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The Aborigines Lost in Translation

The Australian Broadcasting Commission’s wokerati want me to use Aboriginal words in my everyday discourse. They’d like me to say at dinner parties that I grew up in Boorloo (formerly called “Perth”), moved to the press gallery in Ngunnawal Country (“Canberra”) and finally settled down in Naarm (formerly “Melbourne”)

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A bridge too far

A hundred years since the founding of the Irish state – on 6 December 1922 – how likely or desirable is the prospect of Irish unity? The recent electoral success of Sinn Fein suggested to many – particularly in the US – that the idea’s momentum is now unstoppable. Of

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Quite

Something has gone wrong with the use of quite. Someone wrote in the Telegraph: ‘Beating Brazil at a World Cup? Quite the experience.’ Then I heard: ‘It’s been quite the dreich day.’ The annoying part is the the. An idiom does exist with quite the, but the meaning is different.

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Fare treatment

In early 2020 my family and I were due to fly home from visiting a friend in Oman when the plane encountered a technical problem. We returned to departures and were rebooked on to a flight the following day. British Airways then sent us to a very decent hotel, where

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Diary

When it comes to the Harry & Meghan ‘this is our truth’ Netflix documentary, the senior members of the royal family have decided to do what the Queen Mother’s friend Noël Coward always did when faced with adversity or criticism. They are simply going ‘to rise above it’. It won’t

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Canapés

Canapés are one of life’s delights and surprises – surprises because drinks party invitations usually give nothing away. Perhaps because ‘nibbles’ is such a hideous word, or perhaps just because of invitation convention, hosts tend simply to put ‘Drinks, 6.30 to 8.30’ on the Paperless Post card. So you arrive

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Portrait of the week

Home The RMT union decided to add a couple of rail strikes just before and after Christmas to those planned. Nurses, ambulance workers, driving test examiners, baggage handlers at Heathrow and bus drivers joined in. Postmen hoped to fit in another six strikes before the end of the month; Currys

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