Good v Evil need not apply

  For the second week running, I found myself watching BBC1’s Sunday War Report. Chaired by John Humphrys, veteran of Radio 4’s Today programme, this seems like the BBC’s latest attempt at information-populism, combining breaking news with interviews with feature reports with Peter Snow (famous for his election-time swingometers) gabbling breathlessly through an electronic presentation of what troops/planes/bombs […]

Apologetic imperialism

If you want to understand the world as it really is not, it’s often a good idea to read some of the columnists in the UK press. This week, the Award for the Most Unreal Analysis goes to the Guardian’s Madeleine Bunting. Bunting used her slot on Monday 8 October to launch a bitter attack on […]

Growing up scared

As aeroplanes were crashing into New York’s World Trade Centre, I was halfway through an online quiz to find out if I am suffering from a ‘quarterlife crisis’. Sometimes, the news really puts things in perspective. The quarterlife crisis, apparently, is the twentysomething’s version of a midlife crisis. It refers to the condition of graduating […]

Gay is the new straight

Two gay couples came as close as they could to getting married in the UK this week, by signing the London Partnerships Register. The register is the latest initiative taken by London mayor Ken Livingstone, and while it does not have the same legal status as marriage, it effectively gives the state’s blessing to homosexual […]

Why do we love Big Brother?

Fifty-two years on from the publication of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, ‘Big Brother’ is best known as a cult TV programme in which a group of volunteers have their every move and word broadcast to the nation 24 hours a day. We do not live in a police state – far from it. People are not […]

Forever – or a day?

‘Love and marriage, love and marriage/Go together like a horse and carriage’…. Not any more they don’t. The numbers of people getting married keeps on falling. In 1999, there were 263,515 marriages, and over half as many divorces (144,241) (1). The UK Office for Statistics’ 2000 edition of Social Trends reveals that approximately 25 percent of unmarried […]

Bulger killers: childhood on trial

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables killed two-year-old James Bulger in February 1993, when they were aged 10. Now, their parole hearings and potential release have provoked outrage among James Bulger’s family and their supporters, who claim Thompson and Venables should be sent on to an adult prison. The murder of James Bulger, by two young […]

The work thing

If 1997 was the election of ‘education, education, education’, 2001 pushed the mantra ‘work, work, work’. Throughout the election campaign, Blair and co eulogised the wonders of the work ethic – the way work gives you dignity; the need to promote the business culture through education; the wonders of the New Deal youth unemployment scheme; […]

Wake up! The truth about youth apathy

‘It is known that young people have depressingly low levels of political interest and knowledge’, states the preface to the UK Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report, ‘Young people’s politics: political interest and engagement amongst 14- to 24-year olds’, published in 2000 (1). Although there are no absolutely accurate statistics on how many young people vote, all […]

Blair’s other babies

‘Buzzing…Best day I’ve had in ages.’ ‘I really enjoyed myself.’ ‘It was brilliant.’ Were these young people raving about a trip to Ibiza or Glastonbury? No – they were talking about a day spent at the Sound Republic nightclub in Leicester Square, London, consulting with home secretary Jack Straw, minister for women Tessa Jowell, and […]

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