Blogs and Journalism

The emptiness of institutional caring

Print

As well-drilled as a squadron of guards, the presenters and guests on the BBC have begun wearing the new medal of concern, the poppy. Each one of them – Huw Edwards, Alan Hansen, Clare Balding, every hack, weather forecaster and...

Read more

It’s not their fault you’re still a failure

Print

A new play at the Royal Court Theatre has done something rather dashing and unusual. Ignoring deprivation, globalisation, exclusion, fundamentalism, immigration, injustice and economic meltdown, it has put on a play called Tribes which explores a crisis within one liberal,...

Read more

40 Years On: an unsettling trip back to school

Blog

Last week, it was time to go back to school. For the first time since I was a teenager, I returned to Wellington College. I had been invited back by Anthony Seldon, the present headmaster – or Master, as we...

Read more

And now for the weather … it’s turning a bit brighter

Print

Mysteriously, the BBC weather forecast has come to represent something good and timeless and genuine in a superficial, changing culture. For millions, those moments after the TV news when a nerdy, middle-aged type prances around in front of a map,...

Read more

“NIMBY”: a byword for lazy-minded prejudice

Blog

Has there ever  in modern history been a sillier, yet also brutally effective, term of abuse than “nimby”?  It is a word which might have been formulated by a brilliant but cynical advertising copywriter or perhaps one of the more...

Read more

The secret life of Mr and Mrs Average

Print

The world may be awash with a daily torrent of surveys, graphs, league tables and flow-charts, but there are still those who believe we need more numbers to make sense of modern life. For them, the two little words "per...

Read more

The awkward ecology around eating meat

Print

The morality gap between what people say and what they do is at its widest in matters of the environment. Those who emit concern about logging in Indonesia or coal-fired power plants in China will quite likely squeal in dismay...

Read more

Pylon-fanciers will love this BBC propaganda

Blog

[caption id="attachment_1497" align="aligncenter" width="249" caption="What a turn-on: A Page Three Pylon"][/caption] I had always thought that people who actually liked the sight of enormous metal structures in the previously unspoilt landscape were a slightly eccentric minority. Society needs electrical power...

Read more

Here’s to the PLR – a great (and now late) quango

Blog

The air will soon be think with the sound of special pleading as George “Cat-Skinner” Osborne goes about his devilish work. On the whole, people accept the idea of public expenditure cuts in general; it is only when they get...

Read more

Tesco’s Big Society squashes Sheringham

Blog

Anyone looking for a neat, dispiriting example of the way powerful retail conglomerates work in modern Britain might turn their eyes to the north Norfolk coast where this week, after a 14 year – yes, 14 year – campaign, the...

Read more

Writer's Shed

On...