Monthly Archives: July 2013

What Royal Baby Says About Us

The really odd thing about “Royal Baby” – as yet unnamed – is the level of fuss about, well, not very much. There is no ceremony like the royal wedding, no procession to watch like the Jubilee. It is celebration … Continue reading

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Gap Years: a new form of colonialism?

We all recognise the “gap yah” stereotype. Rich, middle-class, privately educated teenager, jetting off to exotic locations for a hedonistic rite of passage. Harmless fun, for those who can afford it. But is there something more sinister behind the banter … Continue reading

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Should Britain stay in or leave the EU?

A piece on why we should should stay in the EU written this winter. So we may choose. To leave the European Union, with its farcical directives on food shapes and health and safety, its bureaucratic largesse and Byzantine legislature, … Continue reading

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Dollar Fellow Travellers

Another Zahir article, this time inspired by Gerard Depardieu claiming Russian citizenship and my dissertation on Sidney and Beatrice Webb visiting the USSR. Gerard Depardieu lumbered around the stage of a provincial Russian town, brandishing his new Russian passport, before … Continue reading

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Tony Judt Remembered

An article commemorating the fantastic historian Tony Judt, written last summer. For those of us missing the historian Tony Judt’s brilliant scholarship, this year has brought a fine treat. Judt died of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a form of motor … Continue reading

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Mountains of the Mind (with apologies to Robert Macfarlane)

Zahir article number three, this time on mountains in culture. It is difficult to define what makes climbing a mountain so exhilarating. Perhaps it is simply the relief of the summit, the rest after a long slog uphill. More likely … Continue reading

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Going Green

Another Zahir article, this time about the potential for the growth of the Green Party. It’s from Spring 2011, but, again, I still think it’s valid. One of the highlights of the 2010 General Election, often missed by commentators obsessed … Continue reading

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The Limits of Human Rights

I wrote this in November 2010 for The Zahir, the University of York’s culture magazine. It’s about the limitations of the idea of human rights and the dangers of applying them dogmatically. Some of the examples are dated, but their … Continue reading

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Ashes Trauma: The Fear of Australian Resurgence

Brad Haddin has only won two Ashes test matches. That number sounds surprising because at Trent Bridge he scared England. He dragged his team to the brink of a record chase with that undefinable Australianness that has the English press … Continue reading

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