Christmas, 2013 that is.
If you want to 'pre-order' (dread phrase: why not just 'order' it?) my forthcoming book then I certainly won't stop you and you can do it here.
Be warned though, it will take some time arriving as I am due to submit the final manuscript to Bloomsbury in January, er possibly February.
The cover is, by the way, provisional: any suggestions for alternatives??Read More
The second season of BBC2's The Hour has ended. Set around a late 1950s current affairs television programme based in Lime Grove, the series evokes the glamour of Mad Men more than the reality of working for the BBC at this time: none of the protagonists looks anything like portly Panorama presenter Richard Dimbleby.
What the series inevitably does not give its c. 1.5 million viewers is, then, an authentic insight into the period: instead it presents a picture of the 1950s observed through a bottle-thick twenty-first centuryRead More
Apparently, it does not.
For the last few years the Political Studies Association – which its website claims ‘exists to develop and promote the study of politics’ – holds an Annual Awards ceremony to which it invites what passes in the political world for the glitterati - a politeratti?
The object, I think, is to raise the profile of the Association, and so the study of politics, by getting the event reported in the media by those journalists invited along for that very purpose. This year the eventRead More
In June I spoke at a conference on The Making of a Monarchy for the Modern World, one held in Kensington Palace, home of the young Princess Victoria; I actually delivered my paper in the bedroom she shared with her mother. Not at all weird, that! The organisers recorded my talk, so if you can bear my voice, here it is although you might be better off reading this History and Policy post which summarises my argument.
Then, in November, I delivered, the second Republic John Campbell Annual Lecture on the sameRead More
On 27th November I participated in Radio 4’s The State of Welfare. This marked the 70th anniversary of the publication of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services – better known as the Beveridge Report, after its chair and inspiration William Beveridge (pictured above), something that is generally regarded as laying the foundations of the post-war welfare state.
The State of Welfare took up most of Radio 4’s morning schedule and I helped kick if off along with Jose Harris, by providing some context for the Report itself. For December 1942 was a very peculiarRead More
There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle over Armando Iannucci’s acceptance of an OBE. Alastair Campbell has accused Iannucci of hypocrisy because, despite his situation comedy The Thick of It mocking the Establishment, he has happily received an honour from the same source.
As I have spent some time analysing The Thick of It, for my forthcoming study of politics and fiction, I thought I'd make a contribution to this debate for Ballots and Bullets.Read More
I was invited by the Policy Network to respond to one of their latest publications, A Centre-Left Project for New Times, which maps out how European social democrats might respond to the current political situation.
I decided to focus on 'equality' - an issue that is supposed to differentiate the left from the right but which New Labour was afraid of embracing too warmly for fear of putting off key voters.
As a result, as you can see from the above graph, not much was done to reverse the massive increase in inequality that occurred under Margaret Thatcher. Here are my thoughts.
The Spongers was broadcast on BBC1 in 1978 and depicted the travails of Pauline, a single parent, one of whose children has special needs. Written by Jim Allen - recently praised for the play by Christopher Ecclestone - the story was given a special piquancy as Pauline's problems are set against celebrations on her council estate to mark the Queen's 1977 Silver Jubilee.
Her problems are exacerbated as Pauline's Labour-run council is having to make cuts to its social services, which means her daughter is moved from an expensive facility specially designed for childrenRead More