Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Whither Brexit? - A response

Following my last blog post about Brexit, I received a lengthy response from a former civil servant which I'd like to reproduce in full (with edits to remove identifying personal details).

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The case of Bishop Bell

When Bishop George Bell of Chichester (served 1929-1958) was reported to have been a paedophile, it seemed all too familiar - a senior churchman exposed as an abuser.  We'd heard it all before.  Then, when a group of prominent lawyers and others formed to protest his cause, it felt like the establishment closing ranks yet again to protect one of their own.  But the story did not end there.

Whither Brexit?

Last week was the week that the hard Brexiters' luck finally ran out.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Two Tribes

Some interesting statistics from YouGov on the social and political views of Remain and Leave voters (see the links in this news story).

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sappho - Three Poems

Fragment 1 – A Prayer to Aphrodite

Louis XVI in the White House?

What is the driving force behind the alt-right?  The obvious answer is that the alt-right is the modern iteration of traditional American white supremacism.  The fact that these guys associate themselves with the symbols of the Confederacy and march with the KKK is something of a giveaway.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Ted Heath report

It seems that the police investigation into Sir Edward Heath has found only a rather small amount of evidence to substantiate the claim that he was a child abuser.  He may still have been guilty, of course, but this isn't even close to the Jimmy Savile case.  Yet, lest it be overlooked, today's report did contain this interesting statement about the allegedly asexual bachelor at paragraph 8.28.2:
Witnesses who were interviewed by investigators from Operation Conifer offered different opinions about Sir Edward Heath’s sexuality.  However two witnesses, who have not disclosed abuse, provided evidence that he was sexually active with consenting adults during parts of his life.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Boris Johnson and the enemy within

Boris Johnson has published his personal manifesto for Brexit; and, by a curious coincidence, this has happened just days before his boss is due to outline the Government's official manifesto for Brexit.  As his colleagues immediately realised, this is a thinly veiled application for the job of Prime Minister.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Jacob Rees-Mogg and the sleep of reason

Quentin Letts made the worst mistake possible when he described Jacob Rees-Mogg as the Honourable Member for the Eighteenth Century.  To tag JRM as an authentic survival of the era of squires and slavery is to make the basic error of taking the man at face value.  That the son of a journalist from Hammersmith can dress and talk like JRM in the year 2017 is not a sign of the persistence of historical conservatism - it amounts to a radically postmodern form of identity fluidity, a kind of hard-right equivalent of declaring oneself to be genderqueer.  In this sense, JRM is several degrees more radical than Jeremy Corbyn, who has never pretended to be anything other than a middle-class lefty.  It is JRM's good fortune that his eyecatching identity-shopping has coincided with a tendency to treat politics as a species of entertainment, a tendency which gives an advantage to "characters" like Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage over dull worthies like Amber Rudd and Vince Cable.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The DUP for English readers

I never thought that an abstruse knowledge of Troubles-era Northern Ireland political trivia would be of any practical use - but it seems that I was wrong.

Since Thursday night, the English voters seem to have discovered a few things about the DUP - in particular, that they are opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage.  These policies are enough to put them outside the political mainstream and to justify raising the question of whether they are suitable partners for Theresa May as she seeks to pull together a new parliamentary majority.  But there is more to the DUP than its social conservatism.  English readers might want to know a bit more about the small regional party that has suddenly found itself holding the balance of power in the Commons.  These guys are quite unusual in a number of ways.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The first Race Relations Act

This is a post about the parliamentary debates on the UK's first Race Relations Act, which was enacted in 1965.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Tom Bower, Broken Vows

Oh shit, oh shit.  Whatever why I'm so so missing Tony.  Because he is so charming and his clothes are so good.  He has such a good body and he had his really, really good legs Butt... and he is slim tall and good skin.  Pierce blue eyes which I love.  Love his eyes.
Such was the verdict of Wendi Deng on the Rt. Hon. Anthony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007.  Bower quotes these ill-chosen words from a haul of emails from News Corporation's servers.  His own verdict on the former premier is rather less flattering.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Blood of Emmett Till, Timothy B. Tyson

This is an account of one of the most notorious hate crimes in American history: the murder of Emmett Till.  It was written by Timothy Tyson, an academic and writer whose own roots lie in the lands of the old Confederacy.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Why did people vote Leave?

This post is largely intended to underline how much we don't know about the Brexit vote.