Civilised Right-wing.

I am a Civilised Right-winger (a moniker of my own devising). I articulated much of that in my "Right-wing Guide to Nearly Everything" (Kindle, 2012). CRW is a species of oxymoron, since the right-winger insists that the human is a primitive as well as a sophisticated being. But - ever contrary - the CRW also insists that civilisation's disciplines are more important than individual impulses. A key RDN CRW watchword: Liberty is freedom and order in balance..

Let’s end Totalitarian Liberalism

I want to show something of the workings of the soft-left, green, anti-Tory, 'progressive', Woke ideals which have coalesced to enfeeble so many of the brightest and best adults of our day. They have unconsciously but comprehensively embraced several linked varieties of liberalism (Kindergarten, Smug, Snobbish, and Bossy - even Totalitarian). They have abandoned a liberalism which is tough and self-challenging. I mourn how so many nice, intelligent people have allowed their minds and hearts to be hijacked to the point where they can't see the merit in the Rigorous Liberalism which could make them useful to our polity.



08 October 2023

Filson Young: BBC pioneer

This is an account of some parts of Shall I Listen? of 1933. It was the penultimate book by Filson Young (1876-1936). He was a BBC pioneer with instincts about the future of broadcasting which foreshadow the podcast age. He was a snob who disparaged Reithian London-centricity. He was a Londoner who invented a new style of outside broadcasting from a Cornish village. Read more...


14 March 2023

Do TV presenters really investigate?

In May 2022, the Lucy Worsley Investigates series had a film on the Black Death (repeated in February 2023, when I saw it). We were given the story of mid-14th Century Britain’s response to the dreadful plague. The BBC promotional blurb was full of how our heroine would investigate the… Read more...


14 March 2023

Fake History on-air

BBC Four Extra in the small hours can be exceptionally moving. It’s something to do with listening to headphones in the dark. A good case was the hour-plus omnibus edition of Radio 4’s Curtain Down at Her Majesty’s, which I hadn’t heard before its outing in January 2023 (first broadcast… Read more...


14 March 2023

Scrap the hybrid NHS: the best bits will thrive

This is around 3,000 words on scrapping the NHS. The privatisation project will be easier and less radical than most suppose. A modern health service is already half-formed within and around the NHS: it just needs liberating. Our GP and hospital health systems should dare to look at their histories and to Continental models with magpie curiosity. The old-age residential care system is reformable as a pioneer of privatisation. The post-Blair left is perhaps stuck with worshipping the NHS to death. The Conservatives have the greater sin. They betray their best instincts in refusing to speak truth to this post WW2 shibboleth. The young could fix all this, but they would need to open their minds to the world they are thriving in. Read more...


18 December 2022

William James on being alive

RDN's credo, as at New Year, 2022 is culled from William James and, being paraphrased, runs: Humanity is a worthwhile joint enterprise and being useful to it makes sense of each of us. Read more...


01 January 2022

Stoppard comes to Leopoldstadt

Tom Stoppard is the indispensable playwright of my generation. He is rather more: he is one of the key British cultural figures of my times. He ranks with the other knights Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Roy Strong as a person of style. As a creative talent, he ranks with… Read more...


12 December 2021

WW1: still relevant as the right war, well-fought

I always resisted the Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Blackadder account of WW1. I took it to be a product of the 1960s generation who thought everything inherited from their parents and grandparents (except their money) should be rejected.

At least one of my great-grandparents fought (and at least one of my grandparents avoided) fighting in WW1. My father served in WW2, and his two half-brothers were killed on active service during it.

The essay which follows below is largely an account of various books, most of which I have read recently, which have, I am relieved to say, reinforced my long-standing belief that this country (and, most of the time, most of its allies) fought honourably and rather intelligently during the 20th Century. Read more...


21 July 2020

Coastal edginess, a brief history

The coast is an edge, obviously. It's a fringe. The coast is the hem of the land's garment. Being swept or battered by the ebb and flow of tides, it invites thoughts of marginality. These ideas lead rather quickly to the liminal. If you bear with me, we'll get to some of all that. Now that there is a growing tendency for geographers and nature writers to become interested in mindscapes as well as landforms and land use, I fear I am being almost trendy in looking at the coast as a cultural phenomenon. Read more...


11 September 2019

The Liminal Zone: a loose account

If you are reading this, something has made you curious about what liminality might be or mean. This piece discusses what I will call the Liminal Zone. It’s a wide imaginary territory where Loose Liminality roams free. I call it a zone because in 1988 I wrote an essay in… Read more...


10 September 2019
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