Columnists

By today we should know whether Jeremy Corbyn will be replaced as the Labour leader. If the polls are right, he will return with a landslide. But regardless of who wins it is unlikely to bring to an end the civil war that is engulfing the main opposition party.

I was very rarely angry as a teacher. But one thing that got through my defences was overhearing my pupils comparing intelligences. They love to discuss who is cleverer than who, as much at university as at school. With the proposals for a revival of grammar schools, it seems the game has become a national habit.

I am finding myself increasingly baffled and, frankly, annoyed by an apparently growing tendency among European Christians to envy the restricting rules of other faiths. Surely what is particular to being a Christian is that we are free from such law: we have the unique privilege of not being obligated to give offence. Why aren’t we celebrating it? Rejoicing, praising, trumpeting it?

Glimpses of Eden Premium

22 September 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
Was this the last warm day of the year? The stubble fields below glinted in the afternoon sun, the hawthorns climbing the rise seemed to have fallen asleep.

Might two current industrial disputes, one involving junior doctors in the NHS and the other train drivers on Southern Railway, be related to the fictional prewar reminiscences of a butler in a large country house?

The physical entity of the Vatican sometimes reminds me of Gormenghast, the rambling castle gripped by iron traditions, imagined by that flawed genius Mervyn Peake. Things happen there because they have happened like that before. Two despatches from The Vatican brought details from the now changing scene.

Glimpses of Eden Premium

15 September 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
The autumn morning peace exploded into a twittering of birds. Scrambling from my desk, I rushed outside. House martins!

Can there be a more contradictory jumble of emotions than when a tyrant’s subjects learn of his demise? Many will feel relief, and perhaps jubilation, over the disappearance of their oppressor. But they may also be fearful over what happens next. Before long, some may even succumb to dictator nostalgia.

I’ve never wanted to see habited and veiled Catholic nuns more in my life. At French beaches. In droves. Religious liberty is not about any particular religion; it is about how Western secular pluralistic democracies enshrine the rights of their citizens to the free exercise of religion and, rightly, to defend others’ rights to have no religion at all.

Glimpses of Eden Premium

08 September 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
Imagine you had never seen a butterfly before. What would your first encounter be like? Would you think you were looking at a scrap of flying carpet or catching the glimpse of an angel; would you think you were dreaming?

I have long thought describing the month of August as the “silly season” of politics was itself one of the silliest political clichés in the lexicon. Did not the Great War break out on 4 August 1914?

I read with interest a story recently about a father who is attempting to sue his son’s private school for £125,000 after he achieved just one GCSE. On the surface at least, it sounds rather concerning.

The French ban on the burkini was summed up by a picture of armed policemen standing over a middle-aged woman on a beach at Nice until she took off her long-sleeved over-shirt (since she wasn’t even wearing a burkini) and revealed her bare arms.

Glimpses of Eden Premium

01 September 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
We stepped off the train into the fine, soft Manchester rain. We were still inside Piccadilly Station but the drops were seeping through the roof.

It is almost exactly 10 years ago that my wonderful builder and I started work on the derelict shepherd’s house high up a single track road over a Scottish moor that is now my home.

Since I inhabit the Westminster bubble, my local church is Westminster Cathedral in which is displayed the masked body of St John Southworth. It occasionally makes casual tourists jump a bit as they dawdle round taking selfies.

Glimpses of Eden Premium

18 August 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
I am sitting in the old coastguard tower on the cliffs rising above Northumbria’s holy island of Lindisfarne. From here you can see the whole island and its vast setting of sea and sky.

We should be worried about the survival of parliamentary democracy, our best and possibly only protection against tyranny and arbitrary government.

I have been reading this week about modern martyrs, and finding as I always do that the gospel they exemplify is the oddest and most unappealing thing.

Glimpses of Eden Premium

04 August 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
At this time of year, the verges and unmown pastures are beginning to look gloriously shaggy.

As he sacks civil servants and locks up generals, Turkey’s embattled president has made one gesture of conciliation.

I may be the only Jesuit who will tell you this, but St Ignatius Loyola, whose feast day we celebrated on 31 July, was an obsessive-compulsive neurotic nut.

There’s a strain of news coverage at the moment that is very down on the Olympic Games, for which there is much scope. In The Sunday Times, Neil Oliver, who says he hates sport, recruited God in his campaign against the Games.

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