The Party’s Over?

The most poignant scene in the aftermath of the British General Election was defeated Labour leader Ed Milliband's 'victory' speech at the declaration for his  Doncaster constituency. True to custom, he used the opportunity to recognize the enormity of Labour's defeat, and effectively conceded the election. But it was not the words of this left-wing, intellectual misfit's eulogy…

His Kingdom For A Hearse

With England burying one of its monarchs today, 530 years late, I thought it appropriate to re-post this item from March 25,  2012. Greatest Britain   What makes Britain great? There is, of course, no single answer (and the French would suggest there is no question), but the nation that gave the world its principal parliamentary…

A Sheikh’s home is his English castle

'Cry — God for Harry! England and Saint George!' This year marks the 600th anniversary of King Henry V's victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt. While Britain has had quite a successful run over the years overrunning other countries, it is almost exactly 950 years since Albion was last invaded. (We prefer to connect the…

For Whom The Bell Tolls

The scene - a church graveyard in Middle England. A respectable crowd, trussed-up in winter clothes, surrounds an open grave. As the coffin is lowered into the gaping hole, the priest declares: 'The Mother of Parliaments gave, and the Mother of Parliaments hath taken away.' A sharply dressed gentleman throws the first clod of earth onto the…

Fish without an aye?

The only thing I am prepared to learn from this Scottish Referendum lark is that, if you give people an overdose of democracy, their brains come flying out of their ears. By the time some of you read this, the whole farce may well be over - decided one way or the other: the only statistical…

The Good Old Days?

By the time you get to my age (I, just about, remember what I was doing when I heard JFK had been shot), there are not many childhood ambitions you have either not fulfilled or not given up on. I made it to the Volvo, but not President of the United States (an early disappointment reading…

The Balls In Her Court?

What with the World Cup and Wimbledon, the last few weeks have been jam-packed with balls - an appropriate time, perhaps,  for the British Labour Party to present its ideas for the future of tax policy should it win the next General Election. But more of that later. I grew up thinking the Queen was so…

A Tale of Two Cities

Arriving at a hotel in the heart of Dickens country late last Monday night, I was asked by the receptionist if my day had been a pleasant one. I replied that, having woken in one country, worked a full day in another and being now about to go to sleep in yet another, I did not…

Socking it to Santa

Experience suggests that my telephone conversation with some extremely pleasant folk from Colorado last Thursday will prove one of my last international work calls before Christmas. Although I have never visited Denver or its environs, I am assured that their courtesy was typical of that, and other, Western States. My research suggests, however, that if you ever…