Browsed by
Month: September 2008

Having waited 20 years for any meaningful movement on Crossrail, I’m currently filing this one under ‘believe when see’, but, horribly, it appears to be a Tory policy announcement that I support fully. Obviously, the fact that these are the people who turned a flawed, but functional nationalised industry into the worst advert for capitalism ever must not be forgotten, but I fail to see how any government can be committed to environmental responsibility and airport expansion at the same time. And the risible Ruth Kelly calling it “economically illiterate” is, perversely, the biggest endorsement I can think of. I’d still never vote for the Conservatives as long as there’s breath in my body, though.

You can’t buck the market, oh no. You’ve got to let the market decide. For the last 30 years, this has been the mantra, first of Thatcher and her cronies and then of the bleeding Labour party. The City boys knew best – intervention would be foolish. And now all of these supposedly-unbuckable financial institutions are needing to be baled out by government money, both here and in the US. This whole situation is coming as cold comfort to those of us who maintained all along that the market couldn’t be trusted to run a whelk stall, and that a balanced economy requires intervention and heavy regulation, but, hey, it’s something to cling to. With any luck, it’ll be the start of a new age of scepticism and questioning in politics, but chances are the big public will remain just as bovine as it ever has. I despair.

I instruct all of you to go and buy the September issue of the Literary Review. Already the finest periodical for bibliomanes everywhere, it has, this month, chosen to improve its standing yet further by printing my review of Graham McCann’s new Terry-Thomas biography Bounder and Mark Simpson’s book about Alastair Sim.

I’m having to choose my words very carefully here, but in the cases of the two seaside piers that have ‘gone on fire’ in the last few weeks, is the fact that they both changed hands recently significant in any way?