In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed his “war on drugs” into law. Drugs were “public enemy number one,” said Nixon, and action was necessary because addiction to narcotics had “assumed the dimensions of a national emergency”. Four decades on, and the global clampdown on drugs continues unabated.
Football has come in for a lot of stick of late. Successive racism scandals, followed by a harrowing documentary reminding us that only one professional footballer has ever come out as gay have, to cut a long story short, dragged the game’s reputation through the mud somewhat.
Workers at Primark in Northern Ireland have voted overwhelmingly for strike action after the company attempted to impose a pay freeze on its shop staff for the second consecutive year. Primark’s staff are paid just £6.84 an hour, yet in the past two years the company has seen its profits soar to an estimated £644 million. Union reps are meeting next week with strike action in February looking increasingly likely.
The benefits of being rich are numerous, and probably don’t need a great deal of explanation from me. The ability to travel the world at the drop of a hat is, I imagine, one of the many advantages great wealth brings, as is the possibility of doing away with a number of the banal inconveniences that plague everyday life. Not having to get out of bed at the crack of dawn for work has its appeal, as does eating the best food and never having to cook any of the damn stuff.
Predictably, the biopic of Margaret Thatcher released in cinemas last week overwhelmingly focused on the personal, rather than the political side of her tenure in office.
Ever since Margaret Thatcher stopped appearing in public due to poor health, the fit and proper reaction to her eventual exit from the earthly realm has been discussed with increasing regularity by the political left.
In the novel Catch 22, one of the central characters is an entrepreneurial war profiteer by the name of Milo Minderbinder. Caught red-handed in the act of plundering his fellow countrymen, Milo enjoys evoking “the historic right of free men to pay as much as they have to for the things they need in order to survive”.
Julian Petley, co-author of the book Culture Wars , once observed that the British press had ‘perfected a way of representing the ideas and personalities associated with socialism as so deranged and psychotic that they presented a danger to society.’
Visiting Stratford’s new Westfield shopping centre on a crisp November morning, I feel, as a person, incredibly small.
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