Filed under General

Let gay men marry…older women

A friend of mine, who is a gay man, was explaining to me that he was once engaged to be married to a lady. “She was lovely,” he said. “I was mad about her.”      One way or another the proposed engagement didn’t materialise. The lady was the loser. He is a terrific guy, and … Continue reading

Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland.

By Diarmaid Ferriter Profile Books Ltd, London Every society we know has tried to exercise controls over sexuality and its consequences. In Jewish culture, to be born out of wedlock was to be punished “unto the fourth generation”. In the Soviet Union – which only fell in 1989 – homosexual acts were punishable either by … Continue reading

What really happened in Dublin at Easter 1916

Speaking recently to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, the Taoiseach of the Irish Republic, Mr Brian Cowen, invoked “the spirit of 1916” to urge businessmen to bring the country through the present economic gloom. The “spirit of 1916” – being the founding myth of the Irish state – is often invoked in Ireland to prompt … Continue reading

The Literature of the Irish in Britain

Edited by Liam Harte Published by Palgrave Macmillan . ISBN 978-1-4039-4987-5 Price £50. This is an expensive academic book, yet for anyone interested in immigration and emigration, working-class (as well as more privileged) lives, personal memoir, and just a wonderful chronicle of the way things were, it is one of the most absorbing, and meticulously … Continue reading

Why the Act of Settlement should Go

It was suggested in the spring of this year by Gordon Brown’s administration that the 1701 Act of Settlement should be reformed in two ways: female heirs should be made equal with male heirs, so that primogeniture – the first-born of whichever sex – should inherit (this is now the case in Sweden, where Princess … Continue reading

Killing and keeping officiously alive

Last year, I spent a week in an old lady’s home – it was just a week’s convalescence after a spot of hip surgery, but it gave me a chilling insight into the way many of us  spend the last years of our lives. The home was managed to high standards of health and safety, … Continue reading

Paedophile offences – The Church was soft on crime

My mother-in-law had a good friend – a decent Protestant – who began reading about all the scandals rocking the Catholic church throughout the centuries, particularly focusing on the period of the wicked popes. (Alexander VI, Roderigo Borgia, who was poisoned in 1503, lived a famously profligate and licentious life, fathering children and favouring his … Continue reading

Thoughts of a Jewish Buddhist

Golden Hawn, the American comedy star, has recently described herself as “a Jewish Buddhist”. Funnily enough, not long ago I was sent some spiritual thoughts by a Jewish Buddhist, which went as follows: If there is no self, whose arthritis is this? Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated? Accept misfortune … Continue reading

Permissive parenting – Yes, Please.

It is obvious that people are much more permissive with their children, nowadays, than parents (or teachers, or grandparents, or elders of any kind) used to be. We know this because we see it all around us. And research has now confirmed it.      A quarter of adults – according to a recent survey of … Continue reading