On the Contrary

Abortion is a subject which never goes away and the arguments remain fundamental — a woman’s right to choose versus a child’s right to life, as each side would advance their case. And yet the technical and clinical possibilities continuously shift. Medical advances in embryology and fetology have been immense over the past 30 years: pro-life advocates used to say, in the 1970s, that “if women had glass tummies” no one would choose to have an abortion, since the unborn would be, visibly, a recognisable human being.

‘Since my return from Bali, I have experimented with an accommodative tranquillity on a bicycle that makes my journey not only more pleasant but probably safer’

‘The fashionable claim that “God loves all her children” is simply ridiculous. Accepting there is one, God doesn’t have genitals’

‘Why not televise a Plumbing Booker — recognising the rare tradesman who puts in shower stalls that don’t leak?’

‘Permitting cigarettes while cracking down on e-cigs is worse than barmy. It’s a violation of our civil rights’

‘Whenever I buy something over the phone I am giving a total stranger the means to clean out my current account’

‘I imagined that my having written a novel about weight and food issues meant that I owed journalists the lowdown on my private diet and exercise habits. Wrong’

‘When I asked my winsome Han tour guide what would happen when the skyscrapers collapsed, she said with cheerful gusto, “We’ll build them again!”’

‘In case some of you Europeans were getting hopeful, no, mainstream demography does not predict that Americans are on the brink of extinction’

‘Obama’s attempt to discourage a British referendum on EU membership was old-style imperialism’