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The dire combination of homelessness and imprisonment

We are more than individuals, but part of a community with shared moral responsibilities In ‘Down and Out in Covent Garden’ – from his collected pieces in The Dog’s Last Walk (2017) – Howard Jacobson asserts: “Sentimentality works by our seeing only what we want to see.” This thought was prompted as Jacobson left the…

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Remembering we are mortal

People with conditions, such as motor neurone disease, and their carers deserve as much funding for research and quality-of-life enhancement as society can give The double-decker x62 bus that drives daily past our house between Melrose and Edinburgh is wrapped in a bright livery of blue, white, and yellow tartan. Along each side is the…

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When everybody is an expert…

‘Science’ does not refer to one thing, and neither does ‘the public’ In a piece for The Critic (28 May 2020,  https://thecritic.co.uk/the-ecstasy-of-sanctimony/), a writer called Seymour Silk defends his neighbour Dominic Cummings (top tip: select ‘safe search’ before Googling those names together) and the excursion the latter undertook with his family from London to Durham.…

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The smell of human adventure

Who is brave enough to tackle Everest’s faecal time bomb? In the June 2013 issue of National Geographic, Mark Jenkins wrote of Mount Everest that the two standard routes, the northeast and the southeast ridges, “are not only dangerously crowded, but also disgustingly polluted, with garbage leaking out of the glaciers and pyramids of human…

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Environmentalism is a cry from the soul

Public services, such as healthcare, should understand the impact they have on the environment In May 1982, after Argentina had invaded the Falklands, the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher offered this insight to the Scottish Conservative Party conference: “It is exciting to have a real crisis on your hands, when you have spent half your…

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