The best medicine by Trevor Plumbly

It might be an age thing, but I reckon it’s getting a bit harder to laugh things off these days. Politicians used to be OK for a bit of a giggle, but now, despite their comic instability, there’s something scary about them. There’s little point adding to, or rehashing, any of the ridicule that’s been heaped on Trump and Johnson; it might provide us with a bit of spiteful comfort, but that’s about it. Once elected, they become satire-proof. Until quite recently, political leaders led by example; these days, it seems, integrity… Read More

Prorogation: a word for our times by Angela Caldin

There’s a kind of hush over our house now and we are no longer drawn to watching the news at all hours. This is because on Monday 9 September, our prime minister prorogued parliament. This means he’s shut it down so that for the next few weeks we’ll be spared the sight of Boris Johnson making sexist remarks from the despatch box, of Jacob Rees-Mogg lounging arrogantly on the front bench and of the House of Commons flailing around in the mess that is Brexit. Prorogation is a new word for a… Read More

Get it together and get it right by Susan Grimsdell

Sometimes I think different parts of the NZ government live on different planets. One part is always warning of the risk to the economy of New Zealanders’ high level of indebtedness. We’re told we’re deeper in debt than almost anyone else in the world: Fitch Ratings (whoever that is) reports that this country has one of the world’s highest household debt levels, at 93% of GDP. Save or spend? By the same token, we’ve also been told time and again that we need to save more. Consumer advocates urge us not to… Read More

Head versus heart by Susan Grimsdell

I came across a sentence today that really stuck in my mind:  “We are not rational beings”.  This worried me, because surely what we need above all else is to use our brains, not our emotions, to solve our many and varied problems. We all know that emotions are the things that get us into trouble, whether it’s falling in love with the wrong person or getting angry at the wrong time with, again, the wrong person, not to speak of making decisions based on what makes us feel good instead of… Read More

Confusion – the mess we’re in by Angela Caldin

There is confusion worse than death, Trouble on trouble, pain on pain. This quotation from The Lotos-Eaters by Alfred Lord Tennyson sprang to mind as we started here in the UK on the new prime minister’s first week in power. He’d already promised that we would leave the EU on 31 October come what may, do or die, but he’d also assured us that the chances of leaving without a deal were a million to one. Impasse Then on Monday, Michael Gove, the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who has… Read More