Mists and mellow fruitfulness



The days are growing shorter, leaves are falling and seasonal melancholy fills the air. Walking my neighbour’s fat dog has given me the opportunity to see the best of autumn in one of our local parks. The maple tree opposite…

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The NHS in crisis



Before the end of the Warsaw Pact, when Eastern Europe had Communist regimes, I visited countries in that part of the world several times (USSR, Poland, East Germany). The British Embassies in their capitals always inspired me with pride. They…

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Harassment and abuse



Sexual harassment and abuse accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein have made news headlines on both sides of the Atlantic during the past week or two. Mr Weinstein has become the target of a media feeding frenzy, and most people…

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Campaigns for Independence



During the build-up to Scotland’s independence referendum of September 2014 we learned a lot about campaigns for independence. The topics debated included democracy, the economy, international relations, defence, immigration and border controls, citizenship, agriculture, energy provision, taxation, welfare, childcare, health…

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Prequels



Horrible word, isn’t it? In fact, I don’t think it’s a word. It has no place in the English language. Yet no classic novel is safe from writers determined to tell us what happened before the novel started, what the characters were…

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Revisiting Lincoln – a footnote



I returned to Lincoln ten days ago to refresh my memory about the 1217 Battle (see previous blog) and to renew acquaintance with that beautiful little city – which boasts the longest cathedral in England, at one time the world’s…

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More of Amazon’s bad behaviour



On May 25th this year I posted a blog about Amazon’s random and inconsistent selection of book reviews: it posts some and not others, and the alleged basis on which it chooses is not matched by its practice. This isn’t…

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Exactly eight hundred years ago, two old people saved England



In 1215, King John of England was obliged to sign Magna Carta, now regarded as the prototype of one of our most treasured principles: freedom for all citizens under the rule of law. It’s even been considered the harbinger of…

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A boost for national pride



While the UK government has become handicapped and intermittently paralysed by internal bickering, and has succeeded in making itself a source of annoyance and frustration in the European Union and ridicule throughout the rest of the world, something has happened…

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My new play “Bequest” had its first public performance yesterday evening



Well, we did it! The Anonymous Three Theatre Company (Carol, Patsy and me) strikes again! Eighty people in the audience; they laughed at most of the jokes; they applauded at the end… Only one minor glitch with the lines, which…

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