Having the courage of your fortune

31st December 2014 0

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. The fashion for wearing suits with no ties is one that … [Read on]

Theodore Dalrymple hires a Black Maria?

18th December 2014 0

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 … [Read on]

The Good Old Days; Curing piles with red hot poker.

15th December 2014 0

Conservatives are fond of harking back to the good old days when ‘medicine was an art not a science,’ it was also nasty. Save for sawing off limbs, curing piles with a red-hot poker or a knife in the groin to relieve bladder stones, there were few cures. The bewigged physician rode up to the house, the relatives assembled around … [Read on]

More Christmas Cheer

14th December 2014 0

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. The man was annoyed, apparently, that the owner of a local garage … [Read on]

White Van Man

9th December 2014 1

The apparel oft proclaims the man, said Polonius, full of the wisdom of the obvious. But these days the vehicle just as oft proclaims the driver: bright red, for example, for the aggressive, apple green for the tasteless, black for the serious or the depressed. As for the drivers of white vans, they have become a political category, white van … [Read on]