Punditocracy – How Do We Explain The Appeal of Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy_Corbyn

How do we explain the appeal of Jeremy Corbyn? Or to be precise how do we explain that everyone in the media is talking about Jeremy Corbyn? He is supposed to be leading the race for leadership of the Labour Party. That is the consensus amongst the pundits, and the story is running and running.

The source of the notion that Corbyn is now poised to win the top job in the Labour Party is based on two fairly dubious pieces of data. First is a leak of an alleged private poll. This is claimed to show Corbyn ahead but there are no other details. The other is a Yougov poll which the pollsters themselves issued with a strong caveat that it was no more than a ‘grainy snapshot’. Continue reading

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The Ministry of Spin by Richard Milton

Hello I’m Colin Sanders and this is the History Books Review where I read history books and tell you what I think of them, and maybe pick a few interesting points out to give you a taste. This time I’m covering a new book called The Ministry of Spin by Richard Milton, an author whose work I haven’t really come across before.

We all have odd memories that stick in our minds from a young age. I have one from some time in the early seventies. It was an advert on the television advising of the wisdom of making sure you know what is behind you when driving. It was a cartoon that showed a man driving a car that gradually panned out to show that he was being followed by a turban wearing man on an elephant. You should use your mirror frequently. Good advice! I hope you take note. It was credited to the Central Office of Information. Continue reading

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The Suppression of the School Of Athens – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 40 Part 4

Suppression of the School of Athens

The extraordinary flowering of thought in Athens in the fifth century before Christ has demanded an explanation but has defied submitting to one. People have suggested all sorts of reasons from the development of the Greek economy to the availability of exceptionally nutritious shellfish.

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Hagia Sofia – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 40 Part 4

Hagia Sophia

The largest man-made enclosed space in the world is the Pentagon. The United States is a big country, with a big opinion of itself and which asserts that it has an important mission. Their defence headquarters is not just somewhere to keep their photocopy paper. It is a building that is meant to impress. Continue reading

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Stuffocation by James Wallman

 

I don’t know about you, but my life is absolutely full of stuff and rubbish. I have just spent a Sunday afternoon filling my Berlingo with things surplus to my well being. I am off to dispose of it. And in a triumph of hope and habits over bitter and direct experience I’m also going to an electrical retail store to purchase some new goods. Continue reading

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The Second Draft of History

Nick Clegg is sad because he had wrecked his party

Nick Clegg is sad because he had wrecked his party

They say journalism is the first draft of History The first draft of anything isn’t very good so that seems to fit. But there are times when journalism manages to get onto the second draft. There was a very interesting article by Patrick Wintour in the Guardian this week. It told the inside story of the Liberal Democrats’ election campaign and indeed of the years leading up to it. Continue reading

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Nika Nika! Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 40 Part 3

Nika Nika

You know how strong a marriage is when it has to cope with a problem. Justinian and Theodora had a crisis early on in their reign.  But they were a tough and resourceful couple.  She was from the streets. He was a wily peasant who knew that he had landed on the throne by luck and that it could all unwind easily enough. He had his bags packed and was ready to go if things went wrong. Continue reading

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Four Reasons The Lib Dems Won’t Be Back

our reasons the lib dems won't be back

Looking at what I said on Twitter prior to the election I could probably claim to have predicted the result.  But I wouldn’t be telling the truth.  I accurately foresaw that the Tories would get more votes than the polls were predicting.  This wasn’t actually too difficult.  In almost every election I have followed since 1983 the polls have underestimated the Tory vote.  Why this easily verified fact catches out all the commentators every time is a mystery.  But it has prevented me being disappointed by false hopes many times now. Continue reading

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Silk – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 40 Part 2

byzantine silk Globalisation is not a new thing.  The Roman and Chinese economies were linked by the trade between them, and this trade was significant enough to have an effect on their economies.  Although they weren’t in a direct dialogue with one another, they were aware of each other’s existence and the policies they followed made a difference. Continue reading

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The Rise of Justinian – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 40 Part 1

justinian

The Byzantine Empire survived the turmoil that had wrecked the western Roman Empire despite having some pretty unimpressive leadership.  Leo was the first emperor to use Greek for his legislation, but had little notable impact on the big picture.  His successor was Zeno who was newly in post when the western Empire was ended.  He consolidated the situation in the East but there was still instability at the top with other candidates for the throne creating problems.  Zeno’s reign was briefly interrupted by the reign of Basiliscus.  He was finally succeed by Anastasius, who owed his elevation to the favour of Zeno’s widow.  This was hardly the most legitimate of grounds for rule, and to add to the problem he contrived to approach death childless and with no obvious heir. Continue reading

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