Berlin in June

Such beautiful blue skies! Parks, pleasure boats on the Spree and across the imperial parade ground a soft breeze from the east cools the walls of the restored Reichstag, and stands up the tricolour of black and red and gold. Through the warm afternoon, electric scooters bearing citizens glide to and fro. These mellow scenes […]

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Antrim after rain

We kill one hundred head of cattle each week explained the old man sitting back in his chair, a Presbyterian from the south with an ecumenical constitution and a paper napkin tucked over his tie so that crumbs from his cream bun scatter onto the boardroom table. And pigs to china: tonnes of pork meat […]

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The deepwater port at Piraeus

At Piraeus’s deepwater port ends Europe where Themistocles built his navy sheds and high walls against the Persians, walls to protect the precious Athenian way of life. Now Europe ends in concrete and quayside cranes made elsewhere, raised over the sea to process containers sat waiting in the sunshine. An international ship approaches slows and […]

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Notes on the Common Good & Community Organising

These notes describe what I learned during a day (23 March 2018) in London spent with the Labour peer Maurice Glasman and the American community organiser Arnie Graf. The day was convened by Maurice Glasman to discuss his Common Good philosophy and to hear Arnie describe how to build powerful community organisations. Maurice Glasman It […]

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Stoned

When one is pushed off a high building, bound to a plastic chair is there any sense of relief – that one is freed from the barbarism, I mean? Does a crazy stillness prevail, am I feeling out for God’s hands, stretching hoping fantastically for lift? Whispering someone’s name. Does the smash hurt? I imagine it like […]

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Trump displays all the frailties of his sex: my predictions for 2016

(1) The billionaire is too weak to lead the United States of America Trump’s show-stealing offensiveness and derision of his opponents may still be enough to win him the Republican nomination (against weak opposition) but his lack of substance would be exposed in a run-off against Hillary Clinton. Hillary is the much tougher and more resilient character. […]

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Notes on Dubai

Sunday AM A taxi driver called Maithripala (not his real name) gives me a lift into town from Dubai’s International Airport. M is in his thirties, smart, apparently upbeat, anxious to be helpful. He is a fine driver but it is not hard to imagine him doing equally well in less monotonous work environments. M tells me that […]

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