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".

“Liberty” (2018)

This is a remarkable TV meditation on whether the African can be like, or even understand, the European, or vice versa. It makes a rather good and very sad case that they can't, or anyway that the aid system wasn't doing so in the 1980s. Both sides were too busy exploiting each other's many weaknesses. I write the following not least in case it tempts others to pitch in with their reading of the show. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

500 years of businesswomen

Royal and aristocratic women often wielded considerable power as mothers and widows. It is curious how other women, formally unable to own or control assets in their own right, did often inherit their late husband’s stake in the wider world, and run it. They had other routes to control as well. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

“Palais de Justice” (2017)

I very much enjoyed Carey Young's video installation at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. (It closes 2 June 2019 but I imagine it will be screened elsewhere.) I know that I wanted to see the thing as soon as I saw the publicity still of a fair-haired, I would say careworn, woman, a judge I presume, returning the camera's stare. I am a little foxed and therefore intrigued as to what, in the event, it achieved for me. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

“Styx” (2019)

I was lucky to have forgotten everything I knew about this film before I went to see it. Its 94 minutes of study of the moral, technical and emotional problems which suddenly confront Rike, a lone yachtswoman, as she cruises southwards down the Atlantic from Gibraltar toward Ascension Island, were a startling blend of the meditative and the thrilling. I was engrossed by the film throughout and only bothered to be properly sceptical about it when I got home. Read more...

Published

19 May 2019

“The Favourite” is misogynist

It is possible that my title is one tad too strong, if nicely economical. At more and milder length I would say The Favourite is disobliging to women and in particular to the interesting women it purports to portray. Read more...

Published

19 January 2019

“Darkest Hour” is quite bad

The latest Darkest Hour movie is enjoyable and has high production values. It is, as lots of people say, rather a good flipside to the blockbuster Dunkirk. But whilst Dunkirk had merely a few absurdities amongst its conceits, Darkest Hour is, I declare, positively unethical in important parts of its story-telling. Read more...

Published

26 January 2018

RDN on BBC Scotland on ads’ gender stereotyping

I had a lively outing on BBC Radio Scotland's morning phone-in on the ASA/CAP's crackdown on gender stereotyping. Without much thinking about the Quangos' specific motives and proposals (I will maybe devote time to that exercise) I said quite boldly that whatever stereotypes advertisers promoted, I had never seen any that were more harmful than the culture-crimping, the dreary campaignitis - and, yes the PC Gone Mad element - of the Bossy Liberals who want to censor them. Read more...

Published

14 December 2017

BBC pay for Talent, and fairness

I was called, but not chosen, as a potential contributor to a BBC Radio 4 current affairs show about the BBC pay disclosures. Here, put simply, is what I would have said (with a bit of explanation below the fold): The BBC ought to organise itself so that its senior current affairs presenters are better and cost less. Its entertainment presenters should matter less to it, and also should increasingly be more cheaply home-grown. Also: is absurd for quite over-paid women presenters to complain that they are not paid as much as grossly over-paid males. No fairness principle worth the name is at stake in the women's claims for parity. Read more...

Published

24 July 2017

Bossy Liberals and Fascism: 100 years war

This 13,000 word PDF download  BLF Essay 110617 is a four-part study in the history, ideas and current picture of the opposition between Fascism, authoritarianism and their clearest opponents, the Bossy Liberals. It is a beefier and wider account of the issues which lie behind the phenomenon of the Auto-liberal who is so important to modern politics. Read more...

Published

11 June 2017
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