Tag: europe

Why we need parliaments

Yesterday, Canada’s Parliament was attacked by an armed man. Twenty years ago, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Toronto. The following speech was read on his behalf at the award ceremony and has just been… Read More

Art across borders

Migranland It is in the nature of artistic work to reach beyond the boundaries of language, culture and context. You don’t need to know anything about Japan in the Edo era to be captivated by the prints of Hokusai or Kuniyoshi. You… Read More

Human diversity is

I have seen the future, brother, it is murder. Leonard Cohen, The Future, (1993) From the street corner where Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie – precipitating not only the First World War but a calamitous century –… Read More

On the value of not putting things into words

It’s uncomfortable for a writer to admit, but sometimes words fail us. They seem to have done so both before and since the 2014 European Parliamentary elections – or perhaps it’s we who have failed our words. Words, like hands, can be… Read More

In search of gravitas

Gravitas, the heavy tread of moral earnestness, becomes a bore if it is not accompanied by the light step of intelligence.   (Kenneth Clark, Civilisation, Ch. 4) In 1969, the same year that a NASA programme named after a Classical Greek god put… Read More

The Budapest Observatory

  There’s has been a great increase in cultural policy data, research and commentary in recent years, reflecting culture’s greater importance in the postmodern world, and facilitated by the ease of modern communications. Twenty years ago, fact checking (to say nothing of library research) was slow… Read More

Cui bloody bono?

The speech of women There is a paradox, acknowledged by the speaker herself, in a woman giving a lecture about how the female voice has been excluded from public discourse since the origins of Western culture. Mary Beard’s lecture, given at the… Read More

Well-worn touchstones

As you approach the Acropolis Museum in Athens you see the Parthenon’s reflection floating in the dark glass wall of its topmost level. It’s an optical trick worthy of the ancient temple builders themselves, bringing the most celebrated monument of European culture… Read More

A small boat on a dark sea

Text of a talk for the Greek EU Presidency conference, “Heritage First! Towards a common approach for a sustainable Europe” • ‘Two gross of broken statues’ In August this year, Europeans will mark the centenary of the start of the First World War,… Read More

Friendly Interest

For much of the British media, 2014 began with a panic about the opening of the UK’s borders to people from Romania and Bulgaria. It remains to be seen whether more of them will come here than the  Britons who have used… Read More