Ah yes, thank you, we know 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU, compared to 16 million who voted to remain. Sorry that you feel betrayed.

We also know that 45.8 million people were eligible to vote in 2016, so we have no idea what the other 12.4 million who didn’t vote think. Nor what the 1.4 million 18 year olds who were too young to vote last time think. Perhaps we’re about to find out.

What we do know is that the 20 million youngsters under the age of 18 will bear the brunt of the decision of the 17.4 million. What the future has in store, we do not know. Perhaps it will be good for them, perhaps it will be bad. Only time will tell.

Will 46.6 million people ultimately feel betrayed by leave means leave, or will we all have arrived at the promised land, sipping milk and honey, rejoicing in our freedom and sovereignty, having won our hard-fought independence from our colonial masters is Brussels?

Who knows. Time will surely tell.


Pattern of life

In every generation it is the same. The young zealot looks on at his elder in disdain, condemning him for his moderation and nuance. Years pass by, and the young zealot morphs into the mellow elder, castigating his younger self for its immature reckonings on matters of life and death. Ah, but now today’s young zealot looks on at this elder in disdain, condemning him for his moderation and nuance. And years will pass by, and this young zealot too will morph into the mellow elder, to be condemned by the next generation. On and on it goes. It is the pattern of life. No young zealot will ever listen to this warning. They must wait until their time.

Will you leave all of this behind?

On this day, twenty-one years ago, after a Bank Holiday weekend spent in contemplation, I ventured out on foot from my flat opposite King’s Cross station to wander the streets of London, through Bloomsbury and Holborn, and on into the West End. As I passed through Covent Garden, winding between the last of the weekend’s revellers making their way to its clubs and bars, this question occurred to me: “Will you leave all of this behind?” Continue reading “Will you leave all of this behind?”


While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” — Gospel of Luke 20:45-7


“O you who have believed, indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert [them] from the way of God . And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of God — give them tidings of a painful punishment.” — Quran 9:34

Dear demagogue

I get it: these are difficult times. The celebrity sheikhs whose knowledge we respect behave like common buffoons, while any semblance of good behaviour, manners or humility is relegated to the common man, working in secular spaces. It’s true. There’s a mufti whose learning I greatly respect, whose insight I admire, who speaks the truth regardless of sectarian demands, but the vulgarity of his speech and his twisted sense of humour often repulse me. There’s a scholar, too, whose great learning could be a piercing light for these times, but through his infantile argumentation with his combative opponents, he has turned me away from him completely. Alas, untamed pride is a terrible disease amongst these men of profound knowledge. Continue reading “Dear demagogue”

Find a hobby

I do not know what the scholarly types — so exercised on social media this week — are wittering on about this time, and nor do I care. I’m past being bamboozled by the apparition of intellectualism. I’m convinced that the sacred knowledge industry is the source of half our woes. Between the proliferation of teachers and rejectors, is there no place for the ordinary believer, just getting on with life, attending to the needs of their family and profession? I think most of us just need a hobby. Scholarly types included.