Scottish independence and the potency of nostalgic mythology

As an Englishman with strong Scottish connections I have watched the debate over Scottish independence with interest and no little frustration.  It has not been an edifying affair – apart from that moment of weakness from Salmond, when his utter inability to provide intelligent answers about a Scottish currency laid bare the fact that there was […]

Don’t mention the war: Greens, Iraq and Godwin’s law

Earlier this year, Brighton and Hove City Council passed a motion of no confidence in its Green administration.  The debate was a curious affair, illustrating much about Brighton and Hove politics; in particular the way in which, nominally about the record of the administration, it turned into a series of personal attacks on Labour’s leader […]

Remembering 1914

Part of the point of commemorating the hundredth anniversary of a war is the certainty that nobody who served in it will still be alive.  It is the point at which, definitively, that war has passed from direct into reported experience; history that can be turned into mythology, without the inconvenience of spontaneous testimony from […]

So … why isn’t Caroline speaking?

Saturday’s big London demonstration against the cuts matters.  It matters more in the face of a Budget that, predictably enough, has favoured big business and non-doms at the expense of ordinary people – and following economic indicators showing that Osborne’s slash-and-burn economic policies are failing.  Yes, marches don’t change the world. The biggest demonstration in […]

Selling Wootton Bassett short

It has been announced that Wootton Bassett will henceforth be known as “Royal”, like Tunbridge Wells and Leamington Spa.  The decision was apparently taken in response to a personal initiative by David Cameron, and, we are told, recognises the vigils undertaken by people in the town as the bodies of British soldiers were repatriated after […]

… but it's booming in Basra. Possibly.

The folks in Britain contemplating an economic situation that appears to be going downhull fast could at least celebrate the fact that, according to today’s Guardian, the economy in Basra is booming.  That was the message from the outgoing UK Commander, the splendidly-named Major General Barney White-Spunner. It appears that property prices have doubled since […]