Just a handful of things to look at:
Philip Stephens’ searing deconstruction of the fiasco in Afghanistan should not be missed. It comes from the FT (sub needed):
Being cheap and nosy by nature, I have been taken by the Girl Called Jack blog about cut-price-good-quality cooking and the nature of contemporary British poverty
And the Guardian’s article on rising militancy among the lowest-paid workers in America is worth reading.
The subject of poverty leads naturally to thoughts of inequality in our world. As part of my ongoing research into the nature of contemporary life itself, I recently spent a couple of days poshing it up at a sailing club on England’s Isle of Wight, favoured boating haunt of hedge fund managers and the British upper classes. When I observed to the club Commodore that its social base was somewhat narrow and overwhelmingly employed in the City of London, he retorted that this was nonsense and the club has many other members, including high court judges and one of the most senior Conservatives in the House of Lords.
I kept a few notes of conversations I overheard as I observed grazing Sloanes and men in pink shorts from the safety of the bar terrace. I have to be honest and say I rather enjoyed myself, although a couple of days was very much the limit of the potential enjoyment. More and I would have started to fray. What I liked most was the Sloane women, who haven’t changed one bit since I was a teenager. They are as unselfconsciously dim and determined as the day that the gods created them to bring a smile to the lips of ordinary people.
Man goes into sailing club office needing a ruler.
The Head of Sloanes (who runs the office) produces a long ruler.
‘Formidable!‘ says the man, attempting to banter in French.
‘Sorry dahling, that’s all I’ve got,’ says Head of Sloanes, taking back ruler and putting it away’.
Man looks perplexed.
Moral: never, ever try foreign language banter on a Sloane:
Sloane leans over bar terrace balcony speaking very loudly into mobile phone.
‘I will speak to Jose about that… Hang in there, dahling… It might just have to happen after the summer… Oh My God, yes… So you’ve got the quantity for Dominic?… Oh that’s fine. So shall we keep Dominic and Graham separate?… Work in progress… Yah, exactly. Yes, work in progress. Come back to you on that one. FANTASTIC. Speak to you! Okay. Byeeeeee…’
Below, a boy is wading up to the beach with sailing dinghy. He says to another boy:
‘Oh My God, you’re not rahly going to Marlborough?’
Sloane grazing on salad on club terrace addresses the group of people at her table:
‘In Zambia we only had a choice of five colours. It was totally Third World, absolute rock bottom. But the thing is that the grey we chose showed off the paintings rahly well. Absolutely fantastic.’