Boots on the ground?

As I write this, Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, is deciding whether or not to commit British armed forces to action in Syria, in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons to murder his own citizens.
Read more…

Categories: Commentary

Protected: Quotable Quote: A cult of ignorance

December 17, 2016 Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Quotable Quote: Parliament is sovereign

November 8, 2016 Leave a comment


In the face of Prime Minister Theresa May’s determination to make the British people lie in the bed they’d made for themselves, Gina Miller and her People’s Challenge group took the government to the High Court. The court ruled that any move to trigger the UK’s withdrawal from the EU must be approved by Parliament, and the ruling was greeted with howls of anger and accusations that the judiciary was attempting to derail the democratically expressed will of the people.

Journalist Polly Toynbee, writing in the Guardian (Guardian online, 3 November 1916), said:

There are times when MPs need to rise above their party interests, their own interests and the views of their constituents. That may risk being voted out, but they may earn more respect by standing up for the national interest as best they can determine: that’s what representative democracy is for. In times of war or national crisis, defending the country from grave error, at whatever personal cost, is their duty. Brexit is the greatest threat to national wellbeing since the war, and this will test the mettle not just of individual MPs, but of the nature and purpose of a representative democratic system.

Quite so.

People who live in glasshouses

January 21, 2016 Leave a comment

I don’t usually get involved in politics but, like many, I was appalled at the murder of Alexander Litvinenko ten years ago. Read more…

Osteoporosis unpacked

Like most parts of the body, bones undergo a continuous cycle of replacement and renewal. Existing components in the bone matrix break down, to be replaced by new ones; in youth, there is a near perfect balance in the process. The rate of renewal begins to slow down in early middle age, but in healthy adults the change in balance is negligible, at least until (in women) the menopause. Read more…

What drives me mad: signs that tell lies …

January 10, 2014 Leave a comment

… and those who write them.

I’m driving along the A-something-or-other, a couple of hours into a longish journey, and my tongue begins to feel too big for my mouth. A cup of tea would go down very nicely – and aha! what’s this? A sign that announces

1/4 MILE

But when I reach that next layby a quarter of a mile down the road, what do I see? Nada. Nothing, that is, except a litter of styrofoam teacups strewn around a torn-apart-by-foxes black bin bag. Grrr.
Read more…

More on bureaucracy and good governance

Sherard Cowper-Coles at length on what is wrong with the way we are addressing the situation in Afghanistan.

Read more…

Do as the Romans did

March 5, 2013 3 comments

Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British Ambassador to Afghanistan, has an interesting plan to achieve longlasting stability in that country.

Read more…

Quotable Quote: Technopoly

December 30, 2012 Leave a comment

[B]ecause of its lengthy, intimate, and inevitable relationship with culture, technology does not invite a close examination of its own consequences. It is the kind of friend that asks for trust and obedience, which most people are inclined to give because its gifts are truly bountiful. But, of course, there is a dark side to this friend. Its gifts are not without a heavy cost. Stated in the most dramatic terms, the accusation can be made that the uncontrolled growth of technology destroys the vital sources of our humanity. It creates a culture without a moral foundation. It undermines certain mental processes and social relations that make human life worth living. Technology, in sum, is both friend and enemy.

From: Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (1992)

Categories: Quotable Quotes

Quotable Quote: Did you ever read what they call Science Fiction?

June 15, 2012 1 comment

In a letter to his literary agent H N Swanson (14 March 1953), Raymond Chandler wrote:

“Did you ever read what they call Science Fiction? It’s a scream. Read more…