June 2006 Edit

  • 28 Theo Walcott is, without doubt, one of the brightest young talents in English football. His electrifying pace, dazzling skills and, above all, unparalleled potential have set training grounds buzzing.
  • 21 The American poet Robert Frost is perhaps best known for The road less traveled, a poem about someone who stands where ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood’ and ponders which to take.
  • 14 Teenagers have a way of making advice sound moronic. Tell them to remember to take their lunch, bus fare, sick note or whatever to school and they’ll reply, ‘well, durrr’ in that tone of voice reserved for imbeciles, before exiting the house leaving it behind.
  • 7 Interculturalism is a word that sounds as if it was dreamt up by a bureaucrat. It¹s ugly and unwieldy. But it tells us something vitally important.

May 2006 Edit

  • 31 Poverty proofing. Never mind the aspiration, just look at the words and it’s easy to see why the UK government is keen to import it from Ireland.
  • 24 A couple of months ago I sat in on a conversation between a Christian and a Muslim, facilitated by an atheist. The discussion dealt with issues like justice, reconciliation and forgiveness.
  • 17 Nearly, as any sports fan will tell you, is never good enough. The fact that West Ham nearly won the FA Cup on Saturday may have led to record tallies of commiserations, but it’s no substitute for winning.
  • 10 While the walls of his empire crumble, while scandal sniggers in the tabloids, while unmasked enemies convene in broad daylight, prime minister Tony Blair performs that age-old yet graceless dance known as the cabinet shuffle.
  • 3 Ken Livingstone, it was revealed this week, hasn’t flushed his toilet after urinating for the last 15 months.

April 2006 Edit

  • 26 Gordon Brown must feel he’s on a hiding to nothing. Not only is the premiership tantalisingly beyond arm’s reach, but his holy grail - the elimination of child poverty - is proving ever more elusive.
  • 19 A colleague of mine has taken to describing lavish helpings of chocolate cake as ‘an apple’. Suddenly you can tick all the healthy eating boxes and indulge yourself shamelessly.
  • 5 If you’re reading this in London or Edinburgh, congratulations. You are an official member of an ideopolis. If you’re in Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle or Glasgow, don’t despair: you’re well on your way.

March 2006 Edit

  • 22 This is Groundhog Day. You may have seen it before. Whichever way you look at it, it looks like yesterday or the day before, or the day, week or year before that.
  • 15 This week’s heartwarming story comes from Leeds, where fans of indie band Four Day Hombre have bought shares in a record label to get their first album out on the streets.
  • 8 What goes around really does come around. Twenty-five years after Michael Heseltine became minister for Merseyside, he’s back again advising the Tories about inner-city policy. As an admission of a party’s failure, that’s breathtaking.
  • 1 So there is to be a cabinet minister for social exclusion. Hang out the bunting. Prepare the street parties. Let the disadvantaged celebrate with a display of choreographed forelock-tugging.

February 2006 Edit

  • 22 If ministers are looking for some new ideas to galvanise their urban policies, let’s hope they didn’t pop into Selfridges this week.
  • 15 Buildings, both the elegant and inspiring ones and the ugly ones, impose their presence on a community. Line the Thames with discount warehouse sheds and you’ll facilitate a discount warehouse mentality.
  • 8 Back in the misty past when she was minister responsible for regeneration, Hilary Armstrong used to have a catchphrase: ‘What matters is what works.’ We haven’t heard it much lately.

January 2006 Edit

  • 25 There’s a neat little equation that pundits and politicians are apt to quote.
  • 18 When I was young and innocent and in my first job on a local paper, I was sent to a village meeting where residents engaged in intense and passionate debate about the impact of gravel extraction on the local community.
  • 11 There are those who believe marketing can change the world. Tony Blair, to judge by the efforts that have gone into selling the ‘respect’ agenda this week, is one of the converts.
  • 4 When I was stalled halfway up a hill in deepest Kent and preparing to fail my driving test yet again, my instructor came out with his familiar homily: ‘Give her the power to do the job’.

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