Happy 80th anniversary, Munich Crisis!

Here’s the main point: this weekend marks the eightieth anniversary of the Munich crisis, the moment when the UK prime minister Neville Chamberlain gave away a chunk of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany – with some slightly unwilling help from the French. As it turns out, by flying to meet Hitler and Mussolini in Munich on […]

Time to think a little more ambitiously

David Boyle writes: I watched the recent film Their Finest last weekend, with Bill Nighy and my favourite actress, Gemma Arterton, and very much enjoyed it. I am fascinated by the wartime media (and wrote about it in my book V for Victory). It is a romantic comedy set around a film set, as the writing team struggle […]

The old order is crumbling – what should we do next?

I went to the Social Liberal Forum conference last weekend and found it completely transformed – no more endless whingeing but real debate about big ideas for the future. They really had made the transition, as the Greens used to say, from opposition to proposition. Anyone who has read my political blogs will know is how I […]

Jeremy Thorpe: why I believed in him at the time

David Boyle writes: I watched the Thorpe scandal on the BBC series A Very English Scandal with a great deal of emotion. In fact, at the end of the last programme, I found myself in tears – and I’ve been wondering why ever since. It was, of course, brilliantly directed, written and acted – and also […]

May 1968, the Liberals and community politics

David Boyle writes… The Real Press specialises in history, but we also publish the occasional self-help or how-to-do-it guide. One of these was Fourth to First, which was part history of a Norfolk County Council election and part guide to winning using updated community politics techniques. It struck me that we should have a closer look at […]

Man, it’s sweary! Simon Zec on his poems…

Web diary by Simon Zec.. 1 May 2018 After months of fallowness, within two days, I’d written two more poems. All it took was to get a book published. It’s re-inspired me. And tonight, I went out to an evening organised by the bookshop and listened to other people’s poems and music and words and […]

However you organise UK railways, the Treasury always wins

David Boyle writes: I never went inter-railing, as so many of my friends did in the 1970s, but I have now to mark the imminent arrival of my sixtieth birthday.  So I went with my children and family, and the trip included Rome, Venice and Vienna, and – my goodness – was I didactic. I’m […]

Why the BBC finds the truth about their wartime role embarrassing

David Boyle writes… If the period portrayed in the film Darkest Hour is the founding myth of the modern British state, it also provides a kind of mythic justification for the BBC – for pretty much everything. And we can listen to the BBC’s Ed Stourton weaving it again on Radio 4, in last week’s Book of the […]

How I came to write Tearagh’t…

Craig Newnes writes… Dunquin is unremarkable as you approach – apart from the extraordinary views over the Atlantic. On blustery days you can see four or five storm systems and the curve of the earth. It lies on the Dingle peninsula not far from Coumenole beach where Ryan’s Daughter was filmed. The pub – of […]

In praise of great mavericks

David Boyle writes… I met the folk singer Pete Seeger just before he died. He was jamming outside in the July sunshine, with some young violinists, playing Ashokan Farewell. He was at a conference near the Hudson River about local currencies where I had just been speaking. It was a great honour to meet him, […]