Casual denigration of the Right

I read in today’s paper that Riz Ahmed, an actor, had “shocked” a cinema audience by introducing the film Taxi Driver with the words, “The original film inspired the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan. So, you never know, tonight’s screening might inspire someone to shoot David Cameron. We can only hope.” The actor, 27, apparently apologised afterwards, and said that his remark was intended as a joke – “Comedy is about taking risks and seeing the silly side to serious situations.” Continue reading “Casual denigration of the Right”


I ask in all seriousness: what attributes would you expect of the ideal teacher?  I have today undertaken some training, and this was one of the questions we were asked.  The answers – adaptability, fairness, flexibility, empathy, sense of humour, were all as you might expect.  Where my fellow educators and I parted company was over my suggestion that “passion for the subject” should be included.  Likewise, they dismissed knowledge – what you needed to teach at primary level, they said, was nothing that you could not mug up the night before. Continue reading “Teachers”

Throwaway babies

Reproductive medicine seems ever more problematic, and the latest difficulty to hit the headlines is the fact that some women who have undergone IVF, sometimes on the NHS and sometimes privately, then change their mind and have an abortion.  “Data obtained from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority reveal that an average of 80 abortions are carried out in England, Wales and Scotland each year following IVF treatment.” Continue reading “Throwaway babies”

Geriatric motherhood

How old is too old to have a baby?  Once, such a question would hardly have needed asking: a time came when women could no longer have babies, and that was that.  In these enlightened times, however, things are rather different.  No-one who does not want a baby need have one (which makes you wonder why it is that there are still the number of abortions taking place – more than 189,000 in the UK last year) and many a career-minded young woman decides to put off having babies until her late thirties or forties.  At present, the cut-off point for IVF is fifty, which many of us might think is well old enough, particularly if you are trying for a first baby. Continue reading “Geriatric motherhood”