Tag Archives: Politics

Trump Isn’t Hitler. He Is Augustus. And That Is Nearly As Bad

Ruler of the world, but not his own hair

I don’t think it is a great idea to use historical parallels as a guide to present day actions. Just because things played out a particular way back then there’s no reason they should do so again in the same way. And worse than that, historical parallels can be very bad guides to action. For example, the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden described Egyptian president Nasser as another Hitler to justify invading Egypt to take control of the Suez canal. Continue reading

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He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

In Victorian Britain married women were firmly under the control of men.  They were obliged to be obedient to their husbands and could not own property independent of him.  Okay it sounds great in theory, but how did it actually work? Continue reading

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Filed under 19th Century, History in Culture

Why Is Brexit Taking So Long? Five Whys.

brexit-five-whys

This is an unedited first draft – I’ll tidy it up later.

I am very impatient about Brexit. I really want the process to start and to get us outside of the EU as quickly as possible. My reasoning for this is quite simple. I want to get back in. At the moment if you complain about leaving the EU when the decision has been made to leave it you sound a bit pathetic. The argument has been had and my side has lost it. It is quite reasonable for people to say we should move on. And indeed we should. I am not looking forward to leaving, but it does have the consolation that when we are outside people campaigning to get back in will be the radical outsiders and the outers will be the establishment. (Actually I think they always were the establishment, but being opposed to the status quo gave them a sort of faux radicalism.) Continue reading

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Militant by Michael Crick

A book I read a long time ago suddenly seems more interesting than it has for many years. Back in 1985 I was a Labour Party activist. I had other things on my mind at the time and it wasn”t a huge part of my life in the way that it was for some of the other activists I met. But I went to meetings. I was briefly a secretary of a ward branch (sounds a lot more important than it actually was). I used to go out leafletting and canvassing. And this being the eighties, I was also involved in internal party debates. Continue reading

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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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Filed under UK General Election 2015

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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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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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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The King’s Speech

 

Hello, I’m Colin Sanders and this is the history books review. It isn’t a book today. I have just watched the film of the King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter.  I’ll leave the merits of the film to the film critics, though I will say that it are nearly brought a tear to my eye. But the thing that interested me was how it showed just how much attitudes have changed in a relatively short period of time. It tells the story of events that are still just about within living memory.   I talked about them to my grand parents who remembered them vividly.  George VI, the main protagonist, still appeared on coins when I was growing up. Continue reading

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