Tom Stacey

Witness to a stoning

Attending public executions, whether beheadings or stonings, is not my predilection, yet one does come across them in the course of life in Arabia and Pakistan. Beheading and stoning are the accepted penalties for a range of presumed offences in much of the Muslim world, and the all-male crowd — especially the old men — push

African Adventure

Every day in Kensington Gardens I jog round the bleak granite obelisk inscribed IN MEMORY OF SPEKE. VICTORIA NYANZA AND THE NILE 1864, which my family calls ‘Speke’s Spike’. That river is known to me a bit: I have stood on the glaciers of Ruwenzori at 16,000 feet, which feed it via Lake Albert. I

We need the occasional war or economic collapse

Tom Stacey says that there is a part of man’s collective soul that yearns for tribulations like the financial crisis and the philosophical and spiritual questions they force us to confront Amid all the doom and gloom, do you ever get the feeling we had it coming? I do. During all those balmy years of

Sick heart river

Love can drive a man to his grandeur. H. M. Stanley, greatest of all of Africa’s explorers — let us agree with this fine biographer, Tim Jeal, on Stanley’s pre-eminence — was driven by the reverse: love denied, love rebuffed. And with Stanley, that deprivation was a good deal more complex. ‘This poor body of

Expel foreign crooks? No, we’re far too nice

Tom Stacey, a prison visitor for 30 years, says that jails devote scandalous resources to ‘diversity’. No wonder the Home Office has so little time to manage deportations Political defenders of Charles Clarke insist it’s unreasonable to expect ministers to be acquainted with ‘every nook and cranny’ of the department they are responsible for, especially

Window of opportunity

Tom Stacey on how, as an act of penance, his great-great-uncle donated the great west window to King’s College Chapel As the choristers of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, fill our ears on radio and our eyes on television with their double Christmas bill of carols for the birth of Jesus, the light that plays upon

Shooting lions and lines

It’s not fair to blame a book for its subject — a book by a decent fellow who delights in Africa in the wild, a book of charm and perception, thoughtfully put together on fine paper with pictures in sepia which make you see and smell the African bundu where the author followed loyally in

The all-purpose bogeyman

One has to be careful of saying anything nice about people like Idi Amin, even when they are dead and gone. It is easy to get a reputation for being deliberately provocative, or for seeking compassion kudos like the late Lord Longford, who befriended convicts for the sheer magnitude of their infamy. For many years,