Union Jack Trunks

A warm welcome to the Anglosphere’s recent recruits (and a fond farewell to the turncoats)

6 March 2015 17:35

There was an interesting survey by Chatham House a few weeks back; asked which countries they had good feelings about,…

(Image: Hulton Archive)

‘Community leader’, ‘call out’, ‘dreamer: The worst words and phrases in the English language

31 October 2014 12:54

In this week’s magazine Rod Liddle has a piece on the worst ‘clichés, lies, evasions, obfuscations, PC euphemisms and disingenuous…


Fatuous phrase of the week

14 October 2014 9:20

Every day, without fail, some celebrity or public figure will be quoted spouting a meaningless or disingenuous off-the-cuff cliché, to…


Spastics, cretins and the political correctness of the right

23 June 2014 16:25

Ruth Richards, head of communications at Mind, has written a response to my criticism of the pointlessness of politically correct…

Mark Bonney, Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral, holds the cathedral's copy of Magna Carta. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

‘Britishness’ debate: can you do Magna Carta without also doing God?

17 June 2014 16:02

Was anyone terribly surprised by the Social Attitudes Survey published today suggesting that most people thought that, in order to…

The great civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois knew that 'the name' is not the thing that counts, it is 'the Thing' that counts. (Image: Getty)

The cheating language of equality

10 June 2014 12:52

If you write about the mentally ill – people who suffer a short breakdown, maybe, or long periods of crippling…

Chancellor George Osborne Visits Pharmaceutical Company Pfizer

If only Austin Mitchell had called Pfizer ‘racists’

15 May 2014 14:25

I see the veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell is in trouble for having used the word rape in a ‘deeply…

Visitors At The Hay Festival 2011

Austin Mitchell, ‘rapists’ and the death of language

14 May 2014 17:52

In further proof that the devil makes work for idle thumbs, Labour MP Austin Mitchell described Pfizer as ‘rapists’ in…

Pope Francis: Getty Images

Did the pope say ‘inequality is the root of all social evil’?

30 April 2014 10:52

The following blog from a Catholic commentator about the Pope’s controversial tweet suggesting that “inequality is the root of social…

Image: EPA/Loretta Brennan

You sexist/racist/liberal/elitist bastard! How dare you?

7 April 2014 14:49

While he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Tony Judt found the breath to educate those who believe they could…


Tony Blair’s cultural revolution has won, at least in the Conservative Party

17 January 2014 14:34

As Rod pointed out the other day, Arthur Scargill’s purchase of his council flat illustrated the triumph of Thatcherism over…

'#TeamNigella' has made our list of the ten most annoying phrases of 2013. (Image: Getty)

The 10 most annoying phrases of 2013

28 December 2013 11:00

Sifting through the heaps of discarded language and redundant memes expended in the last twelve months, it’s clear that they…

The English probably regard immigrants from Anglophone nations like Australia as a more exotic version of the Welsh. But immigrants from Tunisia are a different matter altogether.

Immigration is about culture as well as politics

18 December 2013 12:38

Must say, I felt a bit defensive when I looked at the tables of origin for immigrants to Britain for…


Why do we cringe at the term ‘third class’?

20 October 2013 16:20

Alas, it looks like the return to third class travel won’t happen. The papers had got terrifically excited about what…

David Cameron is a feminist who refuses to identify as such. Is this because 'feminism' is out of date?

Why is ‘feminism’ such a dirty word?

30 September 2013 13:47

A few years back I did one of those online debates on the Times website, the subject being why feminism…

Kenneth Tynan: he said it, but he didn't say it first. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Foresworn: Jonathan Lethem, Kenneth Tynan, and the unpredictable progress of swearing

2 September 2013 16:31

For a few days last week, it seemed that Jonathan Lethem had achieved something unique: he had become the first…

England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege/ Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,/ With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.

Is England too good for the English? Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt seems to think so

26 August 2013 9:30

From Shakespeare’s Richard II, lines spoken by John of Gaunt. This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth…

Had we but world enough and time... (PAL PILLAI/AFP/Getty Images)

To their coy mistresses: two poems about the arts of seduction

17 June 2013 11:18

Andrew Marvell, from ‘To His Coy Mistress’ But at my back I always hear Times winged chariot hurrying near: And…

Journey Of The Cross And Icon Takes Place In Sydney

Discovering poetry: John Donne, from deviant to Dean of St. Paul’s

3 June 2013 12:43

Holy Sonnet 7, John Donne At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise From death,…

Sunset In China's Countryside

Schroder – one man’s journey into night

30 April 2013 10:54

Erik Schroder is an East German who last saw his mother when he was five years old. In 1975 only…

The ‘hey nonino’ nonsense in As you Like It has certainly not aged well. But the sense of love and lovers it articulates is timeless. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

In defence of William Shakespeare’s nonsense

29 April 2013 10:43

‘It was a lover and his lass’ from As You Like It It was a lover and his lassWith a…

Charles Moore has written the 'authorized' biography of Margaret Thatcher. Is 'authorized' correct? (PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Ize Have It

25 April 2013 10:05

She divided us in life, she’s dividing us in death. Baroness Thatcher was so controversial that a single letter in…

Three Mitford sisters in the early thirties. Nancy Mitford (right) pinched 'U and non-U' pronunciation from Professor Ross, author of 'How to Pronounce It'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How To Pronounce It – U and non-U. A guide for George “innit” Osborne.

28 March 2013 11:38

Sometimes, in the joyous lotteries we call ‘secondhand bookshops’, you find a volume that takes you back to a different…

The Chancellor George Osborne Prepares To Give His Budget To Parliament

Budget Day: should our times really be called ‘the age of austerity’?

20 March 2013 8:30

It is Budget Day. Prepare for another barrage of “messages” about the virtues or perils, depending on your point of…

The word 'lurch' is thought to have nautical origins. (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/GettyImages)

Help! What is ‘lurching’?

11 March 2013 14:29

David Cameron is not for lurching. No lurch to the right, he says. The word ‘lurch’ underscores commentary on the…