Stephen Pollard

Review: Radamisto

By Stephen Pollard, October 14, 2010

It is hard to credit that a generation ago Handel's operas were thought to be worthy and dull - tuneful, but almost totally devoid of dramatic interest or even, for all but a specialist audience, of musical purpose.


The JC's blogs, comments and bans

By Stephen Pollard, October 8, 2010

A number of bloggers have asked in recent posts if I
could explain our policy in relation to moderation, and what – and what not –
we consider acceptable.

Let me try to give some context. We have two aims, which
are in a sense irreconcilable. The tension emerges when we try to reconcile

First, we want to encourage as many people as possible to
set up their own blogs and to use the JC’s site as a forum for debate and
discussion – in fact for whatever purpose people want.


Shadow Cabinet elections

By Stephen Pollard, October 7, 2010

I've been trying to find a bookie offering odds on today's results, but with no luck. The reason? I'm convinced that one of the top places will be won by a man whose name hasn't been mentioned at all in the predictions: Jim Murphy.
Leave aside that he is one of the most popular MPs on the Labour benches. Leave aside his abilities. As Scottish Secretary, he had one job: to save as many Scottish Labour MPs' skins as possible. And he was remarkably successful in that task.


Review: Niobe, Regina Di Tebe

By Stephen Pollard, September 28, 2010

One of the most alluring of artistic myths is that of the lost masterpiece. With paintings it is sometimes true; there have even been great novels that have laid undiscovered for decades.

Niobe, Regina di Tebe is an opera by the obscure Italian composer, Agostino Steffani, which was first performed in Munich in 1688. It circulated around Europe for a few years and was then never heard again, until a revival in Germany in 2008.


Action, not talk, brings peace

By Stephen Pollard, September 28, 2010

Many moons ago, before I entered the sordid world of journalism, I worked in the sordid world of politics. I was secretary to a Labour Party committee which had been charged with drafting a new constitution for the party, including - how last weekend's events brought the horrors back! - an electoral college.

After weeks of negotiations between representatives of the different wings of the party, it was, I decided, hopeless. The preconditions laid down were irreconcilable. We were doomed to failure.


The great scandal of the age

By Stephen Pollard, September 22, 2010

The Guardian today highlights one of the great scandals of our time. An outrage so, well, outrageous, that the country would, if we Brits had any decency, be protesting in the streets.

It is, of course, "UK poetry's ethnic imbalance".

Yup. Someone called Lara Pawson has penned a piece in the paper which appears to be serious, even though it just has to be a skit. I mean it just has to be...


Come on my son...

By Stephen Pollard, September 22, 2010

Here we go again. Major Miller is running tomorrow at Fontwell in the 4.10.

Fingers crossed.


Review: Cosi Fan Tutte

By Stephen Pollard, September 21, 2010

The eighth revival of Jonathan Miller's Royal Opera House production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte is, if anything, even finer now than when it was first performed in 1995, when most of the interest seemed to be generated by the Giorgio Armani costumes. They have long since been dumped, and have been replaced by "normal-looking" modern dress for this run.


Hi Steven...

By Stephen Pollard, September 19, 2010

Nigel Farndale is bang on the money with a piece about being addressed by one's first name. It's here.

I loved this:

[P]upils at a primary school in
Kent have been told to use their teachers’ first names. You have to wonder
how this idea came about. Were the teachers sitting around in the staff room
saying, “Do you know what our problem is? Our pupils show us far too much


We could do with some tea party politics in Britain (Daily Express)

By Stephen Pollard, September 17, 2010

I have a piece in today's Express on the 'tea party' in the US. It's here.


Avram is damned if he stays away . . . and damned if he doesn’t (Evening Standard)

By Stephen Pollard, September 16, 2010

I have a piece in today's Evening Standard on Avram Grant's decision to stay away from West Ham's game on Yom Kippur. It's here.


Observing in our own ways

By Stephen Pollard, September 16, 2010

Can I be honest? It might come as a surprise to some of you, but I am not the Chief Rabbi.

There. I've said it. There are, one might have thought, few reasons to think I am in fact, the Chief Rabbi - I don't have a beard, for starters - but, believe me, there are people out there who think otherwise.

It didn't take me long to realise that the post of editor of the JC comes with what one might call extra-curricular duties.


New Orleans shows the way

By Stephen Pollard, September 12, 2010

There's a fascinating piece by Ian Birrell today on how New Orleans schools have been transformed in a bonfire of bureaucracy and the regulations and union domination which have for so long impeded education. It's here


Murder is murder and that's why life should mean life (Express)

By Stephen Pollard, September 9, 2010

I have a piece in today's Express on the proposal to change the murder laws. It's here.


But we've seen the aliens!

By Stephen Pollard, September 8, 2010

There's a story I don't understand in today's Express:

getting up close and personal with legions of alien females during his
time on the Starship Enterprise, William Shatner is adamant that we are
not alone.

In fact he’s insistent that the universe is absolutely stuffed with alien species.



Legalising drugs will kill more people

By Stephen Pollard, September 6, 2010

I've just read a superb piece on drugs in yesterday's Observer, in which Antonio Maria Costa, the former executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for the past eight years, simply rips apart the dangerously sloppy thinking from those who argue for the legalisation of hard (and soft) drugs.

I urge you to read it.



By Stephen Pollard, September 6, 2010

This morning, the Today programme interviewed the solicitor for those seeking a judicial review of the Met's handling of the Andy Coulson allegations.

When Justin Webb put it to her that this was just a bit of political mischief, she replied indignantly. No, no, no, not in the least. Yes, one of her clients was a former Labour minister. But another was Brian Paddick - "a former policeman and now a freelance journalist".


In a parallel universe

By Stephen Pollard, September 6, 2010

This is possibly the most ridiculous opening to a news story I have ever read, by the usually superb Andy McSmith in today's Independent:

The former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik increased the pressure on
Andy Coulson yesterday by questioning his competence and calling for
him to stand down.

Pressure was increased by Lembit Opik offering his thoughts?


The BBC 's leftie bias, by the DG

By Stephen Pollard, September 5, 2010

Peter Hitchens has written the column I'd have loved to write today about the BBC DG's admission of bias, a remark in Edinburgh last week which seems to have gone almost unnoticed.

Here's the key part:

the Director-General himself, Mark Thompson, we have the admission
that, when he joined the Corporation 30 years ago, there was a ‘massive
bias to the Left’.


TfL's suggestion for beating the tube strike

By Stephen Pollard, September 3, 2010

Transport for London have sent a note to businesses in London to help them plan for the tube strike next week.

It's full of useful ideas. The capital's workforce must be particularly grateful for their suggestion that workers try "walking".

They seem to have forgotten to suggest breathing in and out a minimum number of times per minute.

Mr X