The Irish elephant in the room

An episode of the Morecambe & Wise Show from 1968, thought to be lost, was discovered recently in Sierra Leone and screened on Boxing Day. It included a lengthy sketch in which the IRA was treated as something close to a pantomime joke. It is safe to say that this sketch could not have been written or broadcast even two years later, which is a useful reminder of how quickly things can change. As they are changing now.   Continue reading

Where is Guy Fawkes when we need him?

In a hundred years’ time, I imagine that the British Psychological Society will still be using the behaviour of the House of Commons during the Brexit saga as an essential case study. It offers adult infantilism, a refusal to confront reality, an abdication of personal responsibility, an utter lack of self-awareness and a mania for scapegoating – all of them on an epic scale.   Continue reading

Tomorrow never knows

From the start of the American Civil War until just before it ended, there was no doubt amongst informed opinion in Britain as to how it would end. “I suppose,” the Foreign Secretary, Earl Russell, wrote to the British Ambassador in Washington, “that the break-up of the Union is now inevitable.” The Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Gladstone, agreed. It was all but impossible, he said, that the North could win.   Continue reading

Cock-up or murder?

Whatever the truth behind the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi – if that is ever revealed – it seems certain that some people are saying less than they know, and others are saying more. Nothing new in that. The world is drawn to a real-life crime thriller, especially when clues are strewn so carelessly about. Everyone becomes a detective and everyone has a theory. Here is mine.   Continue reading