You know the scene. You're sitting with a few friends at midnight, after having drunk six times the amount of alcohol recommended by the Health Education Authority as a safe weekly intake, when an argument breaks out.
Last year, Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, was given a six-year prison sentence for corruption. He was also charged with sodomy, punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment.
From all the TV previews and special supplements in the newspapers, I see that it's going to be a Big Summer of Sport. And of Pop Festivals. How nice. I'll deal with the pop festivals first.
Elitism, various government ministers have been telling us, is the albatross around our collective neck. It is preventing bright young people at state schools from fulfilling their potential, and bright young working-class kids from starting their own businesses.
While away in the Caribbean, I turned my back on all communication with home. So I am unable to give you my opinions on the London mayoral elections and what they signified for blacks and Asians.
An interesting little cover-up has emerged in the wake of Ken Livingstone's defection to the After-Dinner Speaking Party. In the contest for Labour nominee for the London Mayor, candidates were allowed to spend a maximum of £1 per member.
I'm going to have to do something pretty drastic about my circulating. It's not long since I suffered from the problem of being unable to detach myself from other party guests.
Many many years ago, I used to swim regularly in the public baths on a council estate in Islington. One lunchtime, I noticed a well-built man in baggy swimming trunks diving into the pool and freestyling his way down the lane.
Welcome, Leo. You've given everyone something to smile about.
General de Gaulle, in a moment of irritation (and there were many of those in his mighty career), dismissed demands for independence from Martinique and Guadaloupe by referring to the islands as "pieces of dirt" in the Caribbean sea.
It has become the triumphant symbol of American imperialism; but, in the new century, it surely face
It may subvert the cuddly left-liberal political credibility that I've been subtly cultivating in this column for the past few years, but a conjunction of events makes me realise that now is the moment when I must stand up and admit to having regularly accepted a number of well-stuffed brown env
Behind its propaganda, British foreign policy is undergoing significant changes. The armed intervention in Sierra Leone is a case in point.
It's an unwritten rule - maybe even a written rule - that columnists shouldn't write about other columnists, let alone columnists in the same paper. But there were a couple of examples in last week's NS that I couldn't resist.
There will be a Cabinet reshuffle in July, senior ministers believe. But it will not affect the big names, only figures "on the fringe".
It's a simple enough voicemail, but it takes me the best part of three days to ring back.
Have you heard of MP3? Do you have an MP3 program? Do you have an MP3 player? Have you already stopped reading this column and turned the page?
Hark! Listen to the sound of hammer and chisel: there is someone chipping away at an ivory tower. It's music to liberal ears - and the prelude to a transformation of Oxford as we know it.
I arrived in Trinidad full of expectation. It is the land of my birth, but it is not my home. I haven't actually lived there for about 40 years. I have travelled to and fro, spent extended periods there, and have maintained family relations and friendships.
Few sights are more pathetic, in the true sense of the word, than Tony Blair frantically riffling back and forth through his waffle book at Prime Minister's Questions. Head down, balding crown to camera, he searches for an answer, any answer, to put William Hague over a barrel.
This month, two extraordinary men came to London and spoke about a silent holocaust, and not a word of what they said was reported.
As I'm passing his desk on the sixth floor of Broadcasting House, Mike Garland turns and wiggles a finger at me. Only when I'm crouched by his side does he whisper his bit of news: "Roger's gone into hospital."
Of course, it isn't true that Downing Street is a nest of control freaks. They don't tell ministers to whom they can speak and what they can say. So they keep telling us.
When non-fiction books die - that is, when they are proved wrong, superseded, rendered irrelevant - the overwhelming majority just disappear into the oblivion of second-hand books and one copy in the British Library. But a few get a strange new life.
The mistress is taking on the wife in an office near you. Before you rush to buy ringside tickets, I should make it clear that this is not about a cat fight that risks overturning the chairs in the boardroom, or an expletive-packed shouting match among the filing cabinets.
It is more than 25 years since I first came to Antigua. Political activism brought me here in the first place. The Caribbean then was a hive of freedom fighters. It seemed that anyone who was able to string two words together - black and power - qualified for the title "black activist".
The French and the Portuguese got out; but the British stay, trying to forget the murderous acts of
I am off to the Caribbean, there to make the sequel to the White Tribe, my three-part documentary series on the English, which was broadcast on Channel 4 earlier this year. At the end of it, I declared myself an Englander of Caribbean origin.
I'm increasingly concerned about my callous attitude towards other people's avowed depression.