Why are we at war?

This is a simple question: why are we at war? Minister after minister of the Crown has been asked this simple question. Each and every time they offer the same response. They tell us: national security. But never once have they explained how...

Corruption rules?

We have witnessed the scandal of the MPs expenses saga. Members of the House of Lords were demonstrated to have been willing to attempt to influence the law for bribes. Thousands of police officers have used credit cards issued for expenses in...

Club Run - part eight

The following Sunday dawned as brightly and beautifully as any in creation. The pale blue sky was picturesquely dotted, at suitably artistic intervals, with pure white fluffs of cloud. With only the merest hint of a breeze, it was the perfect day for...

Corruption rules

I am shamed to have to acknowledge that I live in a country where corruption is the norm. In any society there will doubtless occur from time to time incidents where an individual has used their position of authority for personal gain. The public...

Club Run - part seven

Whilst Tom and Jack were riding in the Pennine hills, Mr Pennine was busily organising what would become one of the armies that would join battle in the war, which Jack was to so vehemently prophesy. Immediately after the previous night's Annual...

Scribbles 36 - Freud on Pets

As many of you will doubtless be aware, the world of psychoanalysis is in turmoil, torn a sunder by scandal, accusation and counter-accusation. However, the cause of this dispute is a closely guarded secret. The prestigious Institute of...

Homes for local people?

Last Monday (June 29), Gordon Brown, in a desperate bid to create the impression of a government with a sense of purpose, announced to parliament a raft of purportedly new policy initiatives. Most of these were little more than policies the government...

Club Run - part six

Tom was not in the least surprised to see that Jack had selected his fixed wheel bike, even though he knew no else would ever dream of doing so in the middle of the Pennines. Where others used gears, Jack simply changed cadence with an effortless...

Economic saviour?

Mr Bundred, the head of the Audit Commission, who is paid £246,000 per year, not including expenses, has identified a "pain free" solution to the country's economic problems: cut the pay of public sector workers. Rather than leaping to a...

Club Run - part five

Jack Hardy had only once ever attended a club meeting. "A bunch of bloody bureaucrats!" had been his laconic judgement, as he walked out a mere ten minutes after the Chairman had formally declared the meeting open. Jack had declared there and then that...

Double standards?

The government of this country has described the arrest and possible trial for involvement in the recent protests of two Iranians, who are employed by the British Embassy in Tehran, as unacceptable. Yet this same government ensured that a teenage girl...

Club Run - part four

One might expect the Pennine Cycling Club, blessed as it is with Mr Pennine's lavish generosity, would be the happiest, most content and convivial of societies. Alas, it is not so. The Pennine Cycling Club is a hot-bed of factional rivalry and...

Club Run - part three

The Pennine Cycling Club is now widely recognised as probably the nation's most prestigious of all cycling clubs. However, unlike any other club, which would as a matter of course place inordinate stress on its history, emphasizing the founding date as...

Club Run - part two

Able Ingleby, or Mr Pennine as he invariably refers to himself, always careful, of course, to utilise the third person, presents the living, breathing, walking and talking proof that skills are not genetically determined. His grandfather, Tempest...

Scribbles 35 - The limitations of evidence

The strange death of Peter Wolf is one which has been told and retold so often that it has become little more than folk-lore, a garbled, mythologised form of history. As a professional historian, now retired, with time on my hands, I felt the time had...

America Solicits Murder

The administration of the United States of America, acting in concert with its ally, the government of Pakistan, has posted a reward for Baitullah Mahsud, dead or alive. Together Pakistan and the USA have offered a reward worth millions of...

Club Run - part one

The small, sleepy village of Gigglesborough nestles on the open and smiling face of the Pennines like a sooty smear, despoiling its natural beauty and splendour. It is bisected with almost geometric precision by the old trunk-road, now long superseded...

Squeaky clean speaker

Michael Martin was forced from office due to his complicity in the MPs expenses scandal. Last night the House elected a new speaker, a man of "honesty" and "integrity", who would restore public trust in parliament, Mr John Bercow. "I want to implement...

The picture - scribbles challenge 34

I hate that picture. I really hate it. It's all over the papers, even on the TV news. Everywhere. I hate that picture. And, why? It's just a picture. It's not like they make out. It don't prove nuthin. Ah, she was sure pretty,...

The strange death of English liberties

New Labour swept to a landslide victory in 1997, promising to "clean up politics" and restore faith "through a government that will govern in the interest of the many, the broad majority of people who work hard, play by the rules, pay their dues and...

Inquiry into Iraq war 2

On Monday, June 15, to almost universal incredulity, Gordon Brown announced the procedures by which the inquiry into the war in Iraq would be conducted. These were:: The inquiry will be held in private. It will not hear evidence on oath. ...

America - the final part

Chapter Nine "Nathaniel," called Captain Cole, "Nathaniel, by the grace of God, you are home, once more." As Nathan emerged from the dark hold, blinking in the morning light, he gazed at the troubled autumnal sky over the island of...

English liberties

Yesterday, yet another blow was struck by the state against our liberties. For eight hundred years, ever since the Magna Carta, the English have enjoyed the right to be tried by their peers. This ancient right was overthrown by the Lord Chief Justice,...

Kitty gets the chop!

Yet another minister, of Gordon Brown's zombie-government, has been forced to resign. Treasury minister, Kitty Ussher, in her letter of resignation, defiantly asserted: "I did not do anything wrong." If people are losing their jobs as a result...

What is the Greatest?

What is the greatest problem? In your opinion, of all the problems we face, which is the most serious, important, urgent, etc. Which is the problem that we should make our absolute priority. And, why?