The Outsider’s Diary

Shelf life

‘Something in the world of literature we start off reading shows us a world which while sometimes scary is nevertheless still safe’

Living through history

‘Ordinarily, the public should flay this political class at the next available chance. But our options seem deeply limited’

Vienna’s empty streets

‘Walk along any but the main streets of Vienna at any time and you cannot shift the feeling that there just aren’t enough people’

Walk on the wild side

‘The lion wakes me at 3 a.m. as it walks past my tent. It must be some while since an ancestor of mine has had to fear encountering the animal’

Nazis old and new

‘So far as I know there was only one public statue erected in Europe after the war to commemorate a Nazi. And on a recent visit to Dublin I finally managed to visit it’

The moral death of the Labour Party

‘Every day this summer marked another development in the moral death of the Labour Party’

The graveyard of communism

"Before many more decades are out these mementos will follow the ideology they so fervently sought to commemorate"

Signs of the times

‘Someone telling you that you are not oppressed can deal a terrible blow to your self-esteem’

What undermines democracy?

"Our democracy has not been undermined by an unproven claim about one uninvolved tech company or the manner in which a minor figure’s minor ex was or was not outed"

Corbyn’s caution

"Jeremy Corbyn urges an extraordinary level of care over the analysis of chemical weapons suspected of being used by Russia or Syria, but is always first to denounce Israeli military action"

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"