Welcome to the written world of RDN. I am a complicated conservative, and a bit hippy and arty round the edges. I am currently working on poems, a memoir and a one-man show. Over all that is an increasing interest in the idea of spirituality. More »

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The Classics and modernity (#1)

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 26 April 2016. No comments.

This is a pair of essays on the theme of the Classics and their continuing influence. It’s in two parts: #1 The Classics and Us (the reverberations of the Classical world on our civilisation) and #2 The Classics and Me (the reverberations of the Classical world on me much more personally). So this is #1… More »

The Classics and modernity (#2)

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 26 April 2016. No comments.

This is a pair of essays on the theme of the Classics and their continuing influence. It’s in two parts: #1 The Classics and Us (the reverberations of the Classical world on our civilisation) and #2 The Classics and Me (the reverberations of the Classical world on me much more personally). So this is #2… More »

The Jungle Book (2016 movie)

Posted by RDN under On movies on 24 April 2016. No comments.

This may well be a great movie: I know that I came away from it very willing to see it again soon. It had several jobs to do, and seemed to tick almost all the boxes. It is, perhaps first and foremost, a successful update of and homage to the previous Disney account, which has been loved by generations. Secondly, one supposes its makers wanted it to be a fair account of Rudyard Kipling’s original book, and it is that. Thirdly, it had to be worth making: that is, it had to do something which can be done now which could not be done before, and it does. The fourth ambition was expressed by one of the team who made it: the storytellers should not get in the way of the story. Again, this movie succeeds. More »

Research, referencing, style guides, and howlers: quick guide

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 21 April 2016. No comments.

This is a note which I hope is useful for anyone preparing to write essays at 6th form or university, and above, and for presentations of any sort. More »

The UK economy and the welfare state

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / Mind & body / RDN's media outings on 2 April 2016. No comments.

For an outing on the BBC 1 Big Questions ethics show, I pulled together some research on whether Britain was a fair society. My general view is that one should worry about the poor, on the assumption that they are unhappy because of poverty and need help. It is not a dead cert that people in need of help can be given it, of course. Moreover, it may well not matter whether (or even how much) a country is unequal. Nor is the amount of welfare spending by any means a perfect indicator of whether a country is a good place for either rich or poor to live. Other posts have discussed those themes. (Try an in-site search for “inequality”.)  This one is intended to capture a picture of where the UK is compared with its neighbours, and – even more important – with other broadly comparable countries. More »

RDN on BBC shows: Syrian refugees

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / Mind & body / Politics & campaigns / RDN's media outings on 26 February 2016. No comments.

I was asked onto BBC1’s The Big Questions (7 February 2016, Episode 5, Series 9); on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye phone-in (25 February 2016); and BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland (27 February 2016) to discuss whether Britain’s stance on Syrian refugees was morally acceptable (TBQ) and whether one had a moral responsibility toward helping them (Call Kaye) or both (Good Morning Scotland). More »

Poem: Percy “Hobo” Hobart, Pt 1

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / RDN's poems on 19 August 2015. No comments.

This poem is the first of three. They are long, and intended to flow one from another, but each to make sense on its own. They have been written with an eye (or ear) to being read aloud briskly.

Sir Percy Hobart, Part 1
Hobo, the man and commander More »

Poem: Percy “Hobo” Hobart, Pt 2

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / RDN's poems on 19 August 2015. No comments.

This poem is the second of three. They are long, and intended to flow one from another, but each to make sense on its own. They have been written with an eye (or ear) to being read aloud briskly.

Sir Percy Hobart, Part 2
Hobo the man of design and fabric

More »

Poem: Percy “Hobo” Hobart, Pt 3

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / RDN's poems on 19 August 2015. No comments.

This poem is the third of three. They are long, and intended to flow one from another, but each to make sense on its own. They have been written with an eye (or ear) to being read aloud briskly.

Sir Percy Hobart, Part 3
The Hobo, his generation and their books

More »

RDN on BBC Scotland: “Scrap the BBC!”

Posted by RDN under National Media Trust / On TV & Radio / RDN's media outings on 16 July 2015. No comments.

I had quite an interesting outing on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye phone-in show on the BBC’s charter review which begins in earnest today. I argued as usual for the “nuclear option” of getting rid of this antiquated institution. More »

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