‘If a man is not Socialist at 20 he has no heart. If he is not Conservative at 40 he has no brain’

By Monday, December 30, 2013 0 Permalink

A couple of months ago, an old friend and I decided to watch the entire House of Cards trilogy (the British version aired in the early '90s not the recent Kevin Spacey US version). We laughed at how dated it seemed and admired the brilliance that was Ian Richardson. I feigned mock horror at how it had shaped my  impressionable childhood mind about politics and was certainly part of the reason I ever became interested at all. The truth is, yes technology and attitudes have changed, and the way we work  is very different, the early '90s might as well be 60 years ago in that respect. But the Machiavellian machinations and base morals are all still as prevalent as ever, just hidden a whole lot better. Or perhaps the public have become immune. At least one knew with Francis Urquhart, who is possibly one of the most alluringly wicked TV characters of all ...

‘Are there any hell raising rascals left?’

By Sunday, December 15, 2013 0 Permalink

As a child I was forced to watch one of Papa's favourite films, 'Lawrence of Arabia' at least a dozen times. I can't say I ever truly enjoyed the experience, and while many of his choices have ended up in my top twenty favourites, this one is not in there. However, Peter O' Toole, who sadly passed away today, did leave a lasting impression upon me as a distinguished, handsome and brilliant actor. He also is very much tied up with my childhood and how I think of Papa so his passing is especially poignant for me. As an actor, O'Toole's presence, like several of his generation, had a very distinct and authoritative feel. While 'Lawrence of Arabia' may have left me cold, I can still think of how he looked and acted without having to look through any video clips. The role he played which really makes it poignant and forces me to reminisce is ...

‘What now for Ukraine’?

By Tuesday, December 3, 2013 1 Permalink

I confess I have a soft spot for Ukraine. It is a beautiful and awe inspiring country which has given both the world and me a great deal. My trip there was a turning point in my life. It is a complex nation and deserves a lot more than the current violent upheaval. The shocking protests in Kiev, which we have seen in recent days, highlight the huge chasm between the interests of national parties and those of its people.  Something which is quite apparent in many countries - Ukraine is not peculiar in this. The Eurosceptics have heralded the rejection of the agreement by President Yanukovich as a victory for their camp. It clearly isn't, and to me shows how people can protest so ardently in favour of joining and being part of the EU. Russia say it is a victory for them. It isn't. Threats to a former Soviet state are an unfair ...