Author Archives: Paul

That Mr Blair doesn’t care about what people think about both him and his time in charge of the Kingdom is unquestionable. He will be judged by history, so he tells us. Which is all well and good, of course: caring about others’ opinions is a foolish game indeed. But waiting for history is a boring one. And we need a way to pass the time. Read More

Tony Blair’s ability to arouse emotion in so many people, who even when combined mean less to the prime minister than a tin of shoe polish, is his greatest, and most intriguing quality. Read More

Walking around the Tate Modern, it is impossible to avoid overhearing the disparaging comments made by the exhibition hall’s many detractors. It can seem that, other than the parties of art students with their activity sheets, the obligatory oldies and the token bearded woman, everyone is there to mock the works and wish unfriendly things upon the artists. Read More

Today’s Guardian Review features the winning entry in this year’s Ben Pimlott Prize for Political Writing, which asked people with too much time on their hands to write 3,000 words or so under the title: “Who do you think you are: Can history help us define British identity today, or is it part of the problem?”. The winning entry is, by virtue of being judged worthy by the funless Fabians, dreary toss and won because it went on about 7/7. So I suggest you read my exquisite failure instead… Read More

Le refus des louanges est un désir d’être loué deux fois. (The refusal of praise is only the wish to be praised twice.) —François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld, le Prince de Marcillac, Maxim 149

Disparate though we as a species indubitably are, there is one trait that unites every human being on the planet, from the smallest, most annoying children to the oldest, most eccentric members of the House of Lords. It is not a particularly complicated concept to grasp; it is indeed so concise, so unquestionable, and so devoid of an ability to foment arguments along racial, gender or class lines that the most senior and troubled Guardian columnists have flatly refused to recognise its existence. Read More

The world, as every politician deemed worthy enough of a spot on television is seemingly contractually obliged to tell us, is under threat. This threat is new, it’s scary, and it comes from shifty foreigners with shady motives. Read More

Ukraine’s ‘Orange’ future was bright; now it’s uncertain.

“A very large percentage of people,” wrote Bertrand Russell, “really believe that the ills from which they suffer would be cured if a certain political party were in power.” At the time Russell was writing, what is now Ukraine was ruled over by a murderous madman for whom political parties were an unwelcome distraction; so much so, in fact, that he got rid of all of them that weren’t his. Read More