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".

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Right-wing heroes

During an outing on the Daily Politics Andrew (BBC TV, 20 September 2012) Neil asked me about right-wing heroes. I think we agreed that they were thin on the ground. I mentioned Keith Richards on account of his "the buck stops here" attitude to drug abuse. (And forgetting his claim to anti-Establishment dissidence, cited in Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind.) I collected myself sufficiently to add Margaret Thatcher and Sir Keith Joseph. Below, are some more. Read more...

Published

17 October 2012

Ford Maddox Ford on “the Gentle Tory”

David Priestland had a fascinating but flawed take on Tom Stoppard's take on FMF's take on the Tory type (The Gentle Tory is alive and well – on television). Actually, I say, the BBC drama is unsurprisingly BBC-ish, but with valuable quirks. Its adaptor may be rightish, but the BBC's leftishness can live with this show pretty well.  Read more...

Published

05 September 2012

Coulson and Brooks shine at Leveson

I want to have and give some explanation for why I was pleased when Coulson/Brooks did well at the Leveson inquiry and why - this is even trickier - I was not sorry to see Robert Jay bested.... Read more...

Published

13 May 2012

RDN at a climate change conference

In April 2012 I attended a climate change conference and want just to nail some of the arguments aired, as I see them. (It was held under Chatham House, "no names, no pack-drill" rules.) Read more...

Published

04 April 2012

Phew: “Iron Lady” is OK!

The worst charges one can make against the movie Iron Lady don't stand up. I see that her family and close admirers might be angry about it, but the rest of us can probably be glad there's an account of her time in office and life which is broadly fair (and broadly supportive, probably in spite of itself). To the slightly differing but very positive comments by Matthew Parris (in the LA Times) and by Iain Dale in his blog I mostly want to reinforce the latter's sense that this film will help the non-committal see why Mrs T was a force for good. Read more...

Published

12 January 2012

Don’t professionalise journalism, Lord Leveson

The first tranche of professors of journalism testified to Lord Leveson today and the result was mildly reassuring. But it is worth stressing how important it is that this trade remain as free of professionalism, certificates, regulation, registration and general tick-box goody-goodiness as possible. Read more...

Published

08 December 2011

DSK, “Spiral”, “The Ides…”, Leveson and Max.

Now we seem to have the perfect story - and, yes, I rather admire Andrew Marr for describing it as such on his show this morning. There is plausibe speculation that DSK was the victim of a sting or scam worthy of the view of French politics as portrayed in Spiral. Or should we say that it might be a sting or scam worthy of  American habits, as portrayed by The Ides of March? At the level of script, narrative, theatre, thriller, or whatever, we are having a ball. Read more...

Published

27 November 2011

Leveson, Week One

Max Mosley seems to have swept all before him and does so because his case pushes into so many corners of the matters Leveson is considering. Pace the rather silly remarks by Hugo Rifkind in  The Times (25 November 2011) it is important that we don't wrongly calibrate the media's offences. Read more...

Published

25 November 2011

Radio 4’s Food Programme on “real food”

In recent episodes of  BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme there have been interesting examples of - and some challenges to - the show's dogma. I think it is fair to say the show is crusading for something it calls "real food". But what is that? Read more...

Published

24 November 2011
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