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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Thérèse of Lisieux: A child of Christ, her time and ours

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 8 December 2016. No comments.

I have been mildly interested in Thérèse of Lisieux for years. Recent encounters with the Carmelite tradition and some Carmelite nuns seemed to make it urgent that I address the rather sneering attitude I fear I had adopted towad “the little white flower”. Here is my best attempt at a reading of interesting work on the saint, some of it old, some very new. (Longform alert: this is a 5,000 word essay.) More »

Poem: Thoughts on a full stop

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 15 November 2016. No comments.

This isn’t about me, at least not in particular, and it isn’t gloomy, I hope. I fear it offers advice, which – it might be remembered – comes from a man with little courage and no pretensions to wisdom. More »

Poem: Beech Wood near Henley

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 15 November 2016. No comments.

My wife and I house-, chicken-, and dog-sit near Henley. This part of the Chilterns is far deeper countryside than I had ever expected. More »

Poem: Suicide Boy, 1872

Posted by RDN under RDN's poems on 15 November 2016. No comments.

I came across this news story from a local paper about a suicide-by-train  and wanted to mark it in some way. I feel oddly scrupulous about opining too much, or seeming to assume any understanding of the events it describes. More »

Chris Martin on Trump (Or: Fascism, liberalism and karma)

Posted by RDN under Handling protest / Mind & body / Politics & campaigns on 13 November 2016. No comments.

Chris Martin of Cold Play was spot-on when he burst on to Graham Norton’s set and described the karmic moment represented by Donald Trump’s success in being elected President of the United States. Mr Martin said, in terms, that Trump expressed the feelings of millions of people, and that doing so is a refreshing and crucial part of democracy. Dead right. More »

“Mob-minorities”, democracy and Parliament

Posted by RDN under Handling protest / Politics & campaigns on 10 July 2016. One comment.

The British have been learning a lot about the different sorts of votes and voting that go on in a democracy. The oddest thing that has happened is the emergence into power of a small number of political activists. Both Conservative and Labour political parties – are, just now, at the mercy of their quite peculiar members. So are the vast majority of voters and politicians. More »

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 – or tasty – little secret about migration, tax, and welfare which I have never heard mentioned in mainstream debate, but it needs to be. That is: 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. 2 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 »

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