Matthew Engel

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Full name: Matthew Engel

Area of interest: Current affairs, politics, sport (especially cricket)

Journals/Organisation: Financial Times

Email: matthew@matthewengel.co.uk

Personal website: http://www.matthewengel.co.uk

Website: http://www.ft.com/life-arts/matthew-engel | http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/matthewengel

Blog:

Representation:

Networks:

Biography:

About: http://www.matthewengel.co.uk/biography/index.html

Education:

Career: Guardian journalist for more than twenty-five years, covering a wide variety of political and sporting events; has written for the Financial Times since 2004

Current position/role: commentator, editor

  • also writes/has written for:

Other roles/Main role:

Other activities: edited 12 of the 144 editions of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (as of 2007) - n.b. he is taking a sabbatical for the 2008 edition

Disclosures:

Viewpoints/Insight:

Broadcast media:

Video:

Controversy/Criticism: Has been a strong critic of the International Cricket Council, international cricket's ruling body

Awards/Honours: Finalist in the British Press Awards for Sports Journalist of the Year, 2007

Scoops:

Other:

Books & Debate:

Extracts from the red notebooks Mattew Engel.jpg

Latest work: Extracts From The Red Notebooks OCLC 225552438, 2007

(published to raise funds for the Laurie Engel Fund, in cooperation with the Teenage Cancer Trust)

Speaking/Appearances:

Debate:

Financial Times:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Current affairs and issues, politics, sport (especially cricket)

Section: FT Weekend / Living

Role: Columnist

Pen-name:

Email: matthew@matthewengel.co.uk

Website: FT.Com / Matthew Engel

Commissioning editor:

Day published: Saturday

Regularity: Weekly

Column format:

Average length: 850 words

Articles: 2015

Articles: 2014

  • Scotland: yes or no? - From Glasgow to Coldstream, voters are approaching the independence question with a seriousness unknown among the self-mocking English - 12th April
  • British Institutions: police commissioners - Public distaste for police and crime commissioners appears to be matched by a sullen resentment from police of all ranks - 22nd February

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

Articles: 2010

  • Hard work key to England’s Ashes victory - Twenty-four years after the last English cricketing triumph in Australia, Andrew Strauss achieved the greatest feat available to an England captain by winning the Ashes - 29th December
  • Lucky is the land that the GFC forgot - Perhaps in time Australia will finally acquire a greater ease with its own culture and stop looking to either country for role models and approbation - 24th December
  • England skittle Aussies to lift sporting spirits - A day of sporting disaster? The nation that invented football may have been humiliated in the voting to host the World Cup, but on the cricket field England emerged triumphant - 4th December
  • Outside Edge: Poor show, Shane, however you spin it - Australia’s greatest living cricketer may soon be better known as a third-rate television personality - 27th November
  • Up a gum tree - Matthew Engel has seen a few crazy parliaments, but Canberra’s House of Representatives, where the whips and party managers choreograph everything, seems to have totally lost the plot - 27th November
  • Spot the Ashes’ new demented dingoes - Shane Warne is shouting from the sidelines, complaining that the Aussies have got the wrong man and should have stuck with Nathan Hauritz - 27th November
  • Royal family needs this marriage to work - William seems to have his father’s sense of duty mixed with his mother’s emotional intelligence, the combination he needs to be a popular, successful 21st century king - 20th November
  • It’s not just cricket - The battle for the Ashes between Australia and England is more than a highlight of the sporting calendar. It fosters a unique bond between two countries at opposite ends of the globe - 13th November
  • Outside Edge: Austerity is absent in Wayne’s world - Rooney’s behaviour is characteristic of the self-obsessed sport he plays - 23rd October
  • Is the Royal Navy really necessary? - Britain is suffering from ‘sea-blindness’ and with the results of a spending review imminent, Matthew Engel sets sail on HMS Kent to find out whether the ‘silent service’ is still relevant - 16th October
  • David’s little brother roughs up Goliath - As the exchanges over child benefit went on in prime minister’s questions, it became clear that David Cameron had no defence - 16th October
  • Nothing left to say ... it’s a rap - There was very little that David Cameron couldn’t have said – or didn’t say – before he came to office in May - 6th October
  • Tory impresarios add variety to conference - The traditional ear-candy, the policy goodies designed to attract the headlines, were more like baddies: but this crowd were all for thumping welfare spongers and even applauded the loss of middle-class child benefit - 5th October
  • Ryder Cup runneth over for soaked fans - By mid-morning on the opening day of the tournament, the bunkers were like beaches engulfed by the incoming tide and the temporary pavilions resembled Noah’s Ark - 2nd October
  • Outside Edge: In praise of provincial pravdas - Matthew Engel on council newspapers - 2nd October
  • Balls keeps knife hidden in Ed-to-Ed battle - Ed Balls, as shadow education secretary, making the main conference speech, has been voluble and effective on this subject since the election but his approach on Wednesday was a touch perfunctory - 30th September
  • St Vincent sends followers home in raptures - The business secretary, who made the big speech of the Lib Dems’ final day, was authoritative, humorous and stylish and the standing ovations he got were several nanoseconds more spontaneous than those awarded to his leader - 23rd September
  • Fidgety first act waits for drama to unfold - Sometime between now and the next election the suppressed tensions within the Lib Dems are bound to explode, complete with loud noises and flashing lights - 19th September
  • Nick says it with flowers to one true love - He came to the podium like a husband under suspicion, bearing roses and choccies. The suspicion is Nick Clegg loves the other party more than the one he married - 20th September
  • Criminalisation of Asian gambling is totally futile - Cricketers‘ careers are insecure, especially so in Pakistan, where cricket was a tumultuous sport even before the entire country became benighted by terrorism - 4th September
  • Britain buys a one-way ticket to second-class politics - It is a nonsense for MPs to travel regularly in conditions that inhibit their ability to do their job - 28th August
  • Dispatch from the Midnight Moo - Matthew Engel joins a charity walk on the streets of Milton Keynes to see how Britain’s fundraising landscape is changing - 14th August
  • Dispatch from Soho - At the 36th annual Soho Festival, Matthew Engel finds that the area is not what it was: it is losing its characters and the old shops are gone, ravaged by rising rents - 31st July
  • Dispatch: Learning ‘Globish’ - If English is now the language of the planet, Brighton – where thousands of students come to learn it – might be the new centre of the universe - 17th July
  • A gent serves up a classic event - Rafael Nadal of Spain was simply too good for his unexpected opponent, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, in the men’s Wimbledon final, and he barely got out of second gear all afternoon - 10th July
  • Dispatch from ‘Legenderry’ - Perpetually neglected by the authorities, Ulster’s second city is reinventing itself as a tourist destination and would-be cultural Mecca - 3rd July
  • Weary modern warrior rests his racket - John Isner’s incredibly long, painful, record-smashing victory at Wimbledon was followed by a defeat that was extremely short – and even more painful - 26th June
  • Smug Osborne deals whacks with cuddles - In his Budget, the chancellor conveyed the total certainty associated with people who are either hearing the voice of the deity or have no idea what they are talking about - 22nd June
  • Dispatch from Waterloo - The British may have won the 19th-century battle, but at the reconstitution of the event, it is Napoleon that wins the memorialisation - 19th June
  • Hell is other people’s vuvuzelas - Plastic trumpet is World Cup’s main talking point - 19th June
  • Roll up for the Shadow-box and Hattie show - A new prime minister’s first Question Time. The Commons was packed, partly because there are so many new MPs who have not yet got blasé about the rituals, and partly because there is still a funny mood around - 5th June
  • Ritual sets shape of things to come - Her Majesty seemed more spirited in her delivery than she was in November, when she was obliged to read out Gordon Brown’s final shopping list. It must be the thrill of a new government, since the speech was one heck of a mishmash - 29th May
  • Osborne shows the cut of his jib - The Treasury is in Great George Street, a name it had, surprisingly, even before the present chancellor took office. There is no record of it ever being named after Great Alistair, Great Gordon or Great Ken - 29th May
  • Outside Edge: Yorkshire mafiosi don’t do omerta - Britain’s coalition cabinet is dominated by ministers from the north - 22nd May
  • Love in the sunshine, but can it last? - Something like one British marriage in eight ends in divorce before five years are up. And in most of those cases the couple at least like each other a bit a week before the wedding. They throw the crockery later - 15th May
  • Hollywood moment spoiled by noises off - Gordon Brown is a man who has spent the last 13 years refusing to resign from anything. Then he resigned for the second time in two days - 12th May
  • With a vicious sting, Gordon Brown buzzed off - There was only one way the PM could ever recapture public attention in current circumstances: by falling on his sword. And that he did, but he committed suicide the way a bee does, with one, final vicious sting - 10th May
  • Seaside small talk caps a wet weekend - East coast in early May always a brave choice but an appropriate note on which to finish Brown’s premiership - 4th May
  • A lament for the loss of electoral rituals - British voters need to understand that whatever form of proportional representation is adopted will transform the country’s politics, not necessarily for the better - 2nd May
  • Last of the old knights of the shires - Not everyone in the local Conservative association was thrilled when Sir Peter Tapsell, aged 80, said he wanted another term in Louth and Horncastle - 1st May
  • Voters keep the Tories waiting at the altar - UK elections are taking on a more American feel - 24th April
  • Cameron takes up flag on St George’s Day - With less than a fortnight to go, a leader in difficulties might have headed from the debate to some vital Midlands marginals, but David Cameron went celebrate St George’s Day in the City of London - 24th April
  • Tory seat the Lib Dems have to win - As the lines of battle shift, so does the terrain. A week ago, the Liberal Democrats were hoping to hold on to what they have. Now they want fresh gains - 19th April
  • Dispatch from Stroud - The political details of a British election are well enough known but the organisational ones are almost a sacred mystery - 10th April
  • Knight’s sad tale amid nasty finale - There is a point to the House of Commons: holding the government to account. Perhaps the next parliament will remember that more often - 7th April
  • Outside Edge: Sadly Ceefax is no longer sacred - Britain’s TV signal is going digital, and the teletext service will be gone forever - 10th April
  • An Etonian kind of coup - Call me old-fashioned, but it seems to me bad form for the leader of the opposition to usurp the prime minister’s prerogative and step on his moment - 6th April
  • Politics and the people - Gearing up to cover his eighth British poll, Matthew Engel explains why he adores the razzmatazz, the rosettes and the forced engagement between politicians and the public - 3rd April
  • Outside Edge: Time for a change - Britain needs more than extra evening daylight - 3rd April
  • Dispatch from Devon - For years, scientists and honey farmers have been worrying as bees vanish from their hives in the hundreds of thousands - 27th March
  • Era of the Blairite now officially over - Forty-four days from now the New Labour era that has defined Britain’s past 13 years will likely draw to a close. But maybe now we can already officially proclaim that the mini-era of Blairism and the Blairites is over - 27th March
  • Storyline takes unexpected turn at Cheltenham - Horse racing, which has spent decades talking largely to itself, has suddenly become aware that its position as Britain’s prime betting medium is under threat - 20th March
  • Dispatch from Bradford - Matthew Engel attends a Yorkshire brass band competition, where the Hammonds Saltaire – heirs to a great tradition – aim to secure their return to the Championship - 13th March
  • Dropping the pennies - Matthew Engel considers some different responses to the copper-coin problem - 13th March
  • Charisma can only go so far for Cameron - Politics is about beef as well as beefcake - 10th March
  • Dispatch from Sydney - The Sydney of the imagination, of the harbourside and ferries, is not the reality for the vast majority of its inhabitants, who live in distant inland suburbs - 27th February
  • Dispatch from Liverpool - Matthew Engel visits the city’s ‘Welsh Streets’ and laments the folly of a housing renewal in which vibrant communities were razed and their inhabitants scattered - 13th February
  • Dispatch from Northampton - Standing on old farmland in the market town of his youth, Matthew Engel feels the chill of alienation amid housing blocks that would not look out of place in Pyongyang - 1st February
  • Dispatch from Coventry - At the UK Open, the first and richest tournament of the British Scrabble year, Matthew Engel discovers that knowing the meaning of a word is not the point - 23rd January
  • Dispatch from Fish Island - A weird little enclave has somehow escaped the wrecking ball of the ongoing construction project for the 2012 Olympics - 2nd January
  • Outside Edge: An era that sets records in absurdity - on the evolution of the Guinness Book of Records - 2nd January

Articles: 2009

  • Dispatch from Bosworth Field (or thereabouts) - Archaeologists have made dramatic findings that alter the location of the Battle of Bosworth, where Henry Tudor defeated Richard III - 5th December
  • Dispatch from Sheringham - Tesco has been trying to open a supermarket in this little seaside town, but some of its residents are continuing to bar the door - 21st November
  • Outside Edge: A woman’s fight to air her dirty laundry - Matthew Engel discovers that washing can be a ‘hanging’ offence - 21st November
  • Dispatch from Drachten - An institute in the Dutch town claims that cars, pedestrians and cyclists can co-exist safely without traffic lights and with a minimum of rules - 7th November
  • Dispatch from Barrow - Matthew Engel visits England’s most distinctive industrial town and explores how its submarine shipyard has dominated the lives of its residents - 24th October
  • Outside Edge: The lost romance of the round - It seems rather enticing: the fresh morning air on the streets, the sense of freedom, the cheery greetings from the housewives in their nighties. The reality is somewhat different - 17th October
  • Dispatch from Llangattock - Matthew Engel visits the Welsh countryside and discovers that there is nothing quite so inaccessible and impenetrably rural as a ploughing competition - 10th October
  • Outside Edge: To woo a princess takes some Gaul - English males have long suspected that any Frenchman, no matter how old, ugly, dull or ridiculous, is capable of bowling over any Englishwoman. Could this novel prove it - 26th September
  • Delight, not hysteria, in Ashes victory - As the shadows lengthened over The Oval on Sunday, England sealed their triumph in the latest re-enactment of the never-ending joust for sport’s most myth-encrusted trophy - 23rd August
  • Man in the News: Freddie Flintoff - The people’s cricketer: spectators revel in the England all-rounder who is playing in his final Test - 22nd August
  • Appalling England need an Ashes miracle - If, or more likely now, when Australia retain the Ashes, this will have been the crucial day – in four hours of bizarre cricket, Australia took total command of the Leeds Test - 8th August
  • Why it’s time to end the war on drugs - In spite of efforts at law enforcement, illegal drug use is as widespread as ever - 1st July
  • On the seventh day, even non-believers need to rest - The sabbath is too important to be left to the religious. Those opposed to the new Sunday ferry service to the Isle of Lewis included business owners and irreligious incomers - 1st August
  • Britain’s ‘new politics’ is nothing of the sort - The electorate is apathetic - 28th July
  • Misty-eyed hope yields to Watson’s missed putt - Tom Watson, weeks short of his 60th birthday, played better golf at the Open Championship than the men half his age, but within a single putt of victory he fluffed it - 21st July
  • England again the bridesmaids - In keeping with one of the strangest traditions of Test cricket in these latitudes, a substantial proportion of the crowd arrived in Cardiff on Friday wearing fancy dress - 11th July
  • Bruising encounters of the Cardiff kind - On the second afternoon of the first Ashes Test in Cardiff, there was an hour of magnificent individual confrontation: cricket as blood sport - 10th July
  • Opening Test jabs expose flaws on both sides - Now that heavyweight boxing is a shadow of its old self, no sporting event on earth can match an Ashes Test series when it comes to the amount of hype, obfuscation, black propaganda and sheer tosh issued beforehand - 9th July
  • Williams duo’s victories provoke global groans - The ladies’ singles title at Wimbledon will remain part of the Williams family fiefdom for the eighth year out of 10 this millennium: the champion Venus will play her sister Serena in Saturday’s final - 3rd July
  • Rain raises spectators’ spirits - On the seventh day it finally rained, just a little. It was the moment everyone at Wimbledon had been waiting for. And when the ground staff rushed on with the covers, they were greeted not with customary groans but with delight - 30th June
  • On Roads - This history of British motorways and how they are used provides both quirky nonsense and an accurate chronicle of changing attitudes - 30th June
  • Sun disappoints Wimbledon roof watchers - Simply everyone wanted to be present when the historic moment comes and the new roof glides into action. But the the sun has yet again refused to stop shining - 27th June
  • Twenty20 triumphs on longest day - Pakistan, a nation that never seems to deliver good news, earned the right to a raucously united celebration for the first time in 17 years – the national cricket team won the Twenty20, beating Sri Lanka - 22nd June
  • Dispatch from Morecambe Bay - On a ride from Kents Bank to Arnside with the Queen’s Guide to the sands, there is no stretch of coastline in England that is quite as enticing - 20th June
  • Dispatch from Stow-on-the-Wold - Gypsies and travellers have converged at the Stow Fair to show off their horses since 1476 - 6th June
  • Outside Edge: Bless me father, for I need therapy - The Vatican is worried that worshippers are treating confession like the psychiatrist’s couch. So what, to the lonely and lost, religion can offer great solace and hope - 6th June
  • A Faustian pact that backfired spectacularly - Labour has failed - 26th May
  • Dispatch from Hay-on-Wye - As the Hay Festival moves into full swing, Matthew Engel explores the tiny Welsh border town and the history behind the 30 local bookshops that made it world-famous - 23rd May
  • Speaker gives best speech of his career - On Monday, when he made his stumbling, pathetic attempt at defiance, he looked broken. On Tuesday, finally, Michael Martin did something right - 20th May
  • How second-rate politicians brought Westminster low - What has been truly shocking about the MPs’ expenses row has been the littleness of it all. This is the scandal at the heart of British politics - 16th May
  • Dispatch from Buckinghamshire - Grammar schools have gone over in most of England, but the education authority in Buckinghamshire was able to keep its old network intact - 9th May
  • Outside Edge: Why urban fantasies leave les rosbifs cold - Sarkozy’s ambitious plans for Paris could never be replicated for London - 2nd May
  • Dispatch from Ewyas Harold - The closure rate of Britain’s pubs – those universally recognised emblems of rural life – has increased from a trot to a gallop: close to 50 a week - 25th April
  • PubCos v publicans: an industry crisis debated - Enterprise Inns is facing open revolt against several publicans. But Enterprise says the rebels are malcontents and most of its tenants are happy and successful - 25th April
  • Dispatch from the Severn - Matthew Engel watches surfers ride the river’s fickle and mysterious tidal bore, which on some days can be the world’s second biggest - 11th April
  • Dispatch from the Rhondda - It has been 19 years since a single lump was mined in this famous Welsh valley, but the place still conjures up instantly the pride and price of coal - 28th March
  • Reality TV as a matter of life and death - Inside seven years Jade Goody became successively famous, infamous and then – through her final illness – a kind of national heroine – all this was achieved through the power of reality television - 23rd March
  • Dispatch from the Irish border - Crossmaglen, the most distressed town during the ‘Troubles’, is doing its utmost to remove any discernible British presence - 14th March
  • Dispatch from Liechtenstein - The microstate, which has thrived on being unnoticed, is now under fire for bank laws that are light on tax and heavy on secrecy - 28th February
  • Cricket on ice in St Moritz - In honour of a unique tradition, Matthew Engel braves one of the Swiss municipality’s whitest winters for a sporting event on unpromising terrain - 21st February
  • Poor judgment exposed - Sir Allen Stanford's involvement with Twenty20 cricket was seen as vital in a power-play within the sport - 18th February
  • Dispatch from Summerhill - It's good to know that 88 years after its foundation, the school where no child has to go to lessons or be ordered about by adults is still around - 14th February
  • Sorry tale from four men in denial - at the Commons Select Commitee hearings - 11th February
  • Dispatch from Colindale - The relocation of the British Library’s newspaper archives – and its 28 miles of shelving – is not necessarily a sign of progress - 31st January
  • Dispatch from New Malden - The bland suburb has turned into Koreatown due to an influx of migrants, but they arrived so quietly that it took years for people to notice - 17th January
  • Dispatch from Birmingham - The decline of home cooking and the rise of the supermarket has largely wiped out the wholesale fruit and veg markets’ chief customer, the small retail greengrocer - 10th January
  • Outside Edge: How our pubs have run out of puff - smoking bans are having bizarre consequences across the world - 3rd January

Articles: 2008

  • Dispatch from Cornwall - The revival being enjoyed by the English county’s near-extinct language reflects its residents’ growing aspirations to nationhood - 13th December 2008
  • Parliament metaphorically falls to bits - The Commons gave a formal first reading to the outlawries bill, as it always does. This tradition dates back to 1588. This bill has no content and no obvious purpose. Sets the tone for the year then - 4th December 2008
  • Dispatch from Spurn - This obscure peninsula in northern Britain is neither picture-postcard nor chocolate-box, but there is something awe-inspiring about its strangeness and vulnerability - 29th November 2008
  • Dispatch on a train from Chicago - The eccentric few who travel long distances by rail instead of flying are in for an uplifting, congenial journey - 15th November 2008
  • Dispatch from Edgar Springs - As the election approaches, people have been talking about what middle America thinks. Matthew Engel visits the country’s population centre and discovers what concerns the people of this small city in Missouri - 31st October 2008
  • Iron-town Democrats face a test of fire - Drive north from Minneapolis listening to Minnesota Public Radio, and you eventually find that its earnest pieties start getting a little crackly - 21st October 2008
  • Dispatch from Hull fair - In spite of modernisation fairs across Europe provide a link with the remote past, sometimes with an almost unimaginable antiquity - 18th October 2008
  • This was not his finest hour - David Cameron’s was a dog of a speech or. It was obviously reworked and rewritten over and over with each twist and turn in the crisis, presumably by many hands - 1st October 2008
  • Like a tethered balloon, going nowhere - Outside the Lib Dem conference centre, there's a park attraction that briefly goes up to give occupants heady but wobbly views of distant shores, then gently comes down again - 20th September 2008
  • Legacy looms as Bird’s Nest empties - What does a country actually gain from investing billions in staging the Olympic Games, apart from a brief shot at showing of - 23rd August 2008
  • Fool’s gold consoles unloved America - The biggest US sports are primarily domestic. Neither their athletes nor spectators are well-prepared for the Olympics - 23rd August 2008
  • Olympic spirit in out-of-date shorts - on the delights of sporting amateurism - 16th August 2008
  • Dispatch from the Dordogne - The village cricketers were playing on in the steady drizzle, and the tea urn was starting to boil in the pavilion. This couldn’t be anywhere except England on a summer’s afternoon, could it? - 2nd August 2008
  • Dispatch from the Isle of Lewis - On the northernmost of the Outer Hebrides, the last repository of stern Presbyterianism in Britain, the question of how one enjoys Sundays is the most enduring and explosive issue - 5th July 2008
  • Dipatch from Unst - The seasonal extremes of light and dark on the northernmost tip of Britain give life here a nourishing, unquenchable quality that ought to be celebrated - 21st June 2008
  • Playing Trumps in'Scudland' - New York property developer fronts up to locals in an effort to build ‘the greatest golf course anywhere in the world’ on Aberdeen’s Menie estate – soon to be renamed Donald J Trumpton - 10th June 2008
  • Dispatch from Bradford, Yorkshire - The man in the dock was wearing a tie, but it was obviously unfamiliar and uncomfortable, which somewhat ruined the intended effect - 7th June 2008
  • Dispatch from Lewes, East Sussex - English towns are full of plaques, statues and memorials to bygone notables. No one usually takes much notice except the pigeons and seagulls, who find the statues useful - 24th May 2008
  • Outside Edge: Aliens get Vatican blessing - In the great historical sweep of things, we can safely say that the big news item this week was the announcement by Father - 16th May 2008
  • Dispatch from Longtown, Cumbria - The last time I met John Fisher he was under house arrest, which is not a normal situation for a livestock farmer in the Scottish borders - 10th May 2008
  • Mass desertion - St Joseph’s church is a stark, yellowish 1960s building, reminiscent of a modern American church in its air of entitlement, but now desperately in need of a lick of less sickly looking paint. It stands in the little Irish town of Ballyjamesduff - 19th April 2008
  • Funny old names - A couple of the London newspapers carried obituaries a few weeks ago of a woman called Molly Matthews, who spent much of her life fulfilling a busy but limited schedule as the wife of a housemaster at the English public school Haileybury - 12th April 2008
  • Long divisions - The hillside church is rather more imposing than a small village would demand, but otherwise it is nothing special - 5th April 2008
  • Opposition’s attractions - A new work by the guerrilla artist Banksy has appeared on the wall of a chemist’s shop in north London. It depicts two children – hands-on-hearts, American-style – pledging allegiance to a potential new British flag: a fluttering Tesco plastic shopping bag - 28th March 2008
  • The irreverent reverend - It being Easter, let’s forget the troubles of the world and give ourselves a treat. Well, give me a treat, anyway. I want to tell you about my hero - 22nd March 2008
  • That was the year that was - The diary is full of 40th anniversaries, and the air is thick with echoes. It is not just the accident of the calendar that’s bringing back memories, but also an American election with a theatricality that hasn’t been seen in all the years since - 14th March 2008
  • The not so straight and narrow - “It’s very corrupt there, you know,” this friend just back from Sri Lanka was saying down the phone. “But Sri Lanka is the 94th most honest country in the world,” I protested - 8th March 2008
  • Dark, and very bitter - It is now possible – a mere 205 years after the original proposal for a Channel Tunnel – to travel overland from London to a foreign capital, i.e. Brussels, in less than two hours. But Belgium no longer feels like just another country, it feels increasingly like another planet - 23rd February 2008
  • A house built on sand - The most pathetic feature of the European Parliament is perhaps the one that hits you first - 16th February 2008
  • How do I vow to thee, my country? - Those of us riveted by the minutiae of transatlantic cultural distinctions can get very animated when it comes to patriotic symbolism. And there is nothing that sums up the differences quite so much as the anthems - 9th February 2008
  • Broth wrath - In heaven there will be soup, or I will seek admission elsewhere. My grandmother’s lokshen; Mediterranean fish soup with aioli, or a bouillabaisse perhaps; gazpacho for heavenly summer afternoons; pumpkin or pasta e fagioli; celeriac or callalloo - 2nd February 2008
  • All Engels covered - I was about 19 before I met anyone with the surname Engel to whom I was not directly and obviously related - 26th January 2008
  • Outside Edge: Paxman, pants and the retail problem - So what has been getting everyone excited this week? In the US it has been collapsing markets and a bit of politics. In France it has been the €4.9bn banking fraud at Société Générale and the sexual braggartism of their hey-look-at-me-fellas president. In Britain it has been underpants. Truly - 25th January 2008
  • That’s nailed it - I may have mentioned Engel’s First Law of Politics, which says that after eight years in power, all governments go mad. As it groans towards its 11th birthday, the British Labour government continues to provide proof of the law’s infallibility - 18th January 2008
  • A uniquely combustible combination - As world cricket lurched towards yet another of its periodic crises, there seemed to be only two plausible outcomes - 7th January 2008

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