The Australian author of this lively collection of essays about language is an amiable guide to his subject. "Amiable" is, however, a stiff adjective to use when describing Julian Burnside, QC, who praises HW Fowler, author of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926), and Samuel Johnson for allowing their personalities to colour their writings about words. He mocks philologists for their dryness, dismisses "cherished superstitions" that remain popular with conservative querulists and describes an attempt to ban the use of "mate" from the Australian parliament in appropriately matey style.
Like this page on Facebook for updates
Friday 25 July 2008
Young people – and today I am addressing 300 of them at the European Youth Parliament in Liverpool – might think this a contentious statement: I believe we should pay for music. I don't mean pay through the nose, as we did from the 1970s through to the 1990s, but the principle must be that we should pay something.
Sunday 08 June 2008
Eagleton pre-emptively announces on page one that he's not a philosopher, but anyone tackling this subject is de facto a philosopher; the question is, how good? Eagleton indulges in some needlessly laboured analysis of terms, but is less interested in philosophical argument than in sticking it to his enemies, those pesky liberal humanists.
Friday 16 May 2008
Perhaps the most striking feature of the debate on the second reading of the Human Fertilisation and Human Embryology on Monday was the large number of MPs who abstained from voting. Only just over half of those eligible to vote did so. It suggests that perhaps a large number of legislators have still to make up their minds on the wide variety of issues encompassed within the Bill.
Bruce Anderson: Boris Johnson is a libertarian, but he is not a Tory - and he's unlikely to last the course
Monday 05 May 2008
Friday 04 April 2008
Thursday 21 February 2008
Do you check every item you buy to make sure it is green and planet-friendly? Do you buy carbon offsets every time you fly? Stop. It is time to be honest: green consumerism is at best a draining distraction, and at worst a con. While the planet's fever gets worse by the week, we are guzzling down green-coloured placebos and calling it action. There is another way. Our reaction to global warming has gone in waves. First we were in blank denial: how can releasing an odourless, colourless gas change the climate so dramatically? Now we are in a phase of displacement: we assume we can shop our way out of global warming, by shovelling a few new lightbulbs and some carbon offsets into our shopping basket.
Friday 08 February 2008
Friday 25 January 2008
Friday 15 December 2006
Having already qualified for the last 32, Rangers struggled to lift themselves for much of last night's final match in Group A of the Uefa Cup. However, the incentive of avoiding third-placed drop-outs from the Champions' League groups in the next stage was enough for victory over Partizan, thanks to Alan Hutton's second-half header.
Tuesday 14 November 2006
Seriously, how hard can it be? You're a workman. You I need to climb into your manhole, so you remove the cover. When you are finished doing whatever it is people do in manholes (conducting vital repair work? hiding? fighting crime?), you emerge blinking into the daylight. You replace your painted or paved manhole cover so that it matches up with the rest of the street. You move on.
Friday 26 May 2006
Friday 26 May 2006
Thursday 25 May 2006
A radical reform of the pensions system, including raising the state retirement age to 68, was announced today by the Government.
Tuesday 16 May 2006
With an easy urbanity and an even more assured sense of confidence, Michael Ballack yesterday settled into life as the Premiership's highest-paid footballer by dismissing the merits of Manchester United over Chelsea and declaring his main aim in coming to England was to win the Champions' League over domestic trophies.
Wednesday 21 September 2005
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 1 Bad cattitude: Family call police after crazed and 'hostile cat with a history of violence' attacks baby before attempting to 'flee custody'
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow