An intermittently Liberal anthology compiled by Jonathan Calder

Wednesday, July 30, 2003  

A two-tier system
In no other European country do the moneyed and professional classes - lawyers, surgeons, businessmen, accountants, diplomats, newspaper and TV editors, judges, directors, archbishops, air chief marshalls, senior academics, Tory ministers, artists, authors, top civil servants - in addition to the statistically insignificant but eye-catching cohort of aristocracy and royalty - reject the system of education used by the overwhelming majority pretty well out of hand, as an inferior product.

In no modern democracy except Britain is tribalism in education so entrenched that the two main political parties send their children to different schools.

George Walden We Should Know Better: Solving the education crisis (1996)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 24, 2003  

As with Voltaire's Holy Roman Empire, the Socialist Workers Party negates the meaning of every word in its title. It never had much to do with the workers; like a minor public school, the SWP is a home for dim, middle-class children. For years it has been a sect or cult rather than a party - think the Moonies, but without the smiles. Now it is giving up on socialism to form an alliance with Islamic fundamentalism.

Nick Cohen, New Statesman, 21 July 2003

posted by Jonathan Calder | 11:34 p.m.

Alternative comedy
Mark Steel is one of a wave of comedians who, to be blunt, aren't very funny. Pretty much interchangeable, their acts and columns seem to consist of variations on the theme of "that Blair bloke, he's more Tory than the Tories". This is usually met with sympathetic, knowing laughter from an audience that goes to hear the "comedian" only because they know and share the politics.

Stephen Pollard, New Statesman, 21 July 2003

posted by Jonathan Calder | 11:28 p.m.

Sunday, July 13, 2003  

Unjust, unwise, unAmerican
Mr Bush could have asked Congress to pass new anti-terrorism laws. Instead, he is setting up a shadow court system outide the reach of either Congress or America's judiciary, and answerable only to himself. Such a system is the antithesis of the rule of law which the United States was founded to uphold.

In a speech on 4 July, Mr Bush rightly noted that American ideals have been a beacon of hope to others around the world. In compromising those ideals in this matter, Mr Bush is not only dismaying America's friends but also blunting one of America's most powerful weapons against terrorism.

Leader, The Economist, 12-18 July 2003

posted by Jonathan Calder | 11:07 p.m.

Thursday, July 03, 2003  

In all my caddying days I rarely played golf with a good sportsman; in my adult life I played only once with a bad one. And I think the moral has something to do with ragged trousers and bare feet.

Finlay J. Macdonald Crotal and White (1983)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 9:26 p.m.

Health under New Labour
The relentless politicisation of health under New Labour, which gathered momentum when the prime minister assumed personal responsibility for the modernisation of the NHS in early 2000, is destined to intensify the process of medicalisation - and the problems of the medical profession and the health service.

The key problem is that, just as the role of medicine in society has expanded, the NHS is called upon to play an ever wider role in the life of the nation. When most other institutions that once inspired popular loyalty are now, like the Royal Family, widely scorned, and attempts to foster a collective spirit around Britpop and the Dome have proved a big disappointment, New Labour is left with that great standby of Old Labour politicians, the "jewel in the crown" of the post-war welfare state - the NHS.

Michael Fitzpatrick The Tyranny of Health: Doctors and the regulation of lifestyle (2001)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 9:22 p.m.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003  

The Old Road
There is more than one way of getting close to your ancestors.

Follow the Old Road and as you do, think of them; they climbed Chillingbourne Hill just as you did. They sweated and paused for breath just as you did today.

And when you see the bluebells in the spring and the wild thyme, and the broom and the heather, you're seeing what their eyes saw. You ford the same rivers, the same birds singing. And when you lie flat on your back and rest, and watch the clouds sailing as I often do, you're so close to those other people, that you can hear the thrumming of the hoofs of their horses, and the sound of the wheels on the road, and their laughter, and talk, and the music of the instruments they carried.

And they turned the bend in the road, where they too saw the towers of Canterbury. I feel I have only to turn my head to see them on the road behind me.

Lines from the Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film A Canterbury Tale (1944)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 7:37 p.m.

Thought for the day
Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they therefore do as they like.

Edward, Lord Thurlow (1731-1806)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 6:50 p.m.