Identity

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The Opium is our Children

First published in INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine in November/December 2013. If a Roman senator’s opium was his public life, a Viking’s was battle. Our ancestors have been addicted to honour, craved virtue and wealth, been hooked on conquest, on adventure, and on God. But ours is the first civilisation to find its deepest fulfilment in its descendants. Our […]

Cumbria pic

british rural identity

I stood, on Sunday, with a friend, looking at his fields, which slope down, from the fellside to the water. The river was in spate, and silver lakes had formed in the meadows. He had got up early, to save his Swaledales from drowning. But where was he to put them? His drier fields, to […]

CUMBRIA FREE AND FAIR

FILM DIRECTOR SHOWS ADVENTURE IS NOT JUST FOR FILMS

Article first published in The Financial Times on 30 March 2012. When Hollywood film director James Cameron surfaced this week from the deepest place on earth, he was admired for his scientific achievement. We were told about his experience as a diver and the unique data collected on his expedition; about how his latest 3D […]

On the road

On Restoring National Confidence

The Financial Times yesterday suggested that the recent success of Asian economies could be the result of a young population, and as average age rose, growth would fall. Behind this, and a hundred similar theories, is the belief that a nation’s future is determined by statistics. We peer at the world through a cage of bar-charts – on productivity, literacy, […]

rory_youngcumbria

the first world war

When I came back to London this week I found, in my cupboard, four jackets, each with a poppy in their lapel. On the day of the Penrith Remembrance service, the international football association banned the English football team from wearing poppies, on the grounds that they were ‘a nationalist symbol’. They are not. They […]

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the challenges of logic and emotion

How difficult it is to defend the things which we value and take for granted in Britain and the constitution. When I stop colleagues in the long carpeted corridors that seem to define the House of Commons and ask for their support – for the Union with Scotland, or the House of Lords, or upland […]

Martini

my favourite painting

Country Life have, this week, published a brief description of my favourite Painting – The Annunciation with St. Margaret and St. Asano by Simone Martini. Martini portrays the resistance of the Virgin, the angel Gabriel moves towards her like a hawk, his damask plaid alive like a third wing behind him. I remember a sheet of flat […]

Penrith Castle

on history

In Wigton last Tuesday I learnt that it is about to celebrate its 750th anniversary as a market town. I am really looking forward to it but I have to confess I find Wigton in 1262 a place foreign in almost every conceivable way. In 1262 most of the people spoke a dialect heavily influenced […]