Church of England considers moving the north-south divide

The precise location of the north-south divide has been difficult to pinpoint with any clarity. Manchester is in the north, of course; unless you’re in the Highlands, in which case it is very much in the south. The midpoint of the longest north-south axis in Great Britain is in the village of Haltwhistle in Northumberland […]

A journalist with a police caution for domestic violence describes Ched Evans opponents as “morons”

Writing in the week’s Spectator (cover date 10 January 2015, but online now), the columnist Rod Liddle describes opponents of Ched Evans as “morons”. He starts his column with an attack on pseudonymous campaigner Jean Hatchet, saying that her name is “almost certainly too good to be true for a perpetually infuriated radical feminist.” He then […]

Some free advice to hospitals declaring A&E Major Incident status

You do sometimes wonder who is running our NHS hospitals. An increasing number of hospitals are declaring Major Incidents in their Accident and Emergency departments saying that their staff can’t cope with the unprecedented demand. Amongst them is my local A&E department at the County Hospital. You may not have heard of the County Hospital. It […]

There ain’t nothing like a dame for tomorrow’s gay knights

It is custom and tradition that the wives of knights are called ladies. It is an honorary title: if your husband is a Sir, then you can be called a lady. And if your husband has a peerage – whether or not it is a hereditary or a life peerage – then you should be […]

A puppy and a bikini brings global fame to singer

Kendra Moriah is a singer. I can’t tell you whether or not she’s a good singer because I’ve not heard any of her songs. She’s probably fantastic and this post is not intended to denigrate her in any way. The only negative thing that I can say about Kendra – and this isn’t really a negative […]

Screaming black eyed child ghost terror

“Screaming black eyed child ghost terror” screams the front page of today’s Daily Star with a story of a ghostly apparition on Cannock Chase – the Staffordshire beauty spot that is, literally, on my doorstep. I don’t give such stories much credence. It’s up there with the Cannock Chase Pig Man; the Cannock Chase Puma; […]

When is a journalist a “commercial observer”?

The Conservatives are in town – that’s if your town is Birmingham. They are relatively frequent visitors to the Midlands and a few years ago, with a confirmed commission, I applied for media accreditation to cover the conference. My application was denied. The reason that was given was that I was not representing a national publication […]

Outgoing MPs should foot the bill for self-serving by-elections

Democracy is priceless asset. Throughout the world, over the centuries, ordinary people have fought for the right to elect the people who represent them. It is a battle that has been going on in more recent times; and is even going on today. From the suffragette movement in the UK in the early 20th Century; through to […]

Unease at Parliament’s motion on ISIL

Today, Parliament will debate military action against the so-called Islamic State in Syria. Personally, I’m in favour of military action. But I’m extremely uneasy about today’s Parliamentary proceedings. This is the motion MPs will debate: “That this House condemns the barbaric acts of ISIL against the peoples of Iraq including the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians and […]

Devolution and constitutional reform: Is it time to restore the Kingdoms?

Much has been said in the aftermath of Scotland’s “No” to independence about ensuring that the English get a fair deal in any further devolution package. But most of what has been said has ignored the basic question about what our democratic institutions are for. And ‘solutions’ are being put forward without any real debate […]

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