It’s celebrity generating Brand’s radicalism – not alienation

Am I the only person finding Russell Brand painful at the moment? Involved in the anti-austerity “protests” in Central London on November 5th, his views seem to have taken a sharply radical turn of late. Given his articulate delivery, they sound plausible – of course – but they’re starting to stray into the realms of the ridiculous: undeserving of appearances …

Wolverhampton should be Pittsburgh, not Detroit

There was a well-written article by columnist Jenni Russell in The Times  Thursday, although I found it painful reading in places. It was responding to Prime Minister David Cameron’s conference speech on Wednesday. He spoke of a “land of opportunity”, which left Russell “incredulous”. “What was the connection between his splendid aims and people’s real lives?” she asked. “Inequality has …

Shoemakers, wool-traders and Thatcher’s legacy of creative destruction

My great-grandfather John was a shoemaker in Hackney, East London – in fact one of several generations to ply such a trade. Yet his local business was wiped out in the early years of the 20th century as the mass-production of shoes – centralized around Northampton – rendered the family trade uncompetitive. With his skills redundant, John drifted downwards – …

Identity and the boy

An interesting article appeared in the Guardian the other day – complaining about those crusader outfits being worn by many England fans at the European Championships. The article was written by a Muslim (Nooruddean Choudry) who – despite being English – was having problems with his support for his national side thanks to those rather unfortunate costumes. Of course, I …