The babies in the river and a stain on our national conscience
It's a good day for a story about babies. The parable of the babies in the river tells of a settlement on a riverbank whose inhabitants began to notice infants floating downstream. As each one came by, someone would jump in and rescue it. As the days went by, more and more babies were pulled from the water, fed, clothed and taken care of to the best of the villagers' ability.
Raise your voices, because it really 'shouldn't be like this'
Jenny (not her real name) describes herself as “a medicated production”. In preparation for our meeting, she had recourse to a morphine patch. She explained that she always tried to “dress nicely and take care with my hair and make up when I go out or meet people.”
Yesterday I received an email from John Lewis inviting me to “be the perfect host this Christmas”. This would apparently be facilitated by the purchase of “cookware” and “serveware" which would enable me to “cook with ease from morning to night.”
The fright wig and jester's mask slipped last Wednesday. Boris Johnson, delivering the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture, showed the ugly reality behind the motley as he made his bid for the support of the Tory right and attempted to position himself as successor to David Cameron.
A new political discourse: difference without mendacity and incivility?
During last week's Prime Minister's Questions, Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, asked the Prime Minister an entirely reasonable (and, it has to be said, foreseeable) question about inadequate levels of business investment. The reply was a disgrace.
Difference and misrepresentation: a reply to Nick Cohen
Consider these two excerpts: “Writing for the religious website Ekklesia, Jill Segger explained why good people must not show solidarity with ex-servicemen and women.” and “The brutalising experiences of combat lead many to harm themselves and others when they return to civilian life. These people deserve our compassion and support.”
Propaganda could be described as persuasion without morals. It has been a tool of power for centuries and in our own time, its use in inculcating a state of belief which is not in proportion to evidence, is most clearly seen in politicians' choice and use of slogans.
Lose your job, lose your home? An open letter to Iain Duncan Smith
Dear Iain Duncan Smith
I believe you live in a beautiful house – a 16th century Tudor farmhouse which belongs to your father-in-law. Perhaps you'll expect me to be angry or envious. But I'm not. It's natural for people to want to help their children and the more you have, the more you can give.
Rachel Reeves, Ian Katz and the value of seriousness
Last week, Newsnight editor Ian Katz mistakenly made public a Twitter comment intended to be private. In describing the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury as “boring, snoring Rachel Reeves”, he went beyond embarrassing himself and his programme, he pointed up a tendency which diminishes a great deal more than politics.