“From the end of the 1970s, both poverty rates and the income and wealth gap rose sharply as a powerful financial and corporate elite recaptured the elevated slice of national income its predecessors had reluctantly conceded in the post-war years.”
‘An almost psychopathic disregard for human life’
How many times have we heard the vapid ‘thoughts and prayers’, ‘our hearts and thoughts go out’ and ‘lessons will be learned’ between the revelation of one scandalous tragedy and the emergence of the next?
Where does the money trail lead?
“If you wanted to be Tony’s Foreign Secretary Michael [Levy] was part of the package… He was an effective fund-raiser for the Labour Party, especially with the UK’s Jewish community. He had a home in Israel, as well as in London. Of Michael’s loyalty to Tony I was never in any doubt. But when Michael was given this position the Israelis must have thought they’d won the lottery.” – Jack Straw
In memory of Arnhem 1944
“I died to save my children. People of the world, see that they shall not die.” Gravestone of Cpl Arthur James Jones, killed on the first day of Operation Market Garden, Arnhem, aged 24.
The amazing Rose Reilly
As someone brought up to believe in exemplars rather than heroes it was a delight to spend an evening with Rose Reilly at Laura Martin’s fine production of Rose at the Perth Theatre. Looking fit enough still to be on the football pitch where in 1984 she was voted the world’s best female player, this genuine hero spoke after the one-woman show about the life that took her as a teenager from the...
Ten Years Hard Labour
To be smeared and abused with impunity by Israel-supporting figures in politics and the media is part and parcel of the corruption and decadence that increasingly disfigures what is left of our democracy.
Beryl and John: modest inspirers
To celebrate the lives of two inspirational figures in the same week has been a therapeutic diversion from the depressing spectacle of two Lilliputians vying to become British Prime Minister. One was my old schoolteacher and friend John Forster whose North Yorkshire funeral I attended last week. The other was world champion cyclist Beryl Burton who lived in the next block of flats to my Aunt...
Grenfell, Gresford, God – and Myrtle
In the week when would-be Tory successors to Boris Johnson speak of the urgent need for integrity and truth telling, the Dean of Durham used his Cathedral platform at Saturday’s Miners’ Festival Service to put those qualities in powerful historical perspective. The ground for the sermon to the packed congregation by the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett had been well prepared by the vibrant playing...
Three cheers for the authentic
We are better people than Rupert Murdoch and his minions in the media and Westminster want us to believe.
Grenfell: home is where the heart is
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Flags, flunkeys and flummery
Couldn’t we liberate our fixed-smile TV presenters and reporters from spending the Spring Bank holiday dutifully gushing what they know to be largely saccharine guff?
Sir Keir and his loyalties
Eagleton presents an account that forestalls any sense of disappointment or betrayal Labour members may feel in years to come: Starmer’s first loyalty was always to himself.
Waking up to Priti Patel
Who is this character Prime Minister Boris Johnson entrusts with our safety as Home Secretary and with that of the very existence of the Australian founder of Wikileaks accused of espionage by the United States?
Standing with Shireen
Who killed my daughter?
It is the painful saga of a traumatized parent being denied access to the truth of his daughter’s death – of a humane community doctor forced to confront the ugly realities of realpolitik on both sides of the Atlantic.
Imran Khan and a matter of principle
Imran Khan, the ousted prime minister of Pakistan, is not someone whose tenure in office I know much about. Equally, my knowledge of the country extends little beyond awareness that its history has been of much turmoil and foreign intervention, and that many of its politicians have not died quietly in their beds. But I have worked with Imran and the impression I gained of the former captain of...
Ukraine needs our hearts – and our heads too
As I’ve never been to Ukraine or Russia or speak the languages, what can I usefully say about this detestable war beyond expressing my outrage at yet another invasion and again feeling grievous disappointment that instead of the peace dividend promised after the collapse of the Soviet Union last century we see another round of increased military spending in 2022? Friends who live in Central and...
Scotland in changing times
A Difference of Opinion: My Political JourneyJim SillarsEdinburgh: Birlinn, 2021, £14.99 There aren’t many people still active in British politics who served in the Royal Navy when sailors were given 200 free cigarettes a month. But Jim Sillars is one of them and has lived to reflect thoughtfully on the 65 years since he joined up ‘to dodge’ national service in the Army. He was posted as a...
A whiff of Munchies in the air?
What a start to the week: Rupert Murdoch telling those who read The Sun or hear of it in news reviews that there’s just “48 hours to war” followed by a Times front-page picture of a gun-toting Ukrainian grandma. If the gnarled old media mogul ever reaches the Gates of Heaven will he be able to plead with St Peter: “In my long life of feeding fear and promoting conflicts around the world I may...
Here come the McDermid Ladies
While some footballing eyes were on Boreham Wood as they dumped Bournemouth out of the FA Cup on Sunday, others looked to the banks of the Forth to watch McDermid Ladies emerge for their very first fixture. Not that this was their first game together under captain Tyler Rattray. After years as Raith Rovers, they had swapped for and the BBC, STV and Sky News were among lots of news outfits there...