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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Adolescent brain, liminality and the Universe

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 27 June 2016. No comments.

There is an ocean of interesting material on the development of the adolescent brain. Most of it concentrates on why teenagers are gloomy, risk-taking, drug-prone, drug-susceptible and hard to teach. I want to ask whether anyone has spotted research or discussion on a more positive or at least very interesting aspect to adolescent liminality. More »

Brexit and migration

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / Politics & campaigns on 27 June 2016. No comments.

There is a nasty little secret about migration, tax, and welfare which I have never heard mentioned in mainstream debate, but it needs to be. That is to say that single, young migrants in employment are probably an economic benefit, taking one thing with another, but when they go on to make families, most of them are almost certainly not. In short, freedom of movement for work is mostly good; freedom of settlement or citizenship, not so much.  More »

Brexit and Scotland

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / Politics & campaigns on 27 June 2016. No comments.

The EU referendum has had very odd implications for Scotland. I was no fan of Scottish independence, but I can’t say the break-up of the UK struck me as very worrying from an English, let alone an English Tory, point of view. Now though, one can easily see a rational Scot of any political stripe thinking that if it came to leaving the EU or the UK, maybe it’s the UK that Scots need less. More »

Unexpected upsides of Brexit

Posted by RDN under Politics & campaigns on 27 June 2016. No comments.

I didn’t have the courage to vote for it, but Brexit will probably have marvellous upsides, and especially after a bumpy patch. Here are three “factions” who will probably have to re-adjust their thinking, in a good way, because of Brexit. More »

The Referendum meta-debate

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / Politics & campaigns on 22 June 2016. No comments.

The EU Referendum debate is widely thought to have been information-light and anger-heavy. This is true enough, but in ways which might surprise. Here is a sketch of how the argument might be analysed. I am afraid it is a little personal, at least in the first para or two. More »

Jo Cox’s legacy to democracy

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / Politics & campaigns on 18 June 2016. No comments.

Amongst all the things which Jo Cox achieved and represented in life, in death she may produce a further great service. It would be a fitting memorial or tribute to this remarkable person that we start to reverse the cynicism with which the electorate, media and entertainment industry regard politicians. More »

BHS and capitalism’s moral compass

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / On TV & Radio / RDN's media outings on 15 June 2016. One comment.

The BHS and Sports Direct sagas have raised the question: is UK capitalism in a uniquely scuzzy phase? I am inclined to say that it isn’t but that anyway capitalism has many forms ranging from the decent to the near-criminal; from the paternalist to the devil-may-care.  The problem for society is how to regulate the intolerably bad bits without killing the vigour some quite dodgy chancers (none of those invoved in the sagas in question have been proved to be so) bring to the economic table. More »

The End is Nigh (not, probably): BBC TBQ

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / Mind & body / Politics & campaigns / RDN's media outings on 12 June 2016. 2 comments.

The BBC’s The Big Questions asked a panel of “experts”, and its audience, whether “the end is nigh”. I responded that it almost certainly is not. Indeed, I said, things are going rather well and humans don’t need huge reforms of their psyche – but many long for better politics and economics to come their way.

More »

The Battle of Jutland – getting the history right

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / Mind & body / On TV & Radio on 9 June 2016. No comments.

This is an account of some issues surrounding the historiography of the Battle Jutland, including a critique of a BBC documentary on this enormous naval engagement. It refers especially to two important written sources dated 1921 (and 1986) and 1998. More »

Three Hobart Poems: Part 1 (audio version)

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / RDN's poems on 18 May 2016. No comments.

This is the first of the three poems on the British Army WW2 General, Sir Percy Hobart I have written and performed. This poem, Part 1, Hobo: Man and commander – concentrates on the story of the man and his spanning of warfare from ponies to tanks, from the North West Front, via WW1, to WW2, and the many switchbacks in his military fortunes, as he battled with Whitehall and – quite often – the British military establishment. More »

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