John Booth

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.

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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?

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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.

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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...

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Ukraine needs our hearts – and our heads too

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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A good sign for our times

The unopposed second reading of the Private Member’s Bill to give British Sign Language (BSL) legal status is a welcome bright light in these dark and dingy days. In proposing the Bill Labour MP Rosie Cooper recalled her own experiences of growing up as the hearing child of deaf parents. “I saw first-hand the difficulties deaf people face every day – the huge challenges my parents had to...

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While waiting for Sue…

Whatever “formidable” civil servant Sue Gray uncovers about the Prime Minister, his wife and their coterie of pals, advisers and party backers, there are a few other events going on worth our attention. One takes place in the High Court on Monday morning to Julian Assange: will he be allowed to appeal the High Court’s ruling on extradition to the United States? Try to hold these two pictures in...

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Are you the wrong kind of…?

What must it have felt like for Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, to learn that he was “quite a lightweight figure” in the eyes of his fellow Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg? As a qualified football referee the MP for Moray will have received much more vulgar abuse than this patronising putdown from Boris Johnson’s fellow Etonian, but it was still pretty nasty from the grandiloquent...

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