Xmas Reviews: A Right Royal Tosser

by

They say love is blind, but had the Queen been to Specsavers, she might have spotted quite how awful, sleazy and deeply stupid her favourite son is. Prince Andrew’s life began promisingly enough: blessed with good looks and an innate confidence, he was the apple of his mother’s eye. read more

Xmas Reviews: How To Be A Liberal: from Brexit Britain to Trump’s America to Orban’s Hungary, liberalism is under attack [Editor’s Choice]

by

As four years of a Trump presidency come to an end and Brexit negotiations crawl towards increasingly unsatisfactory conclusions, Ian Dunt’s latest comment on the power inherent to liberalism is a breath of unpolluted air. Never has nationalism been more pressingly on the global agenda, especially in the wake of a pandemic that has resolutely ignored geopolitics and cross-border controls. read more

Sharing With The Group

by

It is conventional wisdom that men don’t read books by women very much. I am not sure of the basis for this belief. It may well be true and is probably because in our prejudiced way, men are not much interested in women’s ideas. Or it might also be because it is a bit frightening to know what they really think about life and their experience of the male. The female gaze can fall far short of romantic. read more

Britain? You’re Welcome To It…

by

My father was born in 1904 to Russian-Jewish refugee parents. They had fled one of the repeated and murderous Russian and Eastern European pogroms carried out in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The following year Britain enacted its first real immigration legislation with the Aliens Act. This had been specifically drafted to deal with the Jewish migrations. Prior to that there was no official barrier to migrants and the country had received, (though without enthusiasm) the Huguenots in the C16th and the Irish following the famines. We managed to accommodate thousands of Poles and Hungarians in the post-war, Cold War 1950s and Ugandan Asians in the 1960s – though again to popular disapproval. read more

Crazy Crowds

by

The history of how humanity developed its social and political institutions has never been free of violence. Much of this has been to do with power struggles, initially between competing cliques and subsequently between nation states – as evidenced by centuries of international wars. In the European west especially however there has been a parallel struggle for social justice – itself far from pacifist in expression. read more

God’s Pretty Game of Grotesque Puppets

by

Sex, death and madness …are continuing themes that resonate even when diminuendo in so many of our efforts to express understanding of the human condition. More than anything else they unite art and science as a source of endeavour in that enterprise. Reflect for yourself if you will on what the basic questions of science (including social science), the celebrated works of culture and philosophy, are about. This is merely a book review. read more

Girls on Top

by

I love America. Especially when I am there, where the good things about the nation are more in evidence. Simply because you are physically connected to place and people. The main thing is that the USA does everything bigger and in brighter colours – even the sleaze and squalor. Of course, being white and speaking English makes life easier; possession of money even more so. read more

Leave Me Breathless

by

In May 2013, I reviewed a book titled This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas. I think it must have been her first book - it certainly started a series of similar title. I wasn’t unkind about the writer but ‘chick lit’ is not my thing. I confess to a degree of condescension, and I doubt the publisher or author would find a suitable promotional endorsement in my piece: except that I had acknowledged her possibilities as a ‘good’ writer which in my terms simply meant she could do better than the cliché ridden pabulum of the genre. This was, of course, incredibly snobbish, and I apologise. read more