Borders

Few topics have the capacity to create more contention than the issue of immigration. The mere mention of it loads a room with an uncomfortable air of fear, anger, bitterness and upset. It has, wrongly, become a subject which ‘polite society’ now collectively avoids, in fear of ruining a perfectly good dinner party. Borders, however, …

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The year of the Bear

I have never been very good at keeping things short. If someone asks me to give a ten-minute talk, I will always do over fifteen and if I’m asked to keep it under 500 words, I’ll usually write double. This characteristic spills over to my buying habits too. My wardrobe and fridge will attest to …

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Boy’s don’t cry.

Well it’s true, isn’t it? At least in the UK it is, where centuries of patriarchal programming has instilled upon us British men an inherited predisposition to stifle one’s emotions. Whether it’s the fallout from our stiff-upper-lip wartime conditioning or a deeply entrenched view from generations of Fathers explaining to their sons that crying is for …

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Characters

This time last year, I managed to get a mortgage on a small two-bed flat in a suburb of south London, known for its reasonable rail links and prolific knife crime. There are a fair few things I dislike about the area. The rubbish for example, that collects outside my block every morning, picked at …

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What does evil look like?

Robert Kraft and Jeffrey Epstein. Do either of those names mean anything to you? It’s possible that the English amongst us may not have heard of these men before, but for those following along in the US, I’m confident their notoriety hasn’t escaped you. For those unaware, let me give you a quick update. Robert …

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The Way

A couple of weeks ago I decided to swap the litter-strewn pathways of central London for the rolling cornfields of the Spanish Pyrenees. A few days had become free in my work schedule and, in a last-minute burst of spontaneity, I booked a flight to Bilbao, took a bus to Pamplona and joined the steady …

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Luck be a lady.

I can say with some confidence that luck has never been much of a lady to me. Unless that lady is my secondary school music teacher who hated me with the red hot passion of a thousand suns! In fact, I have recently become convinced that I may be one of the least lucky men …

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Notre Dame

A lot has gone on over the past few weeks. The horrendous attacks in Sri Lanka, the climate change protests in London and the blazing inferno that turned the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris into a smouldering wreck. All of these took place over the Easter period, a time acknowledged by Christian and non-Christian alike, …

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Unseen

I heard a story a couple of weeks ago about a lady who came to the UK looking for work and a safe place to live. It turned out that she’d been trafficked by a gang who had promised her these things, but soon after arriving, they took away her passport and forced her to …

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Every little helps.

One of my very first experiences of rejection came when I was interviewed at my local Tesco supermarket as a young, naive and slightly arrogant teenager. I remember bounding confidently through the aisles, a couple footsteps behind the store’s head of human resources, as she led me to a small, pokey office in the underbelly …

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