SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Richard Ingrams

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May 15, 2020
“People believe lies,” Malcolm Muggeridge once wrote, “not because they are plausibly presented but because they want to believe them.” I remember very well how keenly I wanted in 2003 to believe the story of how an unknown army major had managed to win the £1 million prize on the ITV programme, Who Wants to
March 12, 2020
“An unpleasant man with a dreadful lifestyle” was how one angry reader of the Oldie described Wilfred De’Ath, who died in February at the age of 82. It was a common response to my old Oxford contemporary recruited by me in 1998 to write a monthly column, which he continued to do until his death.
October 17, 2019
I have been told that not so very long ago – certainly in my lifetime – if and when an MP read out his speech in Parliament he would be greeted with protesting cries of “Reading! Reading!” from fellow members, it being considered a breach of parliamentary protocol. If you have watched a good deal
August 08, 2019
Not being able to remember things is one of the consequences of old age, in some cases beneficial, in others frustrating. After many years I cannot now remember how I first made contact with Fr John Dove, a Jesuit missionary in Zimbabwe, or whether he first got in touch with me. At least I can
June 13, 2019
I have never thought it strange that so many people do not believe in God. What I find peculiar is the number of people, many of them sane and sensible friends of mine, who do not believe in ghosts. As GK Chesterton pointed out: “If it comes to human testimony there is a choking cataract
April 11, 2019
One of the handicaps of old age is the loss, one by one, of those few commentators and journalists to whom one has long looked for guidance as to what was going on in the world. Such geniuses did not necessarily provide any specific information so much as an insight into events – an answer
November 01, 2018
Friends and colleagues of the distinguished lawyer Sir Louis Blom-Cooper will have been puzzled by the opening sentence of his recent obituary in the Times: “Louis Blom-Cooper paid the penalty for being too clever and too Catholic in his passions.” Clever he may have been, but Sir Louis was never a Catholic – as the Times
August 02, 2018
When I first went to Ireland in 1962, it seemed like a foreign country – more foreign than France, even though the inhabitants spoke the same language as I did. Dark and shabby, Dublin still felt like the Dublin of Ulysses, and though Joyce was long gone, we had the boozy and boisterous figure of
June 28, 2018
The Church of England has sponsored some bizarre acts of worship in its time, but seldom one more extraordinary than the thanksgiving service held on July 1, 1979, in the Somerset village of Bratton Fleming on the edge of Exmoor. The vicar, the Rev John Hornby, had organised the ceremony in order to give thanks
May 31, 2018
No one country can claim to have a monopoly of saints, but when it comes to “holy men” there is no doubting that India has cornered the market. Gurus, Swamis, babas, Maharishis, yogis or Mahatmas – our modern age has seen an apparently endless flow of sweetly smiling, bearded figures arriving on these shores, their
April 26, 2018
“Haz, we will change the world!” With these words, it is reliably reported, the American television actress Meghan Markle put the seal on her engagement to Prince Harry – or Haz, as he was henceforward to be known to his beloved. It may sound romantic to some, yet any admission on the part of anyone
March 29, 2018
One day in the London of the 1930s a short, ruddy-faced young man carrying a thick blackthorn staff was to be seen talking earnestly into the mouth of a red pillar box in the street. Passers-by who gathered to see what it was all about could hear him say: “Don’t worry, my little lad, we’ll