Blind Faith and Bigotry

Blind Faith and Bigotry

The new Leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, 56 year-old Edwin Poots, in being elected to the post, has overcome what for others might have been an insurmountable obstruction in his campaign. He was saved, though, by a bizarre but generally held view that a personal belief, however irrational,...

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The Decline of Truth

The Decline of Truth

It can be deeply inspiring to watch another man deliberately place his own head on the block over a matter of principle, especially when that principle is of vital importance to our national identity.             Two years ago, Peter Oborne, a conservative journalist who had consistently advocated support for Brexit...

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Freedom!

Freedom!

“Release Anxiety” sounds like a bullet point in a self-help book on mental health. Yes go on, just release it, let it go, easy as that; and, whilst you’re at it, why not lick your elbow, teach trick cycling to a fish, believe Boris has your best interests at heart,...

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2020: The Lost Year

2020: The Lost Year

Forever and a day, 2020 will be known as the ‘The Lost Year.’ We always knew it was going to be challenging, with first the Presidential Election in November followed by Brexit shortly afterwards. Both were calamities of different sorts. But by then a third virus had taken root in...

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The Spector of madness: are mental illness and genius inextricably linked?

The Spector of madness: are mental illness and genius inextricably linked?

It’s in no way a controversial statement to say that as a society we’re pretty opposed to murderers. When a murderer emerges blinking from prison, even long after they served their time, in the eyes of society they’re still branded with the mark of Cain. The perpetual rumblings from those...

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Vacillate or Vaccinate?

Vacillate or Vaccinate?

I had to do something. After a year of war-like rhetoric, waged against an invisible enemy, Covid had killed one in every 200 people over the age of 50. In late December, there was at last a call to arms. All citizens were expected to take, at least, a couple...

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Familiarity and Contempt

Familiarity and Contempt

Tucked in a mental pocket, scrawled on a scrap of ethereal paper lodged in my half consciousness, I have a list of 8 records chosen for a fantasy date with Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs. This list, like those of thousands of other no-hopers, changes frequently, depending on the...

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On Reflection

On Reflection

Some things are just really hard to love, even though you’re supposed to. Most turn up at Christmas. Racist relatives, scented soaps, the Queen’s speech, Brussels sprouts. And then, especially in January, the hardest thing to love is your reflection. I f we were happy narcissists, in love with our...

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Time to be Optimistic 

Time to be Optimistic 

For reasons which probably stretch back to the way the Romans ran their military and their civilian administration, the numbers 10 and 100 have had a special significance in our Western lives for the past two thousand years or so. And at our esteemed, loved and highly rated local monthly...

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