Diary

‘The illusion of control that dictatorships offer is just that. They promise their acolytes eternal life in exchange for silence. But silence is expensive’

‘I’m not sure that “gender studies” are having a terribly good war. A professor tweeted—Pat Robertson style—that Covid-19 “took its revenge” on men after the domestic abuse they inflicted on women’

‘Many of those who usually insist ministers must “listen to the experts” are among those who now say Boris should ignore them. Armchair generals and football managershave become armchair virologists and epidemiologists’

‘I’m 52, damn it, even if I feel frustratingly closer to 82 on the bad days when my fingers are too weak to type or too stiff to do up buttons’

‘As I have now discovered, moving a life-size marble statue is a complicated and expensive business’

‘I am an instinctive, conventional, tribal Conservative voter. But now I just can’t bear even to listen to the shenanigans in Parliament a moment longer’

‘The Today Programme will survive John Humphrys leaving but will we all survive the death of the right to make poor jokes?’

‘The urge to renew tussles with the impulse to preserve’

‘Discovering Judaism has been a profound and fascinating process, from celebrating festivals to the spiritual joy of synagogue’

‘Every holiday of my childhood was spent either looking at art or making it. I remain helpless to resist the pull of the landscape on one side and lure of galleries on the other’