politics

Two Scilly visitors

April 2, 2017 0 Comments
Two Scilly visitors

On 22 October 1707 Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell was guiding his fleet of fifteen Royal Navy ships back towards the England coast after a failed attempt to defeat the French fleet near the Mediterranean port of Toulon during the War of the Spanish Succession. It was a difficult voyage.  The weather was stormy, and Shovell, […]

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A letter from Kampala

January 8, 2017 0 Comments
A letter from Kampala

A few days ago a letter came from Kampala, Uganda.  It’s still lying on the table inside the front door, with its envelope.  I haven’t put it in the bin for recycling, and nor have I thought about replying to it.  It continues to lie there.  What follows tries to explain why. The brown envelope, […]

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The new eschatology

December 24, 2016 0 Comments
The new eschatology

As 2016 comes to an end the heavens are full of what Flann O’Brien’s great scientist De Selby called ‘black air’.  A long night, it appears, is about to fall on two continents.  In the United States a plutocratic bully and egomaniac with the crudest social and political attitudes is about to take power, unrestrained […]

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Cynulliad neu Senedd?

December 9, 2016 1 Comment
Cynulliad neu Senedd?

Yn ddiweddar iawn cyhoeddodd Elin Jones AC, Llywydd Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, wahoddiad inni leisio ein barn am gynnig i newid enw’r Cynulliad. Ei dadl yw bod y Cynulliad, dros y bymtheg mlynedd a mwy ers ei sefydliad, yn haeddu enw sy’n fwy urddasol a chywir na’i enw presennol, wrth i’r pwerau sy ganddo gynyddu (bydd […]

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Cadbury capitalism

December 4, 2016 2 Comments
Cadbury capitalism

All my life I’ve been a chocolate addict.  The high point of a visit to my granny’s at Howden was when she would open a secret drawer and give me some.  At home my mother used to hide bars in a high cupboard, well away from a small boy’s fingers.  I repeated the trick when […]

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Cribarth

November 13, 2016 0 Comments
Cribarth

It’s the morning of the Pumpkinification of Donald Trump.  Three of us have fled the bloggers, tweeters and trolls, to the head of Cwm Tawe.  We park in Ystradgynlais, near Ysgol Golwg y Cwm, and walk up to the track of the old Swansea Vale Railway.  This and the Brecon and Neath Railway it connects with […]

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Y £5 newydd: ymlaen i’r gorffennol

October 23, 2016 2 Comments
Y £5 newydd: ymlaen i’r gorffennol

Yr wythnos ddiwethaf cyrhaeddodd fy mhapur pum punt newydd cyntaf.  Ychydig ddyddiau cyn hynny derbyniais i trwy’r post The new Fiver, taflen (uniaith Saesneg – er bod fersiwn Cymraeg ar gael) gan Fanc Lloegr sy’n ceisio esbonio’r newid a rhoi cysur i’r cyhoedd. Rhaid imi gyfaddef, yn anaml iawn y byddwn i’n aros am eiliad […]

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A curious traveller in north Wales

August 20, 2016 0 Comments
A curious traveller in north Wales

There’s an excellent collaborative research project in train at the moment, led by Bangor University, called European travellers to Wales.  Its workers are busy unearthing accounts by tourists – writers and artists – from the Continent who visited Europe between 1750 and 2010.  At the same time another project, Curious travellers: Thomas Pennant and the […]

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A small room in south London

August 17, 2016 2 Comments
A small room in south London

An early morning in late summer.  Light from a cloudy sky falls evenly into the small room from the window on the left, under a partly closed roller blind.  No particular object inside is highlighted, each is democratically equal.  The floor is made of narrow, carefully fitted wooden boards.  There’s no carpet, no rug.  Opposite […]

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The debate about Mytilene: a short footnote on Brexit

July 16, 2016 1 Comment
The debate about Mytilene: a short footnote on Brexit

In 428 BC, three years into the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies, the city of Mytilene on the Aegean island of Lesbos decides to secede from the Athenian empire. The oligarchic rulers of Mytilene fear that what independence they still have – unlike other states they had retained their navy […]

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