• A Return to ‘Normal’ Life?

    RETURN TO ‘NORMAL LIFE’ MAY BE SIX MONTHS AWAY.  That is the Daily Telegraph‘s headline for March 29th.  Until lately, the Telegraph was  taken seriously as a solid right-wing organ that has regularly published words of good sense.  It has now abandoned reason and become a cheerleader for whatever policies the Johnson Government proclaims.  This… Read More

  • The World Is a Racist

      In one of P.G. Wodehouse’s stories  Gussie Finknottle, the newt fancier, exclaims, “If only the world were a newt!” Loathers of the class Reptilia may find this a repulsive thought, and one can argue convincingly that a racialist is indeed a species of reptile. In which case, it is beginning to seem that the… Read More

  • The “Experts”

        A expert is one who disagrees with other experts.  In the law courts, an expert witness is paid to cast severe doubt on the evidence of another expert.  The Government has placed its faith, and the way the nation deals with COVID-19, with the two top medicos whose lugubrious features and message appear… Read More

  • War Games

      Since the age of total warfare and national mobilization began early in the last century, politicians have imagined it useful to invoke war as a metaphor for every one of their enterprises  they wish public behavior to conform to. Thus, in addition to military war itself, we have had the war on poverty, the… Read More

  • Notes on the Present Crisis (cont.)

    1. Overnight, two of the most commonly used words in the English language are “distance” and “distancing.” As in “distance learning,” which people seem to imagine is a wholly new human invention inspired by the coronavirus pandemic and one that is made possible only by the digital technology from which Skype was developed. The truth… Read More

  • The Second Phony War

        ‘Any man’s death diminishes me’ said John Donne.  Frankly, not all that much now that I learn about that proportion of Britons that is subject to Covid-19.  It turns out that the average age of those admitted to intensive care units is 63, and 70% are obese or over-weight.  In other words, Britain… Read More

  • Notes on the Present Crisis

    1. So far as I can discover, opposition parties in the European countries (and elsewhere) are cooperating with the leadership of the party in power by acquiescing in its policies for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the Conservative government of Great Britain is considering inviting representatives of the Labour Party (excluding Jeremy Corbyn)… Read More

  • View from a Campfire

    (Author’s note: In this constricted, claustrophobic, and generally disastrous spring of 2020 I take comfort in recalling a more spacious spring years ago, when  we could all look forward confidently to the good old summertime to follow.) Been up the Hams Fork yet?” “I took a drive there last weekend.” “How far’d you get?” “Almost to… Read More

  • This Is NOT the Blitz

      Our rulers, and much of the media, invoke the wartime spirit of the nation to combat Covid-19.  Let people recall the spirit which saw us through the bombings of the war–above all in London–they say.   This is as misconceived an analogy as is imaginable; history is assymetrical.  Two points: The wartime Government imposed rigid… Read More

  • Sir Edward Grey and Coronavirus

    ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.’  Sir Edward Grey’s words, uttered on August 3rd 1914, echo in the mind.  The Government has now closed down theatres, pubs, bars, and restaurants in the name of slowing Covid-19.  The Church of England followed the same… Read More