Leading article: Speaking nonsense
Tuesday 16 November 1999
The aim of taking democracy back to the people is laudable. It conjures up warm images of a fearless politician on the stump, be he Sir Robert Peel speaking to the masses in Tamworth or John Major on his faintly absurd soapbox. But the gap between desire and reality is rather large.
If in doubt, visit Hyde Park Corner. You will be quickly disabused of the notion that soapbox oratory adds much to the sum of human discourse. Even the heckling is worse than may be found in most comedy clubs after pub closing-time. Instead, there is just the ranting and raving of obsessives of every hue, be they unpleasant racists, religious evangelists or political Utopians.
We all recognise that our political life needs improvement. But if Mr Straw really wants to further the connection between government and citizen, he should concentrate on ensuring his Freedom of Information Bill does not break the Trade Descriptions Act.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyoncé '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed in low-fi homage to viral video
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track