Books, TV and Films, September 2021

As I become more and more disillusioned with day-to-day politics — whether it is the rigidity and staleness of politicians constantly reciting ‘the party line’ or the rise of political lying as an art form and the failure of both parliament and the media to hold proven liars to account — I find myself drawn back to the more civilised world of political philosophy, political theories and ideologies, and underlying values. I very much regret not working hard enough at a unit of my degree called Modern Ideologies. Political Philosophy: A Beginners’ Guide for Students and Politicians by Adam Swift is the sort of introductory text I wish had been available back then.

Books, TV and Films, July 2021

Books, TV & Films, July 2021

Books, TV and Films, June 2021

If Carlsberg did books, they would probably publish something like Tom Holland’s Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind. This is a BIG book — big in scale and scope, big in ambition, big in subject matter. In lager terms, much more of a flagon than a pint…

Books, TV and Films, April 2021

3 April I avoid opening Amazon’s emails telling me what their omniscient algorithms think I should be buying and I never even look at the latest fiction and non-fiction charts so, other than skimming the Guardian’s Review magazine on Saturdays, I am always rather…

Books, TV and Films, March 2021

1 March Having just watched the recent Elisabeth Moss film The Invisible Man, I am reading the original novel, written by HG Wells and published in 1897, the same year as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I have never been scientifically minded but two film adaptations…

Books, TV and Films, February 2021

1 February Age of Empire 1875–1914 is the final part of Eric Hobsbawm’s trilogy about what he called ‘the long nineteenth century’, beginning with the French Revolution in 1789 and ending with the outbreak of war in 1914. I bought this book at university…

Books, TV and Films, November 2020

1 November With a due sense of dread I have started to read Bohemian Rhapsody: The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones. I generally avoid the ‘popular’ biography genre — books about celebrities written for a mass-market audience. From the few I…

Books, TV and Films, July 2020

1 July Some thoughts, to begin with, on Philomena and On Chesil Beach, two films I watched last week on the BBC and thoroughly enjoyed. I was already aware of Martin Sixsmith, who wrote the book on which Philomena is based, from his time…

Books, TV and Films, June 2020

6 June After seeing a tweet from the great Steven Pinker a few days ago, I decided to reread Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace by Hans J Morgenthau. It was a book that I used a lot at university. My…

British Politics and Failures of Leadership

Oh, to be in EnglandNow that April’s there Robert Browning Well, almost there. At time of writing, the end of March beckons. Our gardens and open spaces are reawakening, the evenings are stretching their limbs, the weather is more friendly. Time to look forward…