Welcome.

I am 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 6 of all posts

Poem: Sir Percy “Hobo” Hobart, a 3-parter (audio version)

These are recordings of my reading of three linked poems on the British Army WW2 General, Sir Percy Hobart . They were written to be spoken. The work is, I hope, in the rather straightforward narrative tradition of English poetry. It is certainly not high-flown poetry. But I hope people will feel that it certainly isn't prose either. The Trilogy is in text form in the RDN site's Poems category. Read more...

Published

18 May 2016

Filed in

RDN's poems

“Scrap the BBC!” (2016) on BBC radio

This month saw the publication of the 2016 government White Paper on the BBC which as part of the 2016 Charter renewal process, will set the purposes, funding and governance of the state broadcaster for eleven years. I was wheeled out on Radio 5 Live and a couple of BBC Radio Scotland shows to defend my view that the BBC ought to be got rid of. Almost all the arguments I used in my book, "Scrap the BBC!": Ten years to set broadacsters free in 2007 seem germane now. The book's main fault was in supposing that by now, 2016, we would be further ahead in freeing ourselves of fear of losing the BBC. Indeed, the White Paper is at the very most merely a small step toward a reduced, let alone an abolished BBC. In one matter, the appetite to be rid of the flat, 12-month licence fee, I have better evidence than I did in 2007. It is an area, see below, in which I have a bit of a beef with Steve Hewlett, the country's leading media guru. Read more...

Published

17 May 2016

Filed in

National Media Trust, On TV & Radio, RDN's media outings

The Classics and modernity (#1)

This is a pair of essays on the theme of the Classics and their continuing influence. It's in two parts: #1 The Classics and Us (the reverberations of the Classical world on our civilisation) and #2 The Classics and Me (the reverberations of the Classical world on me much more personally). So this is #1... Read more...

Published

26 April 2016

Filed in

Mind & body

The Classics and modernity (#2)

This is a pair of essays on the theme of the Classics and their continuing influence. It's in two parts: #1 The Classics and Us (the reverberations of the Classical world on our civilisation) and #2 The Classics and Me (the reverberations of the Classical world on me much more personally). So this is #2... Read more...

Published

26 April 2016

Filed in

Mind & body

The Jungle Book (2016 movie)

This may well be a great movie: I know that I came away from it very willing to see it again soon. It had several jobs to do, and seemed to tick almost all the boxes. It is, perhaps first and foremost, a successful update of and homage to the previous Disney account, which has been loved by generations. Secondly, one supposes its makers wanted it to be a fair account of Rudyard Kipling's original book, and it is that. Thirdly, it had to be worth making: that is, it had to do something which can be done now which could not be done before, and it does. The fourth ambition was expressed by one of the team who made it: the storytellers should not get in the way of the story. Again, this movie succeeds. Read more...

Published

24 April 2016

Filed in

On movies

The UK economy and the welfare state

For an outing on the BBC 1 Big Questions ethics show, I pulled together some research on whether Britain was a fair society. My general view is that one should worry about the poor, on the assumption that they are unhappy because of poverty and need help. It is not a dead cert that people in need of help can be given it, of course. Moreover, it may well not matter whether (or even how much) a country is unequal. Nor is the amount of welfare spending by any means a perfect indicator of whether a country is a good place for either rich or poor to live. Other posts have discussed those themes. (Try an in-site search for "inequality".)  This one is intended to capture a picture of where the UK is compared with its neighbours, and - even more important - with other broadly comparable countries, in matters of wealth, welfare spending and educational outcomes. Read more...

Published

02 April 2016

Filed in

Mind & body, RDN's media outings

RDN on BBC shows: Syrian refugees

I was asked onto BBC1's The Big Questions (7 February 2016, Episode 5, Series 9); on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in (25 February 2016); and BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland (27 February 2016) to discuss whether Britain's stance on Syrian refugees was morally acceptable (TBQ) and whether one had a moral responsibility toward helping them (Call Kaye) or both (Good Morning Scotland). Read more...

Published

26 February 2016

Filed in

Mind & body, Politics & campaigns, RDN's media outings

Poem: Sir Percy “Hobo” Hobart, a 3-parter (text)

This long poem is in three parts. All of them are long, and intended to flow one from another, but each to make sense on its own. They have been written with an eye (or ear) to being read aloud briskly. An audio version is available here. Sir Percy Hobart (1885 – 1957) was a great man: he was crucial to the formation and training of Britain's WW2 tank units, but he was also creative and - in effect - a military publisher. Sir Percy Hobart, Part 1 Hobo, the man and commander Sir Percy Hobart, Part 2 Hobo the man of design and fabric Sir Percy Hobart, Part 3 The Hobo, his generation and their books Read more...

Published

19 August 2015

Filed in

RDN's poems

RDN on BBC Scotland: “Scrap the BBC!”

I had quite an interesting outing on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in show on the BBC's charter review which begins in earnest today. I argued as usual for the "nuclear option" of getting rid of this antiquated institution. Read more...

Published

16 July 2015

Filed in

National Media Trust, On TV & Radio, RDN's media outings
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