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 It is bisected with almost geometric precision by the old trunk-road, now long superseded...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?

America - part eight

Chapter Eight   The sky was clear. The ferocious storm of yesterday had blown itself out and all was quiet and still and calm in the grey dawn light. Nathan noticed that the storm had torn many of the beautiful red and yellow leaves...

America - part seven

Chapter Seven   Whilst Nathan and Neeki sat on the beach, Maka was imperiously directing the people’s defences. He presented an imposing figure and looked like a man long used to command. His first act had been to post lookouts at...

scribbles 33 - Divine Inspiration

A blogger, one of my friends, believes that flopping on the couch is exercise. Yet, by some unknown celestial power, he was granted the grace to contemplate and even attempt to emulate the matchless athletes of Tai Chi. To this ancient art, he would...

Inquiry into Iraq war

Yesterday, Gordon Brown announced an inquiry into the Iraq war. The inquiry will be held in private. It will not hear evidence on oath. It will have no power to subpoena witnesses. It will not apportion blame or make findings of...

Who is the greatest? (Mark Two)

As the first version of "Who is the greatest?" seemed quite popular, I thought I might offer a slight variation on the theme.   The question in this version is: who do you think has had the greatest influence on the greatest number of people?...

America - part six

Chapter Six Nathan lay under an apple tree, which was heavy with ripe, red fruits. He felt completely at ease with the world: he had never known such happiness and contentment. In Nantucket he had always felt somewhat alien, as though he did...

America - part five

Chapter Five The yellow sun is high in the sky. There is barely a cloud to be seen in the blue sky. The gentlest of warm breezes caresses the green, young corn plants, which sway back and forth, sighing with obvious pleasure. Neeki and...

Financial Fat-cats Fight-back

Whilst the scandal surrounding MPs expenses continues to decimate all in its path and a procession of ministers quietly walk or angrily storm out of office, the government is in complete disarray. We are presented with the spectre of a...

America - part four

Chapter Four The sun is barely above the horizon. It is so pale as to be almost white in the cloudless, blue sky. The ground is covered with a layer of snow, as deep as a man’s knee, deeper, much deeper, in the drifts. The air is still and...

The New Paradigm - the final part

Here is the final instalment of this satire on contemporary life: The night sky was dark and the snow that had threatened all day was now beginning to gently fall. The moon was all but imperceptible. As Tom Limehouse walked towards the hospice,...

The New Paradigm - part nine

Here is the penultimate instalment of this satire on contemporary life: The sky was grey, threatening, yet not delivering, snow and the air was raw and cold. The new year cheer and bonhomie, which only weeks earlier had seemed to embrace the...

America - part three

Chapter Three Neeki sits on the ground. The heat from the fire is oppressive. Perspiration drips from her naked body. It is almost two days since, as a sign of her assumption of adult status, she entered the Vision House. Since that...

The New Paradigm - part eight

Here is instalment eight of this satire on contemporary life: The inquiry opened with all the lineaments of a judicial process. It was held in a Victorian town hall, which long before had fallen into disuse, having been superseded by a purpose...