Why the UK government needs to speak up
I was uncommonly pleased to traipse through immigration in Zurich, en route for a half term ski break. With the Swiss having recently voted to impose quotas on immigrants from the EU, I feared they might mistake my intentions and put me on the next plane back to London.
For something similar had happened before, as I detailed in last week’s Financial Times:
There was not a handcuff in sight during my speedy deportation from the UK in 1988. The blue-blazered, silver-haired official walked me along Heathrow’s corridors making embarrassed small talk about the weather. It was quite unlike 2013’s deportation of terrorist suspect Abu Qatada after an eight-year battle and a cost of £1.7m. Continue reading...
Consumerism, compassion and resolve
As we forcibly surf into the holiday season on a wave of consumerism, spare a thought for Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which has somehow been overshadowed by another futuristic novel, George Orwell’s 1984.
Yet the parallels with our society are more insidious. In Huxley’s 1931 book, genetically-modified babies born from test tubes are brainwashed in special centres to believe that the old is bad, the new is good and thus buying things is central to their lives. Electric shocks turn them off from simple – and free – natural objects like flowers. Instead, they are conditioned to love anything that will keep them on the consumerist running track and keep the factories busy, such as certain country sports that involve the use of elaborate apparatus. Under-consumption is a crime against society. Continue reading...
The 686th Lord Mayor & Women in the City
If I were a man, I would spend my money on women and wine and wandering.
I am, however, most definitely a woman and one who had occasion to feel immensely proud of her sex last Saturday, as fifty City women marched in the Lord Mayor’s annual parade, amid the driving rain and horse poo left by a mounted regiment. (The attached photo has little to do with reality). Perhaps the circumstances were a metaphor for what it takes to succeed in the City as a woman. But that was all forgotten as we waved at the half a million people lining the route and then passed by the Mansion House to salute Fiona Woolf, the second woman in 800 years to be elected Lord Mayor of the City of London. Continue reading...