Ian on Sunday

Democracy or dictatorship?

I divert from my usual Sunday column to make a few comments on the 2020 General Election which seems (but who knows) to be entering its final stage after suffering a tortured history since that day on March 2nd when everyone – everyone – was happy with a well-run, transparent, credible day of voting.

Setting standards

I do not like reminiscing about the old days – that immediately marks you as entering your dotage.

The writing on the slate

“The Voters’ Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Plotters’ Wit Shall lure it back to cancel the Result Nor all thy fraud and stall wash out a word of it.”

Unfulfilled ambition

I have been re-reading a book of great beauty given to me as a gift by my wife: A River Runs Through It, by Norman Fitzroy Maclean.

The lunge for the tape

A birthday – even an 87th birthday which is leaving it a bit late in the day – is a good time to see if there are any aspects of life which need some sort of reassessment.

Give priority to our archives

I once read a long article about two remarkable books: “The Poetical Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins,” published by the Clarendon Press in Oxford, and “The Early Poetic Manuscripts and Note-Books of Gerard Manley Hopkins in Facsimile,” published by Garland in New York.

The quiet satisfactions of life

I suppose it is getting older that brings this on but I have come to the conclusion in a long life that the high dramas of public events – the summits of great men who think they control events, the ribbon-cutting celebrations of immense enterprises, the coronations of Presidents and the inauguration of Parliaments, the inflated pageants of festivals and carnivals and celebrity occasions – fade into inconsequence compared with the quiet satisfactions of private life.

Everything is interesting

Staying at home and maintaining rigorous rules of isolation as one must in this time of plague – I find myself spending a lot more time in my library-study.

Refuse to be disheartened

We are going through great traumas – a plague such as the world has not seen for a long time and, in Guyana, a blatant attempt to subvert democracy.


Readers may want to know why this space again this Sunday lacks its usual text.   I have removed the column which would normally appear here.  Life is not normal in Guyana.

The true value of women’s work

It seems not a day, and certainly not a week, passes without our stomachs being turned by appalling news of women cruelly abused, beaten and, often enough, murdered in headline – hot, red blood.


I regret I cannot supply a column this week. It is late Friday after election day on Monday.


The great unabridged Oxford English Dictionary contains half a million words.

Unforgettable beauty

If I am allowed the time I hope to complete a book of portraits of places and people unforgotten and unforgettable in my life.

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