Over and out …

… not entirely, but this blog is taking a holiday. It hasn’t had one in more than three years. That’s 167 blogs, and about 167,000 words.

Now, I’m embarking on a new novel, which will give me quite enough to write for the foreseeable future. And I feel that I’ve talked myself out on Brexit, and on quite a lot else.

I imagine, although I don’t know yet, that I’ll still post occasionally. But it won’t be every week, or anything like it. Thank you to those who have kept reading, and au revoir for the moment.

Fantasy Island

One of the sadder features of the past 50 years has been the decline of the United Nations to a status of virtual irrelevance. Many of its subsidiary branches do vital and valuable work, but the General Assembly contributes little to the world, unable to agree on anything. It has always promised more than it has been able to deliver. Now, it doesn’t even promise very much.  Continue reading

Serving under a single standard

It is rare to read two articles on opposite pages of the same journal that, with equal lucidity, set out opposite views on the same issue. The journal in question was The Spectator (16 March). The journalists were the novelist Lionel Shriver and the commentator Douglas Murray. The topic was whether British soldiers should be prosecuted for their part in Bloody Sunday. Both pieces were written shortly before the decision to prosecute one former soldier was announced.  Continue reading

In defence of Theresa May

Let’s get a few things straight. The Government has not lost control of the Brexit process; it never had control. The Prime Minister is not in disarray; Parliament is. The present crisis is not the fault of Theresa May; it is the fault of Members of Parliament. MPs are not noble, disinterested people, trying to serve the national interest; they are mainly a group of vindictive egotists who together are doing everything they can to trash the country’s reputation and to blame it on her.  Continue reading

Going round in circles

When in France, we are visited each autumn by an invasion of green scutal beetles, generally known as stink bugs, although ours don’t stink. They fly around the room like overloaded transport planes, lurk in the window frames and settle on ledges. One of their favourite tricks is to perch on the rim of a lampshade. The bulb throws a giant silhouette on to the ceiling that makes the bugs look like something from a horror movie.  Continue reading

Whatever

Sometime towards the end of the second series of the American version of House of Cards, Frank Underwood still hadn’t got his come-uppance and there were rumours that Netflix was planning a third series. We had invested a lot of time in this drama and had to decide whether to plough on through another 13 episodes (many more than that, as it turned out) or give up on the whole thing. We gave up.  Continue reading

Olé Ole

There has always been a school of management thought that says you get the best out of people through fear. Make them scared of you. Make them feel they’re not good enough. Bully them. Take for granted what they do well. Magnify and publicise their mistakes. Make them feel their job’s on the line every day. And, once in a while, fire one of them pour encourager les autresContinue reading