Submitted by Alexander on 6 April 2013 - 11:17am
Newly published archival data show that as early as the 1950s Robert Maxwell was investigated by the FBI on suspicion of being a Soviet spy. The conclusion was that he wasn’t, yet this conclusion was wrong.
Submitted by Alexander on 5 April 2013 - 12:23pm
Occasional fisticuffs were unavoidable in the neighbourhood where I grew up. After a few useful if painful lessons, one usually grasped the cardinal rule of street fighting: get the first punch in and keep punching, especially when facing a known bully.
On the somewhat larger scale of global politics, this sort of thing is called ‘pre-emptive strike’, but the principle is the same: hit’em first and hit’em hard. Chances are the first strike will also be the last.
Submitted by Alexander on 4 April 2013 - 12:21pm
Political leaders often have a weakness for spiffy aphorisms, which is partly why so many are attributed to them. Another reason may be that a politician’s saying is nowadays more likely to be preserved for posterity.
Submitted by Alexander on 3 April 2013 - 9:42am
The question came from a good-looking French girl, which focused my mind in ways similar queries posed by my fellow old codgers never would.
Why indeed? One of the explicit aims of the EU from its inception has been to counter America’s economic power. To that end the Union has been designed as a protectionist bloc… sorry, I mean as a free-trade area.
Submitted by Alexander on 1 April 2013 - 10:41am
The appointment of Paolo Di Canio as manager of Sunderland AFC has raised quite some controversy, and not because of any doubts about his football credentials.
Many supporters are appalled by his politics, and there isn’t much doubt about that either. For rather than trying to conceal his fascist views, Di Canio proudly wears them on his sleeve.
Submitted by Alexander on 30 March 2013 - 11:22am
It’s funny how faith leaders start rediscovering their faith when they stop being leaders.
When he was still the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey did much to contribute to aggressive secularisation (if only by not resisting it robustly enough). Amazingly secularisation is still called ‘liberal’ whereas in fact it’s the exact opposite of that.
Submitted by Alexander on 29 March 2013 - 3:57pm
The 1929 stock market crash and the subsequent Great Depression left the American economy in dire straits. About 11,000 banks, half the total number, had failed. Unemployment stood at 25 percent. The ‘dust bowl effect’ had emptied farms.
Parallel 1: The US economy suffered a similar shock in 2008. Unemployment skyrocketed. Venerable financial institutions either collapsed or had to be rescued. The motor trade, America’s pride, went bankrupt.
Submitted by Alexander on 28 March 2013 - 12:35pm
‘All crimes are vulgar, all vulgarity is a crime,’ declared Wilde through half a dozen of his protagonists (Oscar was ahead of his time in practising responsible recycling).
If we accept this definition of vulgarity, then Melvyn Bragg is a serial offender. By devoting his career to carrying ‘culture’ to the masses he has contributed to reducing everything to mass culture. The result is enduring, emetic, all-conquering vulgarity – just the ticket for the BBC and other broadcasters.
Submitted by Alexander on 26 March 2013 - 11:39am
I spent last Saturday at a cross-party seminar featuring an alphabet soup of eurosceptic groups, each bristling with passion and leaflets.
Depending on the exact conduit of the passion and content of the leaflets, their ideas varied in detail but they were all united in, well, desperately seeking a referendum. I agreed with some, disagreed with others, but either way it was good to rub shoulders with likeminded individuals.
Submitted by Alexander on 25 March 2013 - 8:34am
Boris Berezovsky’s death may remain ‘unexplained’ in the language of the investigating police officers. But this side of forensic certainty there’s no shortage of explanations, speculations and theories.
Most of them centre around the possibility that Berezovsky was, in the language of his nemesis Putin, ‘whacked’ – this even though the body was found in the bathroom and not in ‘the shithouse’ that figured so prominently in Putin’s threats.