Noblesse Oblige – or Does It?

Noblesse Oblige – or Does It?

The Tenacity of English Tribal Markings Over a century ago, when George Bernard Shaw was appearing on an Edwardian equivalent of a TV chat show to promote his new play, Pygmalion, he said, probably in an Irish growl, that ‘it is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without...

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Banishing Tribalism

Banishing Tribalism

There are still people living in western democracies who are puzzled by the large numbers of white people who came out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As Sherlock Holmes might have said to his baffled colleague, ‘It’s evolutionary, my dear Watson.’ I haven’t yet seen Mr Trump...

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Rich & happy to pay tax

Rich & happy to pay tax

I’ve nothing against rich people in principle. I know several – some extremely rich. I like some of them; I dislike others. I admire some for the generosity and imagination with which they have made use of their wealth; I despise others for their mean-mindedness and obsession with possession, and...

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What next?

What next?

In this most unusual of times, last experienced in circumstances that won’t be remembered by anyone alive – not even the redoubtable Captain Tom – in 1919, there is, as there was then, a wide perception that ‘Things Will Never Be the Same Again’. If you are not already busy...

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Mind, Body, Spirit

Mind, Body, Spirit

I can’t remember if the editor of this fine organ has warned me off writing about anything that might come under the general Dewey classification 200 or ‘Mind Body Spirit’, as they call it in Waterstones. It’s the kind of thing hard-nosed, pinot noir glugging magazine supremas might do,...

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Comment: Ya boo sucks

Comment: Ya boo sucks

It sometimes seems, in these disturbing times, that the default mode of general conversation is disparagement. Up in the hills of South Shropshire where I spend much of my time (and where KCW distribution does not penetrate) I am responsible for regular restaurant reviews that appear in a small glossy magazine...

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Something Positive

Something Positive

‘Something positive,’ the editor told me. ‘Give them something to smile about.’ ‘Crikey,’ as Bertram Wooster probably never said. ‘That’s a challenge – a lofty demand,’ he might have added, anxious, like his creator, to eschew the hackneyed phrase. I considered the ed’s request. ‘What’s not to be glum about?’...

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The influence of Princes

The influence of Princes

Just as even the most politically committed among us were beginning to weary of the dreary cross-fire spluttering on between the egotistic fabulist and the bigoted narcissist who seek to lead us out of the EU (at the expressed will of 38% of the electorate), the monarch’s second son blunders...

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Doctors’ Dilemmas

Doctors’ Dilemmas

Recently my wife was waiting for a breast screening at a mobile clinic when she overheard another woman in an adjacent booth giving the year of her birth as 1932. At 85 the woman had already had a good helping of life.At what point, my wife asked herself, should we...

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Aging Scribblers

Aging Scribblers

There are many instances of novelists continuing to practise their art well after the appropriate faculties have failed. They re, I imagine, egged on by greedy agents, lazy publishers and pusillanimous editors, all of whom know that, at certain levels, it is names, not content that sell books, leading to...

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