Thursday, 13 August 2015


Ah, there I was with last blog anticipating a new era in British politics post the General Election.  In the end it was all a complete let-down.  No slugging it out between Labour and Tory, no breakthrough by UKIP, no realignment of progressive parties to keep the Tories out.  No move towards PR as a result.  Same old Tory hierachy, now released (as we have already seen) to carry out it own extreme agenda irrespective of only getting 36% of the total vote.  I guess you can see where my sympathies lie!
Now we have a leadership contest for Labour that is creating real interest, and a man who has emerged from the 'loony left' to speak honestly and straightforwardly about issues that affect us all.  It's so refreshing that Jeremy Corbyn is clearly not in the mould of standard party hack that he is a tempting option to consider.  Some say he is unelectable as a Prime Minister - I say so what?  The next election is five years away, so in the mean time let's have Tory ideas tested against real left-wing opposition.
But I think I know in my heart that the norm will prevail, just as it did at the general election, and one of the other career politicians will come through.  But did you notice how Andy Burnham is now claiming he has never been part of the political establishment, or wrapped in the Westminster bubble? It's what I call the Corbyn effect.

On another tack completely, I recently read  a novel called "The Circle" by David Eggers.  It is the story of the takeover of society by an Internet company and its social media arm.  Some deride it as nonsense, but they mainly come from the rarified cyber world.  It does take current use of the Internet to an extreme, but it does show where it all could end up, if we are not careful.  Total absorbtion in social media networks, a life responding to Facebook and Twitter messages, the pressure to report everything we do in order to be seen to be sharing experiences.  The expunging of those who refuse to be online for their whole lives, with their every action and locale known by everyone.  All in the cause of sharing and being part of some insidious whole.  Read it - laugh in amusement, and growing horror.  I mean, do you really want a fridge that automatically orders more milk from a supermarket delivery service because it can't find any on its shelves?

Thursday, 23 April 2015


Here we are in the middle of a general election campaign that promises to produce a very interesting result.  And yet I can't get worked up about it.  I think it's because I just want to get to the finishing line now.  I've had enough of politicians promising all sorts of goodies, if I vote for them.  It would seem we can have lower taxes, higher pensions, more funding of the NHS and also cut the deficit at the same time.  Amazing how this can all be done just before an election, but not for the five years before it, and probably not for the next five years after it.  I also saw the end of a Nigel Farage interview on TV yesterday, where he actually said that, if the government lowered taxes, there could be an uplift in the economy that meant more income would flow into the Exchequer.  He insisted it could happen.  Not a matter to base your budget strategy on though, is it?

I am currently involved in the next Stables production, which is "Anne Boleyn" by Howard Brenton.  It is full of the political scheming around Henry VIII's desire for a divorce from his first wife, so he can marry the fecund Anne.  While Anne is shown as fervently for bringing Protestantism to England out of religious conviction, Henry is persuaded by a very different motive.  Not only will he become Head of the Church and be able to approve his own divorce, all monastic revenues will accrue to him and not the Pope.  Taxes and money make the world go round, then as now.

The play is seen through the eyes of James I, and he makes a very perceptive comment at the end of the play.  One that is pertinent in the present day of ISIS and Fundamentalist Christianity.  He says "Why is it that all we do in the name of God is always exactly the same as what we need to do in our own self-interest?"

Think on.

Friday, 30 January 2015

I have had an email from a fan asking about my progress on the Georgian novel featuring Joe Malinferno and Doll Pocket.  It made me feel guilty about the lack of progress I have been amking on both it and the new Falconer book.  I confess I have not been writing much for the last three months, and now I must remedy that.  I am split between making headway with either book, and need to decide which one I will concentrate on first.  The Falconer has been begun, and calls me more urgently, whereas the Georgian book needs more research.  But research fascinates me more than the task of writing!  Maybe I can dovetail both together.
In the meantime, my am-dram hobby calls and I am going to direct "Blithe Spirit" by Noel Coward in July.  It is a perennial favourite in the theatre, and I shall be looking for fresh ideas to revive it for a new audience.