Shtisel

Written 17 May 2021 I have just finished series 3 of Shtisel on Netflix. Or rather, I watched series 1 and 2 last year, started watching series 3 and then my wife said after watching a couple of episodes that she’d always wished she’d watched the earlier series so we went right back to the beginning and so I watched it all the way through. Israel seems a real hotspot for producing good TV over recent years. Well, I say that and it’s my experience having watched Shtisel itself and before that Fauda, but I have to say I watch...

A Fine Balance

Written 12 May 2021 This novel is described as an epic, it is certainly sweeping and describes the interconnected lives of characters in post-Independence India. Most of the storyline is set during the time of the emergency laws of the mid-1970s and it wraps up shortly after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. The cast takes in Muslims and Hindus and Parsees, and it is set largely in Mumbai (the big “City on the Sea” in the novel is never named but it is clearly Mumbai).* The book is long, but as with all well written books it soon...

England and Ideology

Written 8 May 2021 I’m writing this as the Hartlepool by election result and most council elections are through but before having final results from Scotland and London. Certainly more than enough to keep the opinion columnists busy, and to be honest it’s unlikely I’ll be able to add too much to the huge amounts that will be written over the coming days and weeks let alone the reams over recent years on the realignment in English politics we are seeing. What we are seeing is the working out through the first past the post system of changes that have...

Scotland (1)

Written 6 May 2021 I’d been meaning to put something down on Scotland before now but find myself on the day of what we are told are huge elections writing in rather a hurry. It’s perhaps indicative of the state of the United Kingdom that one feels one must make an apology for writing a piece on Scottish independence as an Englishman, but never mind. I’m English (with some connections to Scotland) and a UK citizen so I do have an interest in the question. My position on Scottish independence is that I would be rather sad if Scotland did...

Fools, Frauds and Firebrands | Thinkers of the New Left

Written 3 May 2021 I had “something by Roger Scruton” on my list of books to read this year and have managed it. I’ve become more interested in Roger Scruton over the last few years and have come to see him as a thinker who touches on very important themes and deserves to be taken seriously, not least because he is at least able to articulate what a political conservative is, a task that seems to be beyond all politicians standing for notionally conservative parties. When I was growing up in the 1980s he was, with a small group of...

Technical 1

Written 28 April 2021 This is just to form some sort of record on what I’ve done: I started from basically having effectively no knowledge on how to build a blog, and that’s still the case. I have something up and running, I understand a few basic concepts, but I have a very long way to go and lots still to learn. Rather naively, when I looked into starting a blog about a year ago I got my self a WordPress account and then thought that was it. I was away. I don’t know when I realised that in fact...

Why blog?

Written 28 April 2021 Having set up the website and written a few things the question arises why I’ve decided to do this. There’s no single reason for, it is perhaps easier to set out what are not the reasons but anyway here goes. Twitter describes itself as a “microblogging” site. At least it did, but it isn’t really anymore. I used to love Twitter, and I still think that the world is overall a better place for it, but having spent a number of years slowly getting the hang of it, interacting with really interesting people and being exposed...

Easter 2020

Written 13 April 2020 So, thought I would have a crack at another post. I’ve read my first post and think it’s not that good to be honest, a bit all over the place. I’ve never really been one to write longish pieces, I studied maths and science from the age of 16 so developing any sort of writing ability has always felt like a bit of a long haul, though after more than thirty years I am now much better than I was when I first started working. Still, no excuses, like anything writing is easy to throw stones...

Progress and Poverty

I’ve finally got round to reading Progress and Poverty by Henry George, a book I’d never heard of until a few years ago. In fact, when I say read I mean that I downloaded it on my Kindle and read some of it but I’ve got through most of it using a free audiobook/podcast which I found good. I generally read in the evenings and it is not the easiest book to read, it needs concentration, there is a lot in it and it is very much a book of its time in terms of style. Background Before setting down...

The Current Crisis

Written 5 April 2020 After a month or so of following the news, watching the daily news conferences and reading the coverage in the media and seeing the issue of the pandemic moving up the agenda my strong impression now is that policy in the UK and throughout the Western world is being formed in a vacuum. In the UK we see a Government that has been given significant power in law and now acting without Parliamentary opposition (Parliament is not even in session, setting aside the fact that the Labour Party is in the midst of an extended, inward...