Vera Lynn and the power of music to change a national mood

Vera Lynn and the power of music to change a national mood

It was the summer of 1975. I was 14 and was somewhat surprised to see Vera Lynn be made a Dame, so I asked my mother whether she deserved it. My mother didn’t always give praise lightly. “Goodness yes,” she said. “She went out with the forces and put herself in...
Plenty of socio-political topics for a debate in the tennis club bar

Plenty of socio-political topics for a debate in the tennis club bar

It’s reassuring to know people are still publishing books on tennis despite the lack of any tournaments at which to promote them. In general, the run-up to a Grand Slam or Christmas are the best times for tennis books, as interest is always greatest as a major...
A 73-year-old warning about the need to be in the present

A 73-year-old warning about the need to be in the present

It was somewhat provocative, I admit, to stand in the queue for the supermarket – the statutory two metres behind the man in front and two metres ahead of the woman behind – reading a copy of The Plague. At one stage my reading was interrupted by a chuckle. I looked...
There are now three halves in British politics

There are now three halves in British politics

One of the unsung heroes of British politics is Dave Brown. Never heard of him? It’s amazing how some of the most gifted and talented artists don’t get the recognition they deserve. Dave Brown is the principal cartoonist of The Independent, which still exists as a...
Talk of a coup in Britain is not exaggerated

Talk of a coup in Britain is not exaggerated

It is the lot of those who first see something coming to be dismissed as cranks. Those who say something is ‘the thin end of the wedge’ or any number of similar metaphors are often accused of overreacting or having a sense of paranoia. By the time they’re proved...
They are demonstrating in my name

They are demonstrating in my name

As provocative questions go, it’s hard to think of a more provocative or more insulting one than Adam Boulton’s on Sky News last week. ‘You’re a load of incompetent, middle-class, self-indulgent people who want to tell us how to live our lives?’ said the veteran...
The democratic case for resolving Brexit

The democratic case for resolving Brexit

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a Remainer. I voted for the UK to remain in the European Union, and I think were much better off as a member. But leave that to one side for a moment. I’m also a democrat, and I care for the future of my country, and that...
Raw eye-witness testimony of being a child in a competitive environment

Raw eye-witness testimony of being a child in a competitive environment

Call it prejudice, call it snobbism, call it elitism, call it what you will – I have a thing about self-published books. I suppose my subconscious says that, if a publisher isn’t willing to publish a manuscript, there’s a reason for it and the book probably isn’t very...