Saturday, 28 January 2012

Thatcher - The Downing Street Years

This is a BBC series that was made in 1993 to coincide with the release of the first volume of Margaret Thatcher's memoirs, The Downing Street Years.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Spirit Level debate

It is now three years since Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett's book The Spirit Level (TSL) was published, so enough time has now passed to allow the dust to settle on the debate that it generated.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cameron on the European Court of Human Rights

David Cameron has delivered a well publicised speech on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg.

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Time-traveller's Guide to Medieval England, Ian Mortimer

This is an interesting book on the life and mores of 14th century England by the popular writer and historian Ian Mortimer.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Labour - The Wilderness Years

This is a series of BBC documentaries on the history of the Labour Party from 1979 to the coming of Tony Blair.  It was originally broadcast in 1995 (when I remember watching it the first time around).  Most of it consists of narrative, interspersed with numerous interviews with characters including a silver-haired Tony Benn, a younger (and considerably more coherent) John Prescott and a supporting cast of various party grandees, MPs and union leaders, from Peter Mandelson to Peter Shore and from Tony Banks to Tony Blair.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Gay rights in Parliament

In this post, I look at four parliamentary debates on key pieces of gay rights legislation that were introduced in Britain in the late 20th and early 21st century.

Monday, 16 January 2012

A View from the Foothills, Chris Mullin

This is one of the volumes of the acclaimed political diaries of Chris Mullin, the former Labour MP.  It already appears to have become one of the standard inside accounts of the Blair years.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Some notes on Islamism

See now also here.

In this post, I want to trace some aspects of the history and ideology of the Islamist movement. 

Three dangerous ideas

1.  The Theory of Everything (a.k.a. the One True Way)

A Theory of Everything is essentially a closed ideological system: an all-embracing description of human society - or the human condition, or the universe in its entirety - which denies the possibility of its own refutation.  It typically takes the form of a political ideology or a religion.