The Salisbury Review
The Quarterly Journal of the Conservative Anglosphere
'The Salisbury Review publishes writing on
politics, history and culture that is among the
finest produced in English today.’ 
The Independent 2012

     Our Bloggers
Theodore Dalrymple is a retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. A highly popular journalist, he writes for The Times, The British Medical Journal,The Observer, Daily Telegraph, Spectator, The Salisbury Review and is contributing editor to the City Journal where he is Dietrich Weismann Fellow. His books include, ‘Life at the Bottom’, ‘Our Culture’, What’s Left of It’ ‘Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality’ ‘The Worldview that Makes the Underclass’. 'Dalrymple's work,' writes Daniel Hannnan, 'takes pessimism about human nature to a new level....once you get past the initial shock of reading about battered wives, petty crooks and junkies from a non-Left perspective, you find humanity and pathos.'
The Hilarious Pessimist
Theodore Dalrymple
On my
Uppers: The Blog of
Jane Kelly


Jane Kelly worked for the Daily Mail for 15 years as a leading celebrity interviewer. Among her subjects were; Hilary Clinton, Jack Nicholson, Russel Crowe, George Clooney, Michael Portillo, Tony Benn, Jeffrey Archer, Edwina Curry, Scarlett Johansson, Arthur Scargill, Vanessa Redgrave and Elizabeth Taylor. She has written two books; a biography of Colin Farrell, and ‘Inside’ an account of working as a teacher in Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London.

These acerbic, direct, and often funny blogs, reflect Jane’s clear eyed view of our silly, sentimental, shopping obsessed, left wing society as it stumbles toward self annihilation.
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Gabriel Hershman ‘On the edge of Putin’s empire’
Discriminating, intellectual, censorious, right wing, elitist.
Gabriel Hershman was born in London but now lives in Sofia with his Bulgarian wife. A journalist and editor he has recently published a book on Ian Hendry the English actor
Spring Edition 2015
The Salisbury Review Blogs

Tuesday 30th September Jane Kelly; Time held me green and dying though I sang in my chains like the sea. (Thomas)

First the coincidences, showers of them making me tingle. Today I was even looking in a mirror examining my nose when a voice from the radio started talking about Cyrano de Berjerac. There was a strange sense of time speeding up, and after that came the news of drastic change. Last Tuesday, 23rd, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the same disease which hit me in 2010. A bit of a coincidence there too because we are not genetically connected as I was adopted.
Thursday October 2nd, Jane Kelly.
The politically correct 'care', human beings love.

One of the saddest things I heard this year, was the voice of someone working in a 'care' home, after the cases of abuse were reported in Rotherham and Rochdale. 'There is no love on offer in children's homes,' he said flatly. 'That is the one thing that we cannot give.'
Sunday October 5th Jane Kelly. 'That certain NHS smile.'

The BBC announced the terrible news that our children's teeth are at pre-war levels of decay. (This doesn't include Scotland where teeth seem to be optional) An eighth of three year olds have an average of three decayed teeth.
Sunday October 5th. Gabriel Hershman What it is like to live in Bulgaria.

Someone once told me that he did not object to socialism on ethical grounds. It was simply that it didn't work. His remark hit home. Perhaps - I've since wondered - he'd been to Bulgaria to see the proof.
Monday 6th October. Theodore Dalrymple. 'David Cameron - political Wonga man.'

Mr Cameron is Focus Group Man made flesh. This is not altogether surprising since his only known employment, other than politician, was in public relations. He appears not to know what to think until he has consulted a variety of gauges of public opinion, and then he announces his own opinion as if from deep conviction.
Monday 6th October. Jane Kelly. Re-writing history with the BBC

Last week the BBC Trust ruled that during one of its children's programmes in the BBC 'Learning Zone,' Florence Nightingale was shown racially discriminating against the travelling Afro-Caribbean cook Mary Seacole. Of mixed race, she called herself a 'yellow woman,' and set up cafes for soldiers on the battlefield. She was never a nurse but wrote an interesting book about her time in the Crimea.
October 8th Jane Kelly. The BBC, a hiding place for witches ?

BBC R4 this morning had a news report about some children in the UK being savagely abused after being accused of witchcraft. These infant 'witches' are beaten, secluded, forced to drink strange, noxious substances, abandoned, and some sent back to Kinshasah where they live on the streets. The BBC said the perpetrators live in, 'faith communities.' They did not mention Africa or African churches.
October 7th Theodore Dalrymple.
Brown Bear eats his porridge.

Gordon Brown was never as detestable as Prime Minister as Anthony Blair because incompetence is less appalling than evil. Mr Brown may have been a flawed, even a very flawed, human being, but he was at least recognisably human. And he had one quality that moved me and in my opinion lent him great dignity: he never made political capital of, or sought public sympathy for, his personal handicap.
Sunday the 12th of October. Theodore Dalrymple.
The Social Media - Animals at the keyboard.

Last week I met a pleasant lady who, though she had appeared a few times on television, could hardly be counted a public figure. Nevertheless, she had received many abusive messages on Facebook and Twitter as a result of her appearances, and one man had written to her thousands of times and threatened to kill her, telling her that he knew where she lived just to make sure that she was genuinely frightened.
October 13th. Gabriel Hershman
Gipsy Summer in Bulgaria

The bad news here in Sofia is that the recent Bulgarian elections have solved nothing. "Indecision, uncertainty and divisions still paralyse the political establishment" - would probably be the formula of words used by quality media. This means in plain English - it's still a mess but the names of the mess-makers have changed.
Thursday October 2nd, Jane Kelly.
The politically correct 'care', human beings love.

One of the saddest things I heard this year, was the voice of someone working in a 'care' home, after the cases of abuse were reported in Rotherham and Rochdale. 'There is no love on offer in children's homes,' he said flatly. 'That is the one thing that we cannot give.'
Wednesday September 19th. Jane Kelly experiences a normal day in the Acton Caliphate

I began my day by walking to Tescos, it's a small one and much of the meat sold in there is Halal, or very cheap frozen chicken which is unlabelled. But I can buy a limited range of fish there, and all the food outlets near to me are Halal. So it's this shop or a drive or bus ride to something better.
17th July Theodore Dalrymple. Tattoing and the World Cup

Although football is hardly the American national sport, the New York Times ran more than one article about the German victory in the World Cup, with links to sites that explained the part that advanced technology had played in it. For example, physiological monitoring of the players in training allowed the manager to select those to play who were at the peak of their fitness. The German team also had a specially built training camp that was exactly calculated to its needs. There the players could enjoy both privacy and a social life to encourage team spirit. But all of this, it seems to me, is beside the point .....
Tuesday 14th October. Jane Kelly
Back to Turkey’s Kurdish Killing Fields. President Erdogan takes a leaf from Stalin’s Book.

Turkey is now killing Kurds, surely the most depressing bit of news in a long time. Today 14/10/14 Turkish F-16 and F-4 warplanes bombed Kurdish PKK rebel targets near the Iraqi border. Meanwhile, in Europe, some good news as it was reported that many Jews are leaving Israel and returning to their lost city of Berlin. By leaving Israel, the promised  land, for Europe they display a tough, unsentimental attitude, which rejects even the worst horrors of history for the possibility of a decent present.
Thursday 16th, September. Jane Kelly ‘Breaking Up The Happy Home’

Together we look at the things she has in two glass fronted cupboards. There are one or two things there which I really love and as she has now decided to sell her house, she wants me to have them. There is the black cat tea pot from the 1920s, with a badly glued crack in its red collar. 'You broke that when you were a baby,' she says accusingly. I look at it and wonder whether I do really want it. I haven't been allowed to touch it since the age of two.
Monday October 20th. Theodore Dalrymple. ‘Hell is other people?’

Loneliness is a terrible state, of course, but speaking personally I have suffered far more from human company than from the lack of it. Hell, as Sartre famously remarked, is other people; but such is the capacity of the human soul for contradiction that so too, in many cases, is the absence of other people.
Monday 20th October. Gabriel Hershman.
The Post Communist Proles of Bulgaria

After seven years in Sofia I realise that totalitarian regimes must have engendered a unique kind of thinking - or rather non-thinking. I'm not referring to Bulgarians born post-communism. Such people are invariably friendly and intellectually curious, especially once you tell them you're British. Those over 50, on the other hand, don't ask many questions. Their typical conversation is impersonal, indirect, fatalistic, unsentimental and unimaginative.
Wednesday 22nd October. Peter Mullen.
‘Fiona Woolf. ‘Just an ordinary gel?

Fiona Woolf is being interviewed by a House of Commons Select Committee concerning her eligibility to be chairman of a new enquiry into historic child abuse. Charities supporting the victims of such abuse have objected to Mrs Woolf's appointment on the grounds that she is too close to the very Establishment which is suspected of covering up the abuse. They have singled out in particular the fact that Mrs Woolf was at five dinner parties with Leon Brittan, the former home secretary.
Monday October 21st. Jane Kelly.
‘In the Pocket of God’

After months of negotiation, prevarication and delay I am about to exchange contracts and move from a one bedroomed flat in London, where I have lived since 1996, to a small house, in a small town.
Friday 24th October. Jane Kelly. Dements for Sale
A couple of years ago I went to the doctor because I was afraid I had Alzheimer's. Suddenly names, facts and bits of poetry I thought I knew were not there anymore. I reached for them automatically and found - nothing. It was alarming.My doctor, a young Indian woman, looked at me sceptically and fired off some questions. I was as nervous as an Oxbridge entrant but I managed to answer correctly, until we got to the mental arithmetic and counting backwards. Then I was hopeless. She did not however condemn me to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's but put it all down to stress, a polite way of saying I was wasting her time.
Thursday  24th October Jane Kelly   ‘Sharing Dave’s pain

I can really empathise when I see David Cameron's deep pink face on the front pages, looking even more pained and constipated than usual. That is the face of someone facing the shock and misery of a tax bill which has come out of the blue and seems to have no justification.
Friday 24th October Peter Mullen Visit your GP and come out demented?

We’re all going to lose our marbles – well, at least we’re going to be classified as all having lost our marbles. Why? Because the government – using our money, as usual – will pay your GP £55 for every case of dementia he diagnoses. Given the aging population, that’s quite a nice little earner for the doc. Expect the figures for Alzheimers and other modes of gaga-ness to go off the Richter scale.
Sunday 26th October Gabriel Hershman.
‘Bulgaria. The sort of place where Russell Brand decides when you can turn on your central heating.’

The snow has fallen early in Bulgaria, weighing down heavily on the still leafy trees, lending them a mournful, crestfallen look, kind of bent double. The children want to go out to play in the first snow. I tell them they can look forward to another four months of this and that the novelty will soon wear off. Nevertheless they want to experience the first fall.
Monday 27th October. Theodore Dalrymple.
The United Kingdom of Coney Island.

If I had to choose a new national symbol for Britain, which happily I don't, I think I should choose the orange and white-striped traffic cone. The other day I drove 120 miles to a town in the east of the country and there were road-works every ten miles on average. The journey took an hour longer than predicted in each direction.
Wednesday 29th October The Rev Dr Peter Mullen.
Heavy Traffic

The Italian people are renowned for their kindness, generosity and large humanity and currently they are demonstrating this spirit of charity and welcome on an epic scale as their navy has rescued from drowning at sea 150.000 migrants fleeing from instability, poverty and wars all across North Africa and the Middle East. I have just read a report in an Italian newspaper which claims there are 600,000 migrants massing on these African and Middle Eastern shores waiting to find a boat to take them to Europe.
Saturday November 1st. Jane Kelly. 'Feeding the Bed Blockers.'


I have been a voluntary hospital visitor at a big London teaching hospital for the last three years. I only go in one day a week, it is not much in the way of 'putting something back,' but even in those few short hours I have seen quite a lot. At first I was outraged by some of the things I saw, then I got used to it. Latterly I have not noticed anything very acutely, perhaps getting a bit comfortable in the job.
Saturday November 1st. The Rev Dr Peter Mullen. 'Discriminating against brain surgeons with learning difficulties.'

I have just discovered further shocking news about disgraceful inequalities in British society.

Saturday 1st November. Jane Kelly ‘Fear and Loathing in A & E.'

Patrolling the wards of a big London hospital this week, as a chaplaincy worker, trying not to get up the noses of the nursing staff I settled down by an elderly man, Mr T who seemed very keen to chat. I quickly realised that though the NHS is a great and brilliant institution which we all love, it's easy to find yourself at the sticky arse end of it, as he had.
Tuesday November 4th. Theodore Dalrymple. ‘Say what you mean.’

Why cannot people say, or write, what they mean? One reason for obfuscation is that it conceals the banality of what the person says or writes. It can also make something simple sound complex, impressive and highly technical. In a world in which we are subliminally humiliated by the fact that we employ technology whose workings we do not in the least understand, but upon which we are utterly dependent, we all like to think that there is something that we know
Wednesday the 5th of November
Rev Dr Peter Mullen
'Why such a short term in prison?

A jailed terrorist who wrote a letter from a British prison proclaiming jihadis as heroes is trying to avoid deportation from the UK on human rights grounds. Internet jihadi Younes Tsouli, 31 – who was once described as Al Qaeda’s most influential cyber-terrorist – was jailed for 16 years in 2007 for distributing bomb-making instructions as well as beheading videos on the internet.
Wednesday  5th November
Theodore Dalrymple.
'The Order of the Politically Correct'

In his great book, Russia in 1839, the Marquis de Custine described the Tsar as having been 'eagle and insect.' He was eagle because he soared over society, viewing it from on high; he was insect because he burrowed, like a termite, into every nook and cranny of it. Nothing was too small to be beneath his notice, for the essence of tyranny is fear that it is all or none.
Saturday 8th of November 
The Reverend Dr Peter Mullen
Le Nozze di Figaro

It’s easy to feel up to one’s ears in politics, so well described by Eliot as “endless palaver.”

Better to think about Mozart and particularly the miracle that is Figaro. It nearly didn’t get composed at all, for Beaumarchais’ play on which it is based was banned. Mozart told Lorenzo da Ponte that he had no hope of getting the ban lifted, whereupon Da Ponte said, “Leave it to me.”
Monday 10th of November
Theodore Dalrymple
‘Eating people is wrong?’ 

The cannibal killer of Caerphilly, Matthew Williams, was shocked by police taser and died shortly thereafter. Whether he died of the shock by taser we do not yet know; but if he had lived no doubt he would by now have been in prison.
Wednesday 12th November.
Rev Dr Peter Mullen.
“When boys be talkin’ ‘bout their bitches”

A bishop has praised the pop star Lily Allen for her feminist songs and claimed that misogyny is “still very evident” in the Church of England. The Rt Rev’d Martyn Snow, our youngest bishop, said Allen’s lyrics on the single Hard Out Here “poignantly” capture society’s sexist double standards. He commends the song to his thirteen-year-old daughter.
Wednesday 12th November.
Gabriel Hershman
“Ed Milliband. Captain of the ship of fools that is New Labour”

Life throws up very few number ones - real leaders. Such types are usually spotted early, from schooldays onwards. These were the people who walked into a room and commanded attention. When they spoke, people listened. Or perhaps people instinctively liked them. You could call this charisma or gravitas - the very qualities required to be a leader. Most people are not like this.
13th November Jane Kelly.
The Parking Suspension of Disbelief

On the 28th of October 2014, I downloaded and attempted to fill in on line a form for parking suspension, so that a removal van can park outside my flat in a few weeks time. It had to be done at least ten days in advance and include a cheque for £80. That is the cost of parking in two bays for two days, more expensive than the fine for not getting a suspension. Quite a lot of people end up in that position whether they like it or not.

Thursday November 13th Jane Kelly
‘Female Standups? About as funny as a cremation.’

'Could I approach a nice looking woman in the street and complement her on her dress?' A lonely bachelor seriously asked me this today. Absolutely, certainly without a doubt, he can't. Such an action would be seen as little short of rape by many of our more advanced thinking sisters, particularly those who style themselves, 'stand-up comedians.'
Sunday 22nd November. Gabriel Hershman.
‘London’s prisoners of money’

Just back from a trip to London. I had a good time. Customer service in shops is much better than in Sofia, the roads and pavements are smoother, the trains are more comfortable and faster. And stores – in the West End at least – are more imaginatively window-dressed. I always enjoy visiting Harrods and leaving with a couple of tins of gingerbread cookies, which will later double as colourful stationery boxes for my children!
Tuesday 25th November
Theodore Dalrymple

The Windmills of Kim Jong il

In case I should be misunderstood,  I think the environment is a proper cause for concern. Anyone who has seen the mauvish-grey pall that overhangs large tracts of the country even on a fine day, or has breathed the air of an Indian or Chinese industrial city, will not lightly assert that the state of the atmosphere is of no interest to us.
Tuesday 25th November
Jane Kelly
Leaving  the Burning City

Because of my desire to one day own some stairs, I had to leave London as you cannot get them for under half a million. I saw a house I liked last June, and it has taken me until now, November 21st, to finally buy it and move in. Delays and extra expense were caused mainly by the solicitors hired by my estate agent, and numerous other bodies who see the house buyer as a vulnerable milch-cow.
Thursday 25th of November. Jane Kelly
'British Gas delivers the old fashioned British workman; lazy, late and useless.'

The chief hell of moving into a new home comes from having to ring up energy and systems providers on automated phone lines. The people on the other end of the phone represent exactly the same kind of British workmen sung about so plaintively in the 1960s by Flanders & Swann.

Thursday 27th November.
The Rev Dr Peter Mullen.
Eton Comprehensive.

We can always rely on the Labour party to come up with plenty of creative thinking. Here’s their  latest dollop…

Britain’s private schools will lose £700m in tax breaks unless they agree to break down the “corrosive divide of privilege” and do more to help children from state schools, according to Tristram Hunt, shadow education secretary.
Sunday 30th November.
Gabriel Hershman
'The White Van Man of the Apocalypse'

I don't know what it is about modern Britain but so many people in the public eye seem to be — invariably — loathsome in the extreme. The word has become rather clichéd but it fits so well.  

Loathsome gangster Frankie Fraser dies, a man who pulled people's teeth out with pliers. Cue loathsome "tributes" and doubtless a loathsomely ostentatious funeral that will pay tribute to "Mad Frank" as the best of British, a lovable villain from a bygone era who helped old ladies across the street — in between teeth-pulling, of course.
Wednesday 3rd December. Reverend Peter Mullen. ‘From Giotto to Slush.’

On every visit to the National Gallery, I’m always drawn to the early Italian paintings. They are in room 51 in the Sainsbury Wing. I was in there for an hour and a half yesterday.
Friday 5th December. Jane Kelly
‘Oh come all ye gayful’

I attended my first Oxford debate yesterday, 4th December 2014 in the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in what is called, 'The High.' It was advertised under the heading, 'Vision,' with the none too pithy banner, 'What Does the Church of England Offer the Next Generation? What is the good news it brings to society today? What God do Anglicans worship, and where is the Spirit moving the church today?'
Friday 5th December Jane Kelly
‘Oxford - Where Muslim Eyes are Smiling’

Leaving the State of London to live in England again has advantages and niggling annoyances; I miss my Oyster card so much, never realising before how well it facilitated daily travel. The milling, mustering hoards of London are able to get about with alacrity, and fairly cheaply. Here in Oxford we are still living in the age of cash

Monday, December the 8th,
Gabriel Hershman
Eastern Europeans - easy target?

All the hullabaloo about Eastern European immigrants makes me a bit uneasy. The United Kingdom is a very overcrowded island but it's the big cities that are the most overcrowded of all. My gripe is that Eastern Europeans have become an easy target, the kind of folk for whom the average bloke can freely fulminate against without repercussions.
Wednesday 10th of December.
Jane Kelly.
'Battery Farms for the Working Classes'

The sense of floating timelessness I get when I roam around the lovely Oxford streets fades fast if I take a bus to the other end of the town, a journey of about three miles. Seeing Temple Cowley, once a pretty village, is like waking up to a punch in the head.


Saturday 13th December
Jane Kelly
Ghost Trains

'Tis the season of goodwill again and with similar regularity the railways decide to interrupt their service. Ten percent of rail transport on the busiest passenger lines, even the rail line to Gatwick airport, will be removed over Christmas for repairs. Most of us think this might be the busiest time of year, but according to the railways, only a small number of the public travel at this time.








Sunday the 14th December. Theodore Dalrymple. 'More Christmas Cheer'

We should pay closer attention to the words people use, for they often reveal hinterlands of thought, or at least of assumptions. Reading my local paper recently, I noticed what a policeman said about an attack carried out by a man with a hammer on a garage mechanic.

Monday 15th December.
Gabriel Hershman.
Counter Jumpers on Question Time

I recently re-visited an old (1973) radio debate between Michael Foot, Enoch Powell, Roy Jenkins and Reginald Maudling. Of course, the economic context under discussion is now redundant. At that time there was still a general assumption that a controlled, or pseudo-socialist economy, was the best one........read on

Australia. 'Tie me Terrorist Down Sport'
Daryl McCann

On August 11 2014 Australians discovered that
one of their compatriots, Khaled Sharrouf, had
posted on social media a photograph of his
seven-year-old son posing with the decapitated head of
a Syrian soldier. ‘That’s my boy!’ the boy’s proud father
tweeted to the world...read full article

Thursday 18th of December.
Theodore Dalrymple hires a Black Maria ?

In one of those many English towns that, like Betjeman's Slough, is not fit for humans now, I took a taxi from the station to the court in which I was to appear as a witness. If I had been the type, I would have been panic-struck by the notices inside it directed at the poor passenger. I was taking my life in my hands by hiring it. 
Saturday 20th December Jane Kelly
A Flaming Nuisance

One of my earliest memories is seeing my father in the early morning raking out the ashes of our coal fire. I was interested in the blue veins around his ankles and bare white heels as he strained  forwards with his short shovel. After the ashes he carefully placed balls of newspaper, which he called 'spills,' and built a tent of small kindling logs over them. I was careful not to speak as he was always in a furious temper while he was doing it.
Monday 22nd of December
Rev Dr Peter Mullen
The Church of Engels?

I’ve seen some correspondence among my fellow believing Christians in what’s left of the Church of England in which they declare that they are dismayed by the determination of the powers-that-be to “fast track” the soon-to-be consecrated women bishops into the House of Lords. Sex-discrimination, you might say, at the sacerdotal level
Monday 22nd of December Jane kelly
'Lose the book on this one'

The news looks bleak for most of our public institutions, hospitals, the BBC and what was once the national library service. Library campaigners accuse the government of hiding the scale of cuts which they predict will force the closure of a further 400 UK libraries by 2016,
Monday the 22nd of December.
Gabriel Hershman
Russell Brand - socialist millionaire

Facebook is getting worse with all its ridiculous observations, injunctions and bons mots of supposed wisdom. Doubtless sometimes these words of (usually) leftist insight are broadcast because the poster sincerely supports the message. Sometimes, one suspects, they are put out because the poster feels that it is good for their image to hold leftist views.
Friday the 26th of December 
Theodore Dalrymple
How much is the train ticket from Montreuil to Kobane?

Not long ago on a bus in Montreuil, an unfashionable suburb of Paris, I noticed that I was the only person of perhaps fifty or sixty who got on the bus while I travelled on it who actually paid. I felt slightly awkward for having done so: was I letting the side down, or at any rate a side down, by paying my way? The driver, of course, could do nothing against the waves of impenitent cheats who crowded on to his bus, who would quickly have overwhelmed him had he raised any objections
Saturday 27th December.
Theodore Dalrymple
Why not kill yourself while you are still healthy?

In theory, at any rate, I am opposed to euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the like - except for myself, that is. Recently I was laid low by an illness among whose symptoms were slight nausea, fever and severe headache. It wasn't even the worst illness I had ever had in my life, let alone the worst illness imaginable, but it was bad enough to preclude anything but lying in bed and feeling rotten. I could neither read nor eat; all I wanted to do was doze in a darkened room.
Tuesday 30th of December.
Gabriel Hershman. A British Night Out
'Three pints of beer, eight double vodkas and an ambulance to follow'

Christmas in the UK always brings with it accounts of drunken mayhem. What I find doubly disconcerting and depressing ––– and call this a strange form of sexism if you like – is to read about mindless violence among so-called ladettes or, worse still, hear of youngish mothers dying from liver cirrhosis. 
Wednesday 31st December.
Theodore Dalrymple
Having the courage of your fortune

Men are like sheep, especially leaders. I saw a photograph of the heads of government of the G7 recently and all of the men among them were dressed the same: dark suits but open short collars and no tie. Not coincidentally, perhaps, there wasn't a strong face among them.
Saturday 3rd January. Jane Kelly
Haunted by Christmas Past

In the novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the hero Edmond, imprisoned in the Chateau d'If, finds himself sentenced to be flogged every year on the date of his arrival. Naturally this prays on his mind, and time passes both slowly within the confines of those terrible damp walls, but also with sickening rapidity as every day draws him nearer to inevitable torture.
I picture him sitting in his cell, worrying about his fate, long before it happens. Who ever gave him that sentence obviously knew the agonies endured by a certain type of mind with a vivid, apprehensive imagination. As an adult preparing for Christmas I empathise with him
Saturday 3rd January. Theodore Dalrymple. 
Is Paris worth a pensioner's dog?

The modern political class does not want the electorate to have a sense of the tragic dimension of human existence: for such a sense would reduce the importance of the political class in the electorate's eyes. It wants instead the electorate to think that, if only the right politicians were in charge, all would be well: this is the means by which the class keeps the population dependant on it. The politicians have therefore struggled against an awareness of the tragic dimension and on the whole have triumphed in the struggle. 
Saturday 3rd of January. Jane Kelly
The Marie Antoinettes of the BBC

While sensible people were sleeping it off and sleepily sloughing off all the worries of the old dead year, I was up early on New Year's Day 2015, to take part in a BBC radio show, hosted by Vanessa Feltz, discussing that continuing question of immigration which is certain to dominate political discussion over the next few months. I was asked to take part because I have recently left London and the programme producers wanted to discuss, 'White Flight,' the continuing evacuation of white middle class folk from the Metropolis.
Sunday 4th January. Jane Kelly
Is the BBC succumbing to Sinophobia?

There is trouble in China with their Muslim minority the Uighur. The video posted online last month looks much like ones from Middle East jihadist groups. It shows what appears to be a man making a suitcase bomb and grainy footage of an explosion at a crowded railway station here. The soundtrack plays an Arabic chant inciting holy war.
Wednesday 8th of January. Jane Kelly
The BBC, Islam's useful idiot.

I have recently left London and last night I regretted it. I wanted to be in Trafalgar Square with hundreds of other people, joining thousands in Paris, gathered together in protest against yesterday's murders, but also in silent support of free-speech.
Saturday 10th January, Jane Kelly,
'Will Gunners fans flock to Rubens?'

In my Midlands primary school I was often in a state of excruciating embarrassment. Children of course mature emotionally and intellectually un-evenly at different times, most girls faster than most boys.
I always liked art of all kinds and it irritated me that most children in my class fell about laughing at the sight of a nude Venus
Saturday 10th January, Gabriel Hershman,
'A marmalade sandwich with Paddington Bear'


Families lack a sense of togetherness these days. John Cleese tells how people come up to him - not just to compliment him on the ingenious scripts and ensemble cast of Fawlty Towers - but to mention how his 70s comedy classic united the family, if only for half an hour.

Double click to edit
Friday 16th January, Gabriel Hershman, 'Paris. The Blame Israel Brigade rides into town'.

We gleaned some illuminating insights into public figures – including the sometimes predictably despicable nature of the usual suspects – in the aftermath of the Paris slaughter. And understand that I am now moving beyond discussion of the normal reactions of grief, anger, insecurity and reconciliation.

Monday 19th January, Jane Kelly,
'An hysterical blindness worthy of Dr Mesmer'

Everyone is self deluded to a certain extent, just to keep going in life, but the severely myopic fantasist can be an irritating companion and sometimes dangerous. In government there seem to be a lot of people who cling to extreme fantasy, even in the face of extremist violence.
Tuesday 20th of January. Myles Harris 
'Brutal and Shocking facts about the NHS'

The NHS along with other European health services can be compared to a sacrificial victims of the Incas, having their hearts ritually torn out and held aloft by politicians for the baying mob at each election. For example the row over trolley waits in A & E is occurring at present in many EU countries. Limerick Hospital Irish Republic 20.1.15.

Saturday 24th January, Gabriel Hershman.
When Portugal almost became Europe's Cuba

The other night I was at Sofia's Red House for Culture and Debate - a discussion venue which doubles as a shelter from the cold. The ostensible occasion was Portuguese Film Lab Day, a day of screening for Portuguese documentaries and arty movies with political themes. First up was a movie about the revolution of 25 April 1974. For the uninitiated, this was the big event in the post-war history of this sleepy western outpost whereby, for a short time, Portugal looked set to become Europe's Cuba.

Saturday 24th January, Theodore Dalrymple, Vulgar Celebrities


In Britain, the use of vulgar language by the rich, famous and privileged has long been meant as a sign of attempted political rectitude. The reasoning is as follows: if the people use vulgar language and I use vulgar language, I am of the people, notwithstanding my wealth, fame and privileges. Hence I can hang on to them with a good conscience, for by my vulgarity I have demonstrated my democratic credentials.

26th January Theodore Dalymple.
Anorexia, the highest state of grace of the 21st century

The economics of fashion shows, like those of football, are to me mysterious. The majority of football clubs make a loss, sometimes a substantial one, yet they continue to play their players millions, the wage bill being by far their principal cost. I can only surmise that such clubs are elaborate tax avoidance schemes.
Tuesday February 3rd Theodore Dalrymple
Guilty until you can prove yourself innocent

Political correctness is an increasing threat to the rule of law. First the immemorial rule that no man could be tried twice for the same crime was abrogated in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence case and the subsequent, egregious Macpherson Report, a low point in the extensive history of British official moral cowardice.
Monday February 2nd. Theodore Dalrymple
‘I am your bank, here to mess you around’

Last week I had my own little banking crisis. Having accepted the bank's suggestion that I print my own statements direct from the internet, I discovered that the bank then set out to drive me mad. 'To obtain your statement,' said the webpage, 'simply click on the link below.'
Friday 6th February Jane Kelly
A  Quiet Afternoon Sketching

I went to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford yesterday for a lecture on the Euston Road school of painters.  Sadly I was a month early, but they told me there was a free drawing class going on down in the cast room. As I'd just been in an art shop and had ready materials I decided to do that.
Friday 6th February Gabriel Hershman
Nazism - Left or Right?

I've always had a problem with the way the media, not so much the offending parties themselves, endlessly define extreme nationalist, anti-Semitic groups as "extreme right". The anniversary of the Holocaust always give rise to this assignation, thrown around willy nilly.
Monday 9th of February Theodore Dalrymple
What Moral Authority is in there in Islam?

The Guardian is to be commended for its report of the killing of the Jordanian Air Force pilot, Muadh al-Kasebeh by the so-called Islamic State. It called it murder, which is what it was; by contrast, it called the killing of terrorists in Jordan, executions, correctly, for the terrorists had been sentenced according to law, with at least an opportunity to defend themselves. .
Thursday 12th February Gabriel Hershman
The University of Oiks

Posh-basing has escalated recently, dressed up as championing the cause of downtrodden working-class performers. The tabloids seem torn between hailing the achievements of actors Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch, and then telling us they only succeeded because they are privileged, not to mention the inverted snobbery of Labour MP Chris Bryant towards singer James Blunt.

Thursday 19th February Jane Kelly
The Church of Labour

With his declaration that the bombing of Dresden, seventy years ago, was tragic and war is a terrible thing, even the one against the Nazis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has led the way for his colleagues in Christ to get political, something we haven't seen since the time of Mrs Thatcher.
Friday 20th February Jane Kelly
Gobbledygook from the Blob

There is a new selection scandal brewing in education, as apparently some schools are still finding ways to cream off the cleverest children, who often happen to come from middle-class homes, i.e. the ones which have books.
Saturday the 21st of February. Jane Kelly.
BBC Today amuses its high minded readers with a tale of an epileptic fit.

In late 2014 many of us were dismayed to hear that R4 was changing the Today Programme, to make it less like 'a club,' and more accessible to young people and the socially disadvantaged, who apparently don't listen to it over their pop-tarts in the morning.

Sunday 22nd February Jane Kelly.
A rare aboriginal family of British whites

On a visit to the main general hospital in Oxford today, 19/02/15, I saw something I hardly ever saw while I lived in London; a large white working class family. There was Ma, round-bellied from normal years of obesity and another infant on the way, and five small boys around her feet, all very jolly and having fun, rolling on the floor like puppies, fighting each other, all looking very well.

Monday the 23rd of February Jane Kelly.
An Islamic Munich threatens Italy

I remember when the EU was the EEC and before that just "The Common Market.' In those days of my youth it was supposed to be just that, a market for trade. Since then it has become a vast legislature, controlling what we buy, sell, eat, drink, and increasingly how we act and think.

Tuesday 24th February Theodore Dalrymple
You're not nutting me off, are you, doctor?'

I was not in the least surprised that the Equality and Human Rights Commission came to the conclusion that patients detained in psychiatric hospital have five times the risk of preventable death as psychiatrically ill people in prison.
Wedneday the 25th, 'Theodore Dalrymple,
'Fully in love with easeful Marx'

Lessons in politics and economics are never learned, at least not so that they never have to be learned again. But few countries are so impervious to experience as Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world.
Wednesday the 25th of February,
Gabriel Hershman,
Euthanasia: The killing fields of liberalism

Articles about euthanasia, together with intense debates on whether people have the right to commit suicide, seem to grow by the day.

Monday 2nd March. Jane Kelly
'Hoist by his own Coathanger'

Living in England Sir Tom Stoppard naturally finds his intellectual prowess is as much a blessing as a curse. This is not a land where overt cleverness has ever been appreciated.

In early February the playwright revealed that one of the exasperating parts of his job is being forced to dumb down his jokes so that the modern audience understand them.





Friday February 28th Theodore Dalrymple
'The Great Well of Hatred'

Whenever I heard managers in the National Health Service speak in their peculiar Brezhnevian jargon, a mixture of moral exaltation and tedious bureaucratese, I used to wonder whether what they said actually corresponded to the thoughts that ran through their heads, or whether they had to translate them into langue de bois.

Monday 2nd March. Theodore Dalrymple
'It is unnecessary to do what is unnecessary'

Anyone who writes risks error and should be grateful to editors who point out his errors to him, for it is preferable to be corrected before rather than after publication. American editors are better in this respect than British, perhaps because they are assisted by those lowly creatures unknown in Britain called fact-checkers. They can be irritating or absurd at times - I was once asked to provide evidence that Napoleon had been an emperor - but they have several times saved me from egregious error.
Tuesday 1st March. Jane Kelly
'Sexual Cavaliers and Roundheads'

I took a break for lunch during a recent painting day in our local community centre. A male friend and I repaired to one of the many cafes nearby, where we met an attractive blonde woman also on the course, tucking into her tahini, beetroot and aubergine bake.
Tuesday 3rd of March Tim Walker
'Theatre of Blood'

On March 21, I will be treading the boards of the Theatre Royal, Winchester. I have not, however, been reduced to spear-carrying since I made my final exit, just before Christmas, as the Sunday Telegraph’s theatre critic. Along with colleagues from other newspapers – past and present – I will be giving what is optimistically being billed as a ‘master class’ in the art of theatre criticism.






Wednesday 4th of March Jane Kelly
'The Left's Stupidity Information Exchange'

On the Radio 4 PM Programme last night I was interested to hear an interview with a whistleblower. He talked at length about what he'd seen as a school teacher in Oxfordshire in 200, where 1400 girls were molested or raped by Pakistani men, mostly local taxi drivers. I only know that from what I've read in the newspapers. The interview managed to mention not once the men involved.

Friday the 6th of March Jane Kelly.
House of Commons guard calls transexual 'sir' instead of 'miss'. Scotland Yard Acts.

Most simple words are spelled out clearly now by anyone on TV or radio, apart from acronyms such as LGBT which you are duty bound to KNOW! 
My ears pricked up yesterday 5/3/15, when I heard about an LGBT 'Study Day' recently taking place in the House of Commons. Sadly I do know what it means.......

Friday the 6th of March. Gabriel Hershman
'Is the media overdosing on sadism?'

Why did Mohammed Emwazi behead people? Expect no Western self-flagellation coming from me. He's a sadist. Simple.


Sunday March March 8th, Theodore Dalrymple
'Has the Observer being penetrated by the BNP?'

Righteous indignation is one of the most delightful of emotions and that is why I buy the Guardian and Observer newspapers: they guarantee to stimulate me to that delightful frame of mind. This morning, for example, it was the Observer's turn to reduce me to impotent rage. It contained a long article about 'gender inequality' in politics and society, dull as all such articles are bound to be, reflecting the views of the harridan-and-harpy wing of British politics....

Sunday 8th of March Jane Kelly
Cultural Differences

In our newly bifocated culture we have Pakistani taxi drivers in the north of England informing parents if their daughters go out with friends after school, acting as spies controlling all the young women's movements, and a culture among the English where parents, teachers and health-workers turn a blind eye and will not alert anyone even if they suspect serious sexual abuse is taking place. The Devil is in the extremes.

Wednesday 11th March. Theodore Dalrymple
Antithickism: Why should an IQ of 80 stop you being a brain surgeon or a judge? 

Attending court recently, it suddenly occurred to me just how discriminatory our society is. All the lawyers - the judge, the prosecution and defence barristers - were highly intelligent; the defendant was of only average intelligence, or even below. This is a situation repeated scores of times, day after day, up and down the country.

Thursday 12th March. Jane Kelly
The religion which dare not speak its name

Christians are frightened to reveal their religious beliefs to colleagues at work. When they do declare their faith whether in the office or on the shop floor, they are often mocked and presumed to be bigots. Their children are bullied in school. Many Christians now think their faith is being pushed out of its role as a cornerstone of life in Britain.
Thursday 12th of March. Jane Kelly
The Anti Harridan Party. Jeremy for PM.
As the General Election approaches UKIP seem to be fizzling out which could be disappointing if you see them as the only voice of the uneducated working class. All is not lost it seems because the vote for the educated, successful, middle-class equivalent of the party, epitomised by TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson is thriving.


Friday 13th March. Gabriel Hershman
Psychopaths are attracted to the media like iron filings to a magnet

"Society needs to condemn a little more and condone a little less," said former Prime Minister John Major. Good advice. One day we may even implement it when we encounter people we suspect of having evil tendencies. And I don't just mean the likes of obvious suspects such as Joanna Dennehy who professed to kill for fun and apparently laughed throughout her sentencing.

Wednesday 18th March, Gabriel Hershman. Helping police with their enquiries - Bulgarian style

You always know a state has failed whenever it starts talking about an orchestrated campaign from outside to bring it down. Sure, there are the obvious suspects. Zimbabwe's Mugabe has long since claimed that British enemies have been trying to topple him. If so, they haven't been successful - sadly - because the 91-year-old despot is still partying while his people scavenge for elephant meat. Now Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro is trying to pretend that his people running out of toilet paper stems from sabotage by Yankee counter-revolutionaries.

Wednesday 20th of March, Theodore Dalrymple, The BBC - Not even the courage of its moral cowardice

The complete contempt of the upper echelons of the BBC for the intelligence of the British public could not be better illustrated than by its website. My experience of those working at the lower levels of the organisation is of intelligent, dedicated and often talented people frustrated in their wish to do a good job by the mandate from the top to produce what in effect amounts to prolefeed, a pabulum of sport, gossip, celebrity and trivial sensation.
Saturday 21st March. Theodore Dalrymple
Refresh your hatred of humanity

If you want to develop or to refresh a hatred of humanity there is no better way, at least in England, that to go litter-picking in an English rural lane. Recently my wife and I have been so horrified by the increase in littering in the beautiful countryside not far from us that we have decided to do a little clearing up of our own. We can clear about two hundred yards of verge (on both sides of the road) in about half an hour, yielding two sacks of rubbish.



Tuesday 24th of March. Theodore Dalrymple.
Electroconvulsive therapy by radio

Needing the services of a certain shop last week, I found myself waiting in it for three quarters of an hour. The staff were perfectly pleasant and it was not their fault that I had to wait; but what was nearly intolerable to me (nearly intolerable, because in the end I did tolerate it for the sake of the service I needed) was the radio played at high volume, inescapable and all-encompassing, a truly leprous distilment poured into everyone's ears.
24th of March Jane Kelly. The white tribe turns out for their murderous King

While Channel 4's coverage of the interment of Richard III certainly did its bit, the subject was given scant attention by BBC TV, presumably because they couldn't make it multi-cultural enough. Channel 4 had a good go at that too, providing what can best be called an eccentric two night's viewing.


Saturday 21st of March. Jane Kelly
21st Century Women: Drivelling professional victims.

As I have just moved house I am out and about a lot, joining things all over town; art classes, intervarsity club, walking and swimming clubs, continuing education classes, so I am meeting a fair few people. As I do this in a new town, one thing becomes ominously clear to me, I prefer being with men.
In the pub and cafe you can have a drink with a man a good conversation and sometimes a good laugh, for some reason this is rarely possible with women.







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Islam: The West Mounts the Scaffold



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