Friday, May 05, 2006

Surrounded by the enemy

Just a brief note that both Hampstead Town (where Dave lives) and Gospel Oak (Dave's ancestral homeland where he was brought up) both now return three Tory councillors to the London Borough of Camden.


Anonymous Benjamin said...

A mixed election night. Labour did deservedly badly, but not quite as bad as I thought. The Conservatives did well, but only just on the threshold of a "thumbs up" for Cameron - no more. The Lib Dems held their ground, no more than that. Turnout low, I expect.

The message it appears is that folk are hardly enthusiastic about any particular party.

Worrying gains for the BNP in all this.

5/05/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed Nick Cohen's return to the Evening Standard (so presumably he will also be in the Observer on Sunday)

its a bit of a middle aged man havign problems with sex column
HEADLINE: Stop being so picky, and start nesting



MY SINGLE men friends talk about abandoning flings and settling down when they find "the one". The one will be beautiful, of course, tolerant of their peccadillos, bright, loving, witty, glamorous, edgy, rich - rich is important - and maternal. When I point out that no such woman exists, they get very stroppy, as if I was forcing them to buy a second-hand car.

With women friends I've found a similar pattern but with an important difference.

In defiance of the stereotype of the desperate thirtysomething, they have become fussier as they have got older.

They've bought nice flats, arranged just so, and are ever more reluctant to allow some hairy heffalump of a man to move in, knock the knickknacks off the mantelpiece and demonstrate his poor toilet training.

Both men and women carry on until they decide that if they want children they need to hurry up. The obsessive choosiness with which they had screened previous girlfriends and boyfriends vanishes and they shack up with just about anyone. If social convention had compelled them to get married young, they might have got a better deal.

Opinion polls are dubious at the best of times and doubly so when they claim to reveal personal lives as people lie about them as a matter of routine.

Still, you only have to notice that soon more than half of children will be born to women over 30 to know that the finding for The Guardian the other day, that people think it is more important to have a good time and plenty of money, is probably right.

It wasn't just hedonism or the difficulties of finding "the one" which put them off parenthood. They talked about the cost, fears that their relationships would break up and career pressures.

For whatever reason, we are conductinga social experiment. The media talk about it when they discuss the agonies of couples who have left it too late to become parents, but the consequences are far wider.

For the first time in history, the age difference between millions of parents and children will be more than a generation. The gap produces the comic spectacle of the elderly trying to stay hip to yoof culture but also the cheerless consequence of parents dying before they've had the chance to befriend their adult children.

The teachers' unions hinted at another effect when they complained this week that exhausted parents with busy careers use the TV and the computer as electronic babysitters, but I think they missed the main point. Nature designed us to have children when we are young because they're exhausting, whether you have a career or not.

Even though every trend is against you, if you want them it's probably best to get them in early.

The archbishop who failed Sudan

ANOTHER week of genocide in Darfur, so I seek moral guidance from our religious leaders on how to respond. In February, the Archbishop of Canterbury disgraced himself when he toured the Sudan and never once berated the Islamist government for initiating one of the great atrocities of our time. Since then, all he's been prepared to mutter is words to the effect of "we're all to blame".

New Labour's favourite faith group, the Muslim Council of Britain, and the Muslim Association of Britain, which organised the antiwar movement, are worse. They have stayed silent about the massacre of black Muslims, presumably because Arab Muslims are doing the massacring.

The trouble with moral leaders is that they are not moral enough.

They shriek about gay vicars and Danish cartoonists, but when it comes to crimes against humanity you can't get a peep out of them.

The straight go camping

TO Les Trois GarAons in Shoreditch, a restaurant that is as camp as its name suggests. While enjoying the pricy food, I stared with wonder at a monkey in a tiara, damask-upholstered chaises-longues, a stuffed tiger at the bar and giant Tiffany pocket watches hanging from the walls. All very gay, but like Gwyneth Paltrow, Damien Hirst and Les GarAons' other celebrity patrons, my fellow diners arrived in heterosexual couples.

I found a similarly heterosexual audience when I went to a drag ballet a few weeks ago, and half the men I know have spent their stag nights with Madame JoJo's Soho transvestites then walked down the aisle - with a woman.

The straights have taken over camp London, which is perhaps why so many gays have decided to get married and have kids.

PERIODICALLY, people ask my journalistic advice on selling their stories.

"Don't!" I cry.

"You may want money/revenge/ fame now, but imagine what it will be like when your children read about it. Imagine being known for the rest of your life as so-and-so's squeeze."

Without exception, they have concluded I know nothing about modern Britain and have taken the money.

And it hasn't hurt them or any other kissers and tellers. Edwina Currie is all over the radio and Rebecca Loos is all over the telly.

Admittedly Tracey - "I'm a very loyal person" - Temple is too dim even for talk radio or Channel 4, but I'm sure she will build a nice new conservatory with her takings and no one will think the worse of her.

LOAD-DATE: May 3, 2006

5/05/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...


I see that "the free market in sex" is the bad idea that will not die.

Congratulations to Nick btw for writing the phrase "ANOTHER week of genocide in Darfur", during the only week that hadn't had any genocide in it, because both sides were observing the ceasefire while the peace talks went on.

5/05/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger fatbongo said...

I wonder whether Benn has been 'berating' the muslims this week.

The last time i heard him he was on the radio telling the rebels to get their shit together, because apparently they've fallen out and have been holding up a ceasefire agreement.

5/05/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Anonymous TimP said...

"Both men and women carry on until they decide that if they want children they need to hurry up. The obsessive choosiness with which they had screened previous girlfriends and boyfriends vanishes and they shack up with just about anyone. If social convention had compelled them to get married young, they might have got a better deal."

It's 9.30am on a Sunday, which is far too early for my brain to be working efficiently, but doesn't Nick's latest report about the free market in sex ignore simple maths? If some would-be parents are settling for a bad deal in their haste, does that not imply that others are getting a very good deal? In other words, Nick's advice ought to be: if you feel lucky, get married late.

Of course if one sex, say women, has more of a tendency to choosiness than the other, then the fussy-but-desirable may end up with the male dregs because their less desirable sisters have already snapped up the disappointed male bargains.

Nick says that he is talking about both men and women; if he thinks that women are more prone to choosiness than men, he is wisely not saying. He would be seen as just one more male commentator of a certain age filled with schadenfreude as he contemplates women whose independence has Done Them No Good.

Maybe, on the other hand, he really thinks that men are more prone to choosiness. In which case, perhaps this would explain why his single male friends have been getting very stroppy with him?

5/07/2006 08:49:00 AM  

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