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John Major kindly explains what it means to be British

Sir John, who, I don’t mind admitting, is my political, moral and intellectual idol, hit the nail on the head the other day, with Ukip being the nail and Nigel Farage the head.

Ukip, explained my idol, “is peddling sheer nastiness” that is “profoundly un-British in every way”.

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Lies, damned lies and immigration statistics

Arithmetic and statistics are useful tools for liars. A little massaging here, a little bending there, and suddenly a lie sounds plausible.

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Putin’s says no to Davos; the West cut off

The famous, if probably apocryphal, headline in a London newspaper said “Fog over Channel, continent cut off.”

Whether real or made up, the phrase has become proverbial for the same reason proverbs become proverbial: it conveys a simple truth.

People tend to view geography from the vantage point of their own country. It is central; other lands are peripheral.

Never mind that the continent is somewhat larger than Britain. For an Englishman his country is larger than life.

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Black letter day for Martin Luther King

Being constitutionally unable to admire demagogues, whatever their sermon, I could never warm up to Martin Luther King.

This isn’t to say that his cause, as generally perceived, wasn’t just. Racial discrimination is abominable on every level, moral, practical, legal, intellectual – and above all religious.

How self-professed Christians, who had equality inscribed even on their secular banners, could enforce Jim Crow segregation laws until 1965, is a question I’ve always found baffling.

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Vlad Putin, fiddler on the hoof

No doubt remembering that the devil finds work for idle hands, my friend Vlad has been a busy boy.

Thereby he has stayed on the side of the angels, even though not every one of his numerous exploits can be truthfully described as angelic.

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Whoever wins the argument, Britain loses

The debate about the European Arrest Warrant  predictably produced an ungainly mess. The pro and con sides mounted their rhetorical steeds and rode them into the joust, with only our constitution unsaddled in the end.

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Sexy news of the week

Dave tried to move Angie closer and turn her around. “Assume a more flexible position, Liebchen,” he said.

Nein,” gasped Angie, “nein, bitte, nein…”

“Nine?” thundered Dave. “Eight-fifty and not a million more!” He spun around and left.

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It’s time to spring to Dave’s defence

In the past I’ve found myself in the ranks of Dave detractors. So much more pleasing it is to be able to commend our beleaguered PM on his enlightened approach to selecting possible successors to the office Dave himself occupies with such distinction.

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God save us from an EU referendum

Before all my friends disown me, my wife hits me on the head with a frying pan and my detractors flash QED smiles, allow me to reassure you.

I’ve in no way changed my views on the EU generally and our membership in it specifically. In fact I go quite a bit further than my Ukip friends in my contempt for this wicked offshoot of the wartime alliance between Nazi Germany and Vichy France.

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Who needs Monty Python when we have the MoD?

Now that the celebrated group is no longer performing, trust the Ministry of Defence to step into the breach.  

What prompted its officials to seek an alternative career in stand-up comedy is the clever plan to train 2,000 Libyan soldiers in Cambridgeshire, which produced highly predictable results.

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