had all assumed had the votes of anti-Semites in the constituency sewn up. This is problem number one, for Labour. The loathing of Israel, and concomitant anti-Semitism, among its core Muslim vote is implacable. But problem number two is that Labour’s white middle-class metro liberal halfwits, of which Jeremy Corbyn is undoubtedly a member, are also disposed towards anti-Semitism. They

Would Jeremy Corbyn prefer George Galloway to be Mayor of London?

If a dirty mind is a perpetual feast, then a filthy mind is an open sewer. You see where the manure is coming from. More to the point, you know where it is going. When Galloway faced a challenge for the Bradford West seat from the Labour candidate, Naz Shah, he thought the best way to respond was to denounce a woman’s tales of abuse. He reduced Shah’s forced marriage at the age 15, to a ‘slander of her own family, community and city’ and an appeal to ‘racist stereotypes’. When he declared Bradford an ‘Israel free-zone,’ Muslim and white anti-Semites paid attention. And when he began his campaign to be London mayor by saying that the Labour candidate Sadiq

Bye, George

The race to be London Mayor is the biggest personality contest in politics. And one personality looms largest: George Galloway, back from Bradford and seeking his fortune on the capital’s streets. In his public appearances, the Respect party leader has been on his usual bombastic form. But dig a little deeper, and it becomes apparent that his campaign — and his career — is on the shakiest ground. In 2012, Galloway won the Bradford West by-election by 10,000 votes: a staggering coup. But at the general election this year his party was drummed out of town. Not only did Galloway lose, but Respect’s four councillors (who had only recently rejoined

Portrait of the week | 18 June 2015

Home Talha Asmal, aged 17, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, died in a suicide bomb attack on forces near an oil refinery near Baiji in Iraq, having assumed the name Abu Yusuf al-Britani. A man from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Thomas Evans, 25, who had changed his name to Abdul Hakim, was killed in Kenya while fighting for al-Shabab. Three sisters from Bradford were thought to have travelled to Syria with their nine children after going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Britain had had to move intelligence agents, the Sunday Times reported, because Russia and China had deciphered documents made public by Edward Snowden, the CIA employee who has taken refuge in

Rod Liddle

Is suicide bombing now a Yorkshire tradition?

Where would you rather live, Dewsbury or Bradford? I ask because it seems that there are probably some good property deals to be had in this particular corner of West Yorkshire right now, as a consequence of half the population decamping to Syria in order to blow themselves up. I mean, property was pretty cheap already — in Savile Town, Dewsbury, right in the heart of the Muslim ghetto, you can buy a nice grey stone cottage for not much more than fifty grand. Two beds, back yard, only a stone’s throw from the local sharia court and that vast mosque run by those jovial extremists Tablighi Jamaat. But it’ll be

George Galloway’s presence will spice up the London mayoral campaign

George Galloway’s announcement on Twitter this afternoon that he is standing for London Mayor hasn’t surprised many, given he suggested he would do so before he even lost his seat as Respect MP for Bradford West. But it is still significant because it means that there will now be a fierce left-wing force splitting the Labour vote in London, even though the party does have an impressive line-up of big names bidding for the candidacy. One thing is clear: Galloway won’t make the campaign any more boring. He is a magnificent orator, and easily recognisable, too, which helps in any contest, but especially in a London fight that follows Boris

David Hockney interview: ‘The avant-garde have lost their authority’

‘I just stay here and do my thing,’ David Hockney told me soon after I arrived at his house and studio in Los Angeles this August. ‘I’m not that interested in what happens outside. I live the same way as I have for years. I’m just a worker.’ Hockney has been labouring prodigiously for more than 60 years now, since he entered Bradford School of Art at the age of 16. ‘There is something inside David,’ his assistant Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima noted, ‘that drives him to make pictures.’ In the summer of 2013, after a series of disasters — including a minor stroke and the terrible death of a

Cry Bradford, for George and George

It’s going to be the battle of the Georges in Bradford West at next year’s general election – and Mr S reckons it could be a worth keeping an eye on George Grant, the Tory candidate selected for the seat on Saturday. After helping to launch the Libya Herald, the country’s first post-Gaddafi English language newspaper, Grant was forced to flee in 2013 when his investigative work into Benghazi’s extremist militias made him the target of abduction threats. Which is a somewhat sounder tale of adventure in the region than those of his Bradford West opponent, George Galloway – not least the Respect MP’s cosying up to the late Saddam Hussein. And it could well be

Up yours George

The most uplifting news of the weekend? Israeli tourists defied George Galloway’s decree that Bradford become an ‘Israeli-free zone’. Better even that: plenty of locals came out in sympathy with the touring Israelis. Guido has the details and pictures. #realhopenothate.

Let’s face it – Ray Honeyford got it right on Islam and education

Thirty years ago, as editor of the Salisbury Review, I began to receive short articles from a Bradford headmaster, relating the dilemmas faced by those attempting to provide an English education to the children of Asian immigrants. Ray Honeyford’s case was simple. Children born and raised in Britain must be integrated into British society. Schools and teachers therefore had a duty, not merely to impart the English language and the English curriculum, but to ensure that children understood and adhered to the basic principles of the surrounding society, including racial and religious tolerance, sexual equality and the habit of settling conflicts by compromise and not by force. Honeyford complained of

George Galloway blames Israel for the use of chemical weapons in Syria

Say this for George Galloway: every time you think he cannot sink any lower he finds new ways to surprise you. His latest contribution to Press TV, Iran’s propaganda station, speaks for itself. Parody is pointless. Given his history and his paymasters, we would expect him to defend the Assad regime in Syria. Even so, under-estimating his ability to sniff out the true villains is never sensible. Here’s his “analysis” of the use of chemical weapons in Syria: “If there’s been any use of nerve gas it’s the rebels that used it. […] If there has been a use of chemical weapons it was al-Qaeda who used chemical weapons. Who