Phone book tour and radio, summer and autumn 2017

Wednesday 24 May: 6pm, International Literature Festival Dublin, Smock Alley Theatre, 6/7 Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin. (This event is being recorded for broadcast on The Book Show for RTÉ Radio 1.)

Tuesday 30 May: Radio 5 Live Afternoon Edition live interview. Later that evening, Radio 4 Front Row live interview.

Friday 2 June: 5.30pm, Hay festival, Tata Tent.

Tuesday 13 June: 7pm-8.30pm, Guardian Live in conversation with John Mullan, Islington Assembly Hall.

Thursday 29 June: 8pm, Hebden Bridge arts festival, Town Hall HX7 7BY.

Friday 30 June: 7pm, City Books, Ropetackle arts centre, High St, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.

On Article 50 and parliament

I have a confession to make: I was approached by the people who brought the case in the high court over the government’s right to trigger Article 50 without a parliamentary vote. They asked me if I’d consider writing an independent opinion to be included in the dossier handed to the justices – and I declined. I can’t actually find the email I sent to them but the general tenor of my refusal was: ça suffit!

The Great British Bake Off and the Labour party

I wonder if Tom Watson and Paul Hollywood are the same person? I have never seen them in the same room together – neither in the devil’s kitchen of Westminster, nor in the heavenly Great British Bake Off marquee. Now the Parliamentary Labour Party is being forced to shift to the ­political equivalent of Channel 4, and the Cake Meister is going with. As with the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, so with Bake Off: the former presenters have departed, leaving behind the weird, judgmental, wrinkly old narcissist claiming the high ground of loyalty to the viewers – I mean members.

The inquiry into historical child sexual abuse allegations has become a national farce

A French friend, in town for a couple of days recently, was suitably and ­stereotypically bemused by our latest bad news about terrible crimes: Justice Lowell Goddard’s resignation as the head of the inquiry into historical child abuse was closely preceded by new results from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, according to which 11 per cent of the women questioned, and 3 per cent of the men, said they had been sexually assaulted during childhood.