Magazine

The American subprime explosion is still sending ripples of trouble out to the rest of the financial world. But subprime mortgages may only be the beginning of disruption in the US.

I could not consent to the introduction into our national life of a device so alien to all our traditions as the referendum,” Clement Attlee told Winston Churchill in May 1945, “which has only too often been the instrument of Nazism and Fascism.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, it is said, was very surprised earlier this year by the furious response to his speech about civil and religious law. I am very much surprised that he was surprised; it was hardly likely that a recommendation to incorporate parts of sharia law into English law could fail to enrage people far and wide, especially coming from him.

How Labour hates our ancient universities! There they are, acting as though their responsibility were to observe age-old standards and values of higher learning, when in the government’s eyes the proper function of a university is to assist modernising processes of social redistribution.

Imagine you are a novelist. You want to create an instantly credible picture of middle-class life at some time in the past couple of decades — a suburb, a village, a pub. Easy: one chap passes another and asks, “Seen Matt today?”

Was it the mud or the line-up or the plethora of new rivals that made it a struggle for Glastonbury Festival to sell all its tickets this year? As a Glasto regular since 1990, I’d suggest none of the above. Personally I think it had to do with the Vibe.

A few years ago the playwright David Hare spoke of “the fashionable whine of contempt” against the theatre. And it continues to this day.