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

The road to women’s liberation – money

I was sorry I had to turn down an invitation from Trinity College Dublin’s eminent College Historical Society to speak on the motion that “This House Believes that the Modern Irish Women Have No Need for a Women’s Movement”.           Especially since it included dinner with the Fellows and Scholars, a wondrously glamorous prospect.          … Continue reading

Crown and Shamrock

In her most recent book, Mary Kenny – drawing on research at the Royal Archives in Windsor as well the Irish archives, and personal reminisce by a number of people – examines the complex and contradictory relationship between Ireland and the Crown. Continue reading

Germany Calling

Germany Calling

William Joyce, who came to be immortalised as “Lord Haw-Haw” was born in America of English-Irish parents, grew up in Galway in the West of Ireland, became a fierce British patriot when he came to England and then embraced Nazi Germany in 1939. His sense of national allegiance was a little crazy and mixed-up, to say the least. Continue reading