I, Daniel Blake: Corbynism on celluloid?

I’m writing this having just returned home from seeing Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake  -a powerful, visceral but – in my view – flawed film about one man’s struggle with the vicious, bureaucratic mess that is the UK benefits system.  Because the film was obviously made to expound a political message, I think it is […]

BBC statistics review – missing the point?

You may have missed it, but the BBC Trust is conducting a review of how the Corporation uses statistics in its news coverage, focusing on economics, welfare, migration and health – which pretty well covers the main domestic issues of controversy.  The Trust has called for submissions from interested organisations and individuals with specialist knowledge – […]

Wagner, Left politics and high culture

I’ve come across a number of pieces recently about what is described as the Philistinism of the British political and media class. Writing in today’s Guardian,  Martin Kettle describes how Angela Merkel made a public appearance at the Bayreuth Festival for the new production of Wagner’s Ring, and how such an event would, he argues, […]

The Spirit of ’45: a flawed but powerful message for contemporary politics

You would need a heart of stone – or to be Liam Byrne – not to shed a tear during The Spirit of ’45.  My moment came when the retired doctor – one of a number of individuals whose reflections and reminiscences punctuated the narrative, and whose demeanour might have been made for a white […]

Tory benefits campaign: ideology as a bridge of lies

The Conservative Party has launched a campaign which seeks to distinguish between hard-working families and scroungers, through a poster depicting an unshaven person lounging  on a sofa in contrast to a modest 2.4 children family who emphasise the virtues of diligent work.  It is all of a piece with George Osborne’s rhetoric about those who […]

Local rag in freedom of speech fury

A small storm is brewing in the media world in Brighton, with a claim that the monopoly local paper, the Argus, has threatened the Brighton Green party with “consequences” after a Green Party member set up a Twitter account and website criticising and ridiculing its standards of journalism. The full story can be found here.  […]

In praise of Molesworth

It was sad to read today that Ronald Searle, the cartoonist who created St Trinians and collaborated on the Molesworth books has died.  Molesworth, the Gorilla of 3b, and his motley collection of fellow-pupils at St Custard’s, presided over by the venal Grimes, was a huge part of my childhood; I too attended a minor […]