The Wire

Many commentators were sceptical when Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling recently alluded to The Wire in the context of crime in Britain. After all, there is a huge disparity between murder rates in Baltimore and London. True enough, as they say in The Wire. However, we were mildly suprised -driving back to London from Norfolk early on Monday – to be diverted around Elephant and Castle because one man had been decapitated just before a gun battle erupted outside the Ministry of Sound nightclub. Perhaps this is life imitating art?

The journey was also noteworthy because of a rare (partial) admission by a prominent member of the liberal elite that all was not well in the realm of progressive policies. The lawyer, Helena Kennedy, was in pseudo humble mode, as she told BBC radio listeners (where else) that the emphasis she and her friends had placed on victims rights had led, yes, wait for it, to infringements of the rights of criminals as emotion swayed the judiciary to impose harsh sentences…….Kennedy thought that we needed more of the coldly clinical approach embodied by the state’s own lawyers…..actually, I thought one had to really work at it to go to prison at all nowadays.

Norfolk was very pleasant. The high point being a day spent helping to sell second hand books for charity at the Stiffkey fete. I donated a couple of boxes of books, most of which flew off the table. Unfortunately there was scant interest in four volumes of Documents of German Foreign Policy in the 1970s (possibly because they were in German) which sort of confirms my view that post-war Germany is the most boring place on God’s planet. I used to go there a lot, but nowadays find Italy or Spain more culturally and intellectually interesting.

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"