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An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore is a recovering politician. It’s a joke he must made a thousand time since he lost the 2000 US Presidential election, and I heard him crack it three times in Edinburgh this week alone. Politicians at this level have to develop a capacity to repeat themselves almost indefinitely without getting bored by the … Continue reading

The Edinburgh Festival Must be Saved from Edinburgh

The Naked City – How the Edinburgh Festival is too important to be left to Edinburgh. – – – — – – – – – – – – – – — – – – =- – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – The Edinburgh Festival Theatre … Continue reading

On day in the life of the Underbelly

First find your belly. For the locationally-challenged, getting to a show at the Smirnoff Underbelly can be a test of endurance as well route-finding skills. There are twelve separate venues across seven city centre sites, all with similar-sounding names – Big Belly, Baby Belly, Belly Button, Belly Dancer, Delhi Belly etc. It’s eleven forty am … Continue reading

The polls might actually be right.

It might seem easy to dismiss the latest Guardian/ICM opinion poll showing the Tories in contention to win the next general election. It’s deep summer, Blair’s away leaving “crap” John Prescott’s in charge, and we’ve just had a serious security scare. Hardly surprising, then, if the polls are all over the place. Except that they … Continue reading

Apocalypse Book Festival

For hacks like me, chairing sessions at the Edinburgh Book Festival is a little like going back to university. The difference is that you get to interrogate in person some of those academic authorities whose works are held in awe by undergraduates and politicians alike. It can be a disarming experience. I’m not quite sure … Continue reading

Festival Faith

There is an unwritten rule on the Fringe that, unless the venue is packed, no one ever sits in the front three rows. It’s as if there is an invisible barrier beyond which no mortal may cross, a kind of embarrassment force field. Which is why, as a curmudgeon, I generally sit in the front … Continue reading

We Must Take Power Away from the Prime Minister

A week really is a long time. That’s all it took for the discredited Deputy Prime Minister, John “croquet” Prescott, to go from zero to hero, after making those unguarded remarks about George W Bush’s “crap” foreign policy. Suddenly he was being feted by antiwar MPs as a blunt, no-nonsense spade-caller. The Independent, announced that … Continue reading

True Lies in Middle East

“There are no facts, only interpretations”, so said the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, the Godfather or relativism. His words echo down the generations and some believe he is at least partly responsible for the mess we are in today. For, truth is in crisis. Never has it been more important than now to know what we … Continue reading

We Do Get It Mr Reid

12/8/06 If we are indeed “at war with Islamic fascists”, as George W. Bush claimed last week, then it’s not going too well right now. The mighty Israeli army has been halted in the Lebanon by a handful of Shi’ite militia. America has effectively lost the war in Iraq, sacrificing as many servicemen’s lives as … Continue reading

Tale of Two Parties

8/8/06 There’s been a lot of earnest sucking of teeth and shaking of heads about how the Tommy Sheridan trial has damaged the image of devolution. How could we have given a platform to that rabble of immature malcontents? Who will take the Scottish Parliament seriously, when it’s most recognisable member (no pun intended) is … Continue reading

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