Articles

Latest travel articles

  • Expat Storm

    It would be normal to think of the Scots as the second biggest nation in the British Isles with a population a little under five and a half million. But there is arguably a bigger tribe with a population over five and a half million, which is British expats. Expatriates are people with a country’s […]
  • The Golden Age of London, 1980-2020?

    It’s a commonplace observation, revealed in numerous interviews and heartfelt observations expressed online, that a pandemic takes away the benefits and increases the costs and dangers of living in a city. According to surveys conducted for the London Assembly Housing Committee in August 2020 14% of the population of London wants to move out and […]
  • So – should we go to Mauritius?

    . . . being the question one is most asked having been to Mauritius. It is usually the only question and is taken as pre-empting all others. We went to Mauritius for no reason. It wasn’t a lifetime ambition and it wasn’t on any kind of tick list for either of us. The question was […]
  • Raising Razed Cities

    In recent years we seem to have developed a semi-conscious affinity with cities razed by war. We have been in Hiroshima and Dresden. We based a war memorial tour in Ieper/Ypres, obliterated by three years of siege as a “salient” on the Western Front. We were also in Oradour-sur-Glane, the village wiped out by the […]
  • O Canada

    During September 2019 we were in many places and that included Jerusalem at the start of the month and Ottawa at the end. It would have been difficult to avoid the thought that these were opposite cities. From the Mount of Olives you can look down and across at Old Jerusalem, its walls and surroundings. […]

 

Latest ideas articles

  • A Box of Love Letters

    Most people, I guess, found that in “lockdown” they got round to doing things that were only on their really long list of things to do. In my case this included opening up the box file containing my father’s letters to my mother during the Second World War. He was in the Eighth Army in […]
  • The “Right Wing” Case for the NHS

    I am inclined to be snotty about the NHS. Debunking things that everyone else seems to believe in is one of my stocks in trade and I found all that clapping to be a bit North Korean. Moreover the service is the last proud moral possession of the Labour Party, not an organisation I’m fond […]
  • The True Meaning of Alastair Campbell

    About thirty years ago my wife and I attended a wedding at the House of Commons. At the drinks between the ceremony and the reception proper the two of us were talking to a young journalist. We asked him exactly what his job was and he said he was the political editor of the Daily […]
  • In Which America Goes Crazy

    So this is me doing what I am sworn not to do. That is, write briefly about the contemporary events that everyone else is writing about and for no money. It’s almost like tweeting – but not quite. On January 6th 2021 a bunch of hooligans as we would call them became the first people […]
  • Life with the Blind

    One night in late 1964 I assisted at a bizarre ritual which involved three blind men climbing up a drainpipe. It led them to the easily opened window of the Junior Common Room in Queen’s College, Oxford. I had been drinking with them because they were school friends, from Worcester Royal College for the Blind, […]

 

Latest sport articles

  • Bob Lord: Butcher and Visionary

    The land in which I grew up was mostly famous for its witches, but there was also an ogre. He was fierce and cruel yet he was able to give the people magnificent gifts because he had absolute power over the thing most people cared about. This was Bob Lord, chairman of Burnley Football Club […]
  • A BBC Sports Channel?

    Five old men meet in a park during lockdown. Within a minute and from a stimulus that nobody remembers we are quoting the holy texts: “The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey.” (Brian Johnston) “And for those of you watching in black and white the pink is next to the green.” (“Whispering” Ted Lowe) “Oh. I […]
  • Sport and Liberty

    This Sporting Life: Sport and Liberty in England 1760-1960 by Robert Colls, Oxford University Press, 2020, pp. 391, £25.00. This Sporting Life begins with Minna Burnaby, an American lady married to a Leicestershire landowner. Her diary tells us that in the 1909-10 season she rode to hounds on 108 occasions, falling ten times. In the […]
  • Sport in the Middle East

    Danyel Reiche and Tamir Sorek (Eds), Sport, Politics and Society in the Middle East, Hurst & Company (London), 2019, pp. 284. There is a certain football manager who, when he fails to sign the range of players he would have liked, growls, “It is what it is” and gets on with managing what he’s got. […]
  • The Strange Fate of the One Day Game

    A Saturday in May and I made my way to Edgbaston to watch Warwickshire play Lancashire in the Royal London One Day Cup as befits a retired cricketer. It was cold and there were short, sharp showers which included some hail. The crowd were a pleasant lot with something of a Commonwealth flavour: I identified […]