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 6 of all posts

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

Economic affairs, 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

Economic affairs, 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

Military Covenant, 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

EU obligations to Med-migrants

I have had a couple of recent outings on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in show, on the UK's obligations - and Scotland's in particular - toward the "Med-migrants". My line, I am almost sorry to say, was that we will probably need to be cruel to be kind.... Read more...

Published

14 May 2015

Filed in

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

RDN on democracy on BBC R2 Vine Show

I had an outing on the Jeremy Vine Show, discussing the anger which many people seem to feel that "their side" didn't win. Yes, I said: democracy involves a contest between two or more parties, and they all need to be as electable as possible, and the process as civilised as possible.... Read more...

Published

12 May 2015

Filed in

Politics & campaigns

Eye-witness: Billy Filson-Young’s death, May ’45

I have set myself to commemorate the life and death of Wing Commander Billy Filson-Young, and - more broadly - his family. My father Paul North, Billy's half-brother, in 1990 gathered new material about his brothers and here is an eye-witness account written around then. Read more...

Published

12 May 2015

Filed in

Military Covenant

Vera Bax poems for “The Fallen”, her WW2 sons

Vera Bax, poet and painter, lost two sons in WW2. Both were RAF pilots. She wrote a sequence of four poems on losing them. Some of the poems have been in various anthologies ever since. Read more...

Published

11 May 2015

Filed in

Mind & body, RDN's poems
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