Welcome to the written world of RDN.

RDN is a complicated conservative and a Civilised Right-winger. I am a bit hippy and arty. I am currently working on poems, a memoir, and cultural essays. I nurture hopes of doing a one man show. And I am interested in the spiritual.

Page 4 of all posts

“SS Fawn”, the Bowyer’s, and the nuns, 1870

This is a story of a steamship, a Carmelite community of sisters, an extended family of Southampton pilots and a German ship-builder, in late 19th Century Southampton and Sussex, Normandy, Kiel, and the Orkneys. Read more...

Published

11 December 2016

Filed in

Mind & body

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

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.) Read more...

Published

08 December 2016

Filed in

Mind & body

Poem: Thoughts on a full stop

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. Read more...

Published

15 November 2016

Filed in

RDN's poems

Poem: Beech Wood near Henley

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. Read more...

Published

15 November 2016

Filed in

RDN's poems

Poem: Suicide Boy, 1872

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. Read more...

Published

15 November 2016

Filed in

RDN's poems

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

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. Read more...

Published

13 November 2016

Filed in

Handling protest, Mind & body, Politics & campaigns

“Mob-minorities”, democracy and Parliament

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. Read more...

Published

10 July 2016

Filed in

Handling protest, Politics & campaigns

Adolescent brain, liminality and the Universe

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. Read more...

Published

27 June 2016

Filed in

Mind & body

Brexit and migration

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.  Read more...

Published

27 June 2016

Filed in

Economic affairs, Politics & campaigns

Brexit and Scotland

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. Read more...

Published

27 June 2016

Filed in

Economic affairs, Politics & campaigns
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