Politics & campaigns.

This is not a party political site and not very partisan in any way. My emphasis has tended to be on the quality of debate and campaigning, and especially on the need to appreciate represtentative democracy (government through elected representatives whose own views matter), and to be sceptical of the claims of vox pop, "the people", social media, Crowd Wisdom, and "direct action".

“Act of Oblivion”: Reasons to read it

Robert Harris has the knack of good timing. His new book is The Act of Oblivion about Charles II's legislation of 1660 and the subsequent treatment of the Regicides who tried and beheaded his father Charles I in 1649. This historical thriller arrives just as Charles III ascends the throne. That's a neat Carolingian coincidence without obvious connection, as yet. Oblivion is highly relevant more because it concerns so many conundrums and dilemmas which are as rich now as they ever were. Let's enumerate some of them. But I also stress this really is a ripping yarn, an outstanding historical novel and a thriller. Read more...


03 January 2023

Can we put our faith in Truss?

This was written on 10 October 2022. That is, 34 days into the 44 days of Liz Truss's premiership (6 September 2022 – 20 October 2022). I originally called the piece, "Can We Trust Liz?". I have changed only the online title of the piece which appears below. I wrote what and when I did because it seemed cowardly not to. It now seems cowardly not to post it (31/12/22). My enduring point is that there is never a perfect moment for reform, nor a perfect reformer. Her own "unforced errors" may have put the kybosh on Liz Truss' reform mission. She may have set back our chances of reversing 70-odd years of socialism. More likely, and more hopefully, she has usefully let the cat out of the bag and broken the mould, etc etc. Read more...


31 December 2022

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

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

“Scrap the BBC!”, 2020

In 2007 I wrote "Scrap the BBC!" for the Social Affairs Unit. It was subtitled, "10 years to set broadcasters free". Well, that didn't happen. The next big though interim discussion about the Corporation's future is set for 2022, preparatory for a new charter in 2027. What are the odds of major change within ten years?

I wouldn't bet on it, not with my record. Anyway, a much bigger set of questions arises. How are we to handle the new world of media? Read more...


22 January 2020

Nature Writing Interrogated

You will find here a free download of a PDF, entitled Nature Writing Interrogated: 5000 years of nostalgia.

It's a longish essay (about 40,000 words) and explores the long history of writing about nature, beginning very roughly with the Gilgamesh epic and romping through to pieces in last month's Guardian. I have undertaken this task because for half a longish lifetime I have been growing in unease about the way nature has always been used as a repository for civilised mankind's regrets and yearnings. My feeling has been that it was ever thus and that in recent decades the result has worked against, rather than toward, a proper appreciation of nature. Read more...


12 January 2020

“Rojo” (2018): over-rated

I have not written what follows in the hopes of steering unsuspecting people away from watching this movie. I don't think it's dangerous or really bad. Rather, it bemused me. And then looking around online for reviews of it puzzled me some more. I can't find anyone who didn't rate it. Even Mark Kermode was in line, and he often sniffs out inadequacy and spots awkward quality. It reminded me of the UK's Supreme Court in one of the Brexit cases: there was a unanimity amongst the judges and its main effect was to erode confidence in their opinion. I lightly wonder if this is the arts equivalent: maybe an omerta of wokeness. Anyway, this is written in case someone who didn't like the film does a search in the hopes of finding someone else out there who didn't respond well to Rojo. Read more...


26 October 2019

RDN’s environmental backstory, 1965-2019

This long PDF is a slightly cleaned-up transcript of an interview with RDN by the academic researcher, Richard Douglas of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity. Richard is especially focussing on "the meanings and moral framings of the good life."

The interview was exciting for me because it was the first time anyone had asked me to explain the background for my environmental - and later my revisionist - thinking. What's more, and even better, it was the first time anyone had inquired as to the spiritual background to my thinking. Read more...


09 September 2019

Tim Lawson-Cruttenden: A memoir

A personal account of Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, 23 January 1955 - 17 April 2019 : A fine Christian, civil liberties lawyer, cavalryman, charity worker, and sportsman. (2000+ words) Read more...


06 June 2019

Who’s Tory or Right-wing now?

Within a few days of each other there has been a very good trio of newspaper articles on how one defines a Conservative, not least in contrast to or comparison with one's being a Right-winger. I am taking the opportunity to locate my idea of a Civilised Right-winger in this picture.



05 June 2019
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