Gay Marriage – a child’s perspective

Many years ago, like most kids of my generation, I was sent to school. I still remember the primary school – the vaulted, slightly¬†dusty corridor with a dark shiny floor, and the dim secluded annex for coats and scarves next to the first classroom door. Each child was instructed to use a particular peg to […]

A bad day for religious patriarchy

Last night’s The Ascent of Woman (BBC2) did a fine job of demonstrating how the recent trend for monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam being the main ones) merely inherit a somewhat older tradition of patriarchy. The systematic oppression of women for which they have become famous, a system of male domination, of our very discourse, […]

“That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law. ” – English Bill of Rights, 1689 “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” […]

the accidental anarchists

Just a “grain glitch” in the matrix, nothing to see here. According to one journalist, they say of the Washington Post: ‘it’s a great paper; you never know which page will have the lead story’. True to form, the current lead headline might appear predictably anodyne: “Democrats balk as Republicans try to use must-pass spending […]

Nuer scales

The work of E.E Evans-Pritchard, the now somewhat old-fashioned, but utterly meticulous and detailed anthropologist, and I, have crossed but once. As an undergraduate I studied the first of his books from his fieldwork with the Nuer, a people of the Nile Valley What follows are fragments of notes I took at the time.

Heaney’s ‘Bog Oak’

Since I mentioned my University days on Tuesday, I thought a relic of that time, on Seamus Heaney, who would have turned 80 last week, worth airing. I couldn’t bear to let this go, however, with all the undergraduate prose intact, so I’ve improved the grammar and tone. The essay attempts to see how Heaney […]

Remote Control?

Many of us, in the current conditions, will be home working if not for the first time, then more often than usual. Automattic, the company that owns wordpress.com, WooCommerce and Tumblr, has distinguished itself by hiring many remote workers – indeed, much of its workforce is globally distributed. Not one to let this wealth of […]

Opiatic For The People

On becoming an undergraduate, I soon looked up Karl Marx’s well-known, and often quoted remark on religion: the opium of the people. Nuance and subtlety drift over time. We may assume Marx dismisses religion as a soothing crutch, or more pejoratively as a harmful addiction. But we can assume nothing from one out of context […]

Covid-19 in the UK

One week into the UK’s so-called ‘lockdown’, and I thought it would be good to look at the UK response to the virus, and round up some political and social developments within this benighted territory over the past few weeks. Coming so soon after last year’s late general election, which confirmed the Johnson administration in […]

Watching the Detectives

Tremendously interesting article in today’s NYT on the power of police unions. When Steve Fletcher, a Minneapolis city councilman and frequent Police Department critic, sought to divert money away from hiring officers and toward a newly created office of violence prevention, he said, the police stopped responding as quickly to 911 calls placed by his […]