Tag Archives: politics

How The Middle East Became Another Planet

From Flash Gordon’s Ming the Merciless with his harem and his war rocket Ajax, to Frank Herbert’s prophecy-obsessed desert tribes in Dune battling over a valuable resource, the Middle East has always been another planet to western science fiction creators. … Continue reading

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Brunel, Bristol and re-forging history

Confession. I have this big crush on Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Or rather, on Kenneth Branagh as IKB, with those sideburns and a stovepipe hat, quoting  Shakespeare at the Olympic opening ceremony; an engineering Renaissance man. Perhaps it played a subconscious … Continue reading

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Hacks on Film: Essential viewing and reading

This is an updated version of an article I first wrote for The Spectator blog, that formed the basis of a lecture to journalism students at Kingston University in October. It has links to scripts, films and articles about all … Continue reading

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The Politics of Spin: Beware the bland bomb

Image copyright & courtesy of www.barrydbulsara.com “I’m not sure it says government is crap,” said Armando Iannucci recently, of his political satire The Thick of It. “I think it says the people in government are crap.” Nowadays politicians and their … Continue reading

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In Hulme: a stately Hippodrome decree’d

There is a grand Victorian theatre house where Laurel and Hardy once performed, Nina Simone sang and the Beatles made their first radio recording. If it were in Stratford-Upon-Avon or central London, the rich paintwork and red plush seats and … Continue reading

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What the hell’s the Presidency for? Re-assessing LBJ

This is based on my interview with  author Robert Caro and fellow American writer, Michael Goldfarb for BBC Radio 3 Night Waves on June 6th. You can listen to the programme here. (last 18 minutes) Which US President won an election with the largest ever … Continue reading

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Mea culpa: But only after making the money

Sir Mervyn King’s recent admisson that he should have been “shouting from the rooftops” about the dangers of the banking system before the 2008 crash seems to add to my theory, written for The Big Issue about the number of … Continue reading

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The Missing Angle on the Arab Spring: The Soviet Era dissident’s tale

I met renowned Polish Jewish journalist, Konstanty Gebert, from Gazeta Wyborcza at an EU conference for Arab journalists last year. His family had mostly died in the Warsaw Ghetto, his mother survived to take up arms with the Communists and … Continue reading

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Don’t Go There, Lady

I wrote to journalist and future doctor Lucy Mathen as a child when she presented Newsround. More than 30 years later we met. I wrote a feature about it for The Guardian. And as a result of learning about how … Continue reading

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Women and the Arab Spring

Here are some good links on the speakers at the Women Of The World (WOW) Arab Spring panel discussion 3pm Saturday March 10th it the Purcell Room in London’s Southbank Centre. I’m chairing.  Whether you are coming or not, the … Continue reading

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