Village Remembrance in Bampton

In need of bacon, as one often is on a Sunday morning, I nipped into the Bampton shop just before the village remembrance parade. A young lad, about thirteen I'd guess, walked in and moved, a little hesitantly, towards a spot just in front of me in the queue. The usual uniform. Trainers. Trackie bottoms. Hoodie.... Continue Reading →

RAF Manston officers’ mess party tricks. Revisited.

It was in 1993 when she was 70. I'd thrown a party and, of course, Ma was invited too.  She wasn't the sort of mother you'd leave off the invitation list.  Not only were parties her natural element, but all my friends adored her.  There would have been trouble had she been left on the bench. She... Continue Reading →

Rock ‘n Roll actually *is* noise pollution.

Oxford City Council has opened a consultation about the dreadful menace that is “non-compliant busking and street entertainment”. Presumably, this will mean that only council-sanctioned, compliant busking and entertainment will be - at a push - acceptable. In the meantime, there will have to be auditions... The scene opens on a meeting room in the City Council offices.... Continue Reading →

Top Gear = Middle Lane

The camera pans onto the three new presenters of "Middle Lane", the BBC's replacement for the disgraced Top Gear. They are John Prescott, Boris Johnson and Harriet Harman.  Each sits on a special chair, crafted from recycled Routemaster seats, complete with tartan upholstery.  Prescott gets two to himself.  They sit around a (fairtrade) coffee table... Continue Reading →

Dialogue or broadcast? Where’s democracy going?

The way we communicate has always changed. We’ve discovered and harnessed new media time and again – all the way from cuneiform to computers. But the newest change is possibly the most powerful and is already starting to change the way we’re governed, sold to and employed. Actually, that’s not quite accurate – yet. What... Continue Reading →

Aristotle, the web and modern citizenship

In early August 2011, the UK’s citizens got involved in politics in a very practical way.  They looted, burned and rioted their way across London, Salford, Manchester and Birmingham. Commentators will debate the reasons – and the ethics -  for years to come, but its clear that these were people who are not usually politically active. ... Continue Reading →

Don’t vote. It just encourages them?

It’s election day 2015. Politicians are, depending on the colours of their allegiance, either about to start weeping into their espresso or taking a pull on another celebratory pint of bitter. In the European elections last year, Marine Le Pen's Front National topped a nationwide poll for the first time ever. The UK front pages... Continue Reading →

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