Speak for England!

Willem de Kooning, Backdrop for Labyrinth

Willem de Kooning, Backdrop for Labyrinth

Speak for England !

From: Dr Frank Ellis

To: The Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron MP, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA

Date: 21st June 2016

Re: The Referendum concerning the Question whether the United Kingdom should leave or remain in the European Union to be held on Thursday 23rd June 2016 (№ 6)

Normans, but bastard Normans, Norman bastards! (Duke of Bourbon)

The Life of King Henry Fifth (Act III, Scene V)

The provision of basic welfare also influences the socialisation and the reproductive behaviour of the underclass. It also essentially determines migration and the willingness of immigrants to integrate. Without the German provision of basic welfare a large part of the immigrants from Turkey, Africa and the Middle East would never have come since for the last 35 years there has been no market justification at all. Without the provision of basic welfare the movement of families would have been much less and Germany would have been only half as attractive for asylum. Without the provision of basic welfare Turks and Arabs in Germany would at the very least have demonstrated a different form of reproductive behaviour. Among Arabs in Germany the tendency to produce children in order to secure more welfare payments is especially widespread and the women in the family who are often incarcerated have at root not much else to do.

Thilo Sarrazin, Deutschland schafft sich ab: Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen (Germany Destroys Itself)

Dear Prime Minister

Those who will vote for a British exit from the European Union I call liberators; those who will vote for Britain’s remaining in the European Union I call collaborators. In this context my use of the word “collaborator” does not imply that all collaborators are hostile to England, though some of the collaborators may properly be described as such.

In 1975, I voted to remain in what was then the European Economic Community (EEC). I voted to remain since I was given to believe that the EEC would be a trading bloc from which Britain would benefit and which would lead to greater prosperity. Bear in mind that in the 1970s Britain was being held to ransom by union gangsters and since both Labour and Conservative governments lacked the will to take the necessary measures – legal, administrative and security – to curb what was an emerging union-organised, Marxist insurgency, joining the EEC seemed to offer an effective way of bypassing and neutralising the union threat.

Looking back to his claims that there would be no significant loss of sovereignty, one can see that the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was lying. Totally committed to the principle of unaccountable managerial enslavement, referred to in the various treaties as “ever closer union”, Heath and his inner circle of advisers were well aware of the long-term implications of Britain’s joining the EEC. They knew that “ever closer union” would necessarily and inevitably mean a huge transfer of sovereignty to unaccountable and alien institutions. By the mid 1980s the dangers posed by “ever closer union” were now assuming a clear and threatening form: the way was being prepared for the Treaty on European Union, more widely known as the Maastricht Treaty. It is this treaty which no British government, let alone a conservative one, should ever have ratified, which over the last twenty four years has done so much to fuel deep and justified resentment of the EU and its directorates, to inspire the creation of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and, eventually, to secure a referendum. Without UKIP there would never have been a referendum.

The fundamental and overwhelming objection to our continuing membership of the EU is the loss of sovereignty and, as a consequence, the lack of accountability on the part of EU institutions. The EU is a sham democracy, just like the People’s Democracies inside the old Soviet Empire. The EU is a managerial tyranny and has been designed to serve the needs and ideological ambitions of those who are, firstly, hostile for whatever reasons to the nation state and, secondly, and somewhat paradoxically, who want to create a new super state, which I shall call the United States of Europe. The driving force for the creation of this utter monstrosity is clearly Germany. Twice in the twentieth century Germany sought to dominate Europe by force of arms. Now in 2016, Germany is the most powerful economy in Europe and on the cusp of domination of Europe or may already have achieved that goal. I seem to recall that in an article published in the Spectator in 1990, a Conservative minister, Nicholas Ridley, put it more bluntly, decrying the EU as a German racket to control Europe or words to that effect. Germany’s ambitions to control Europe are one reason why Merkel and other German politicians want Britain to remain in the EU.

German politicians and their advisers grasp far better than you and a large section of the Westminster collaborator caste that English euro-scepticism arises not from the shallow motives of so-called “little Englanders” which are often imputed to English opponents of the EU but from a deep sense of history. One thread in English history is an assertion of independence from the control of continental Europe. This assertion of independence has manifested itself in matters religious, political, military and economic. Regardless whether the threat was from papal interference in the internal affairs of England or the series of military threats from Spain, France, Germany and the Soviet Union that have confronted England and later Britain over the centuries, England has always resisted the creation of a single dominant power on the European continent. Thus those of us who are aware of this historical trend feel a deep sense of unease with the EU precisely because, in spite of all the talk of cooperation, harmonisation and eternal peace, we see an organisation created for the express purpose by people, however well meaning they claim to be, who arrogate to themselves the right to control the destiny of Europe’s nation states. This is one reason why Merkel and her advisers are so eager to ensure that the UK remains inside the EU. They understand the unbearable tension arising from the deep historical opposition to continental power (and powers) in England and the obvious attractions, at least for some collaborator politicians, of being part of an emerging Pax Europa. With Britain inside the EU these tensions and demands for reform of EU institutions can, the German government believes, be managed. If Britain leaves the EU the internal British euro-sceptic tensions will have been resolved but the old tensions, the historical suspicion of continental power and active opposition to it, will be revived and will be unconstrained by EU membership. Inside the EU or outside the EU Britain will not accept a German-dominated Europe no more than we were ever willing to accept the threat of Napoleonic tyranny, Nazi domination or that of Soviet totalitarianism. This is a brute fact arising from our geography, our historical being and sense of who we are and it cannot be eradicated by euro-septic utopianism.

Another problem for Germany arising from Britain’s leaving the EU is that some of the smaller EU member states, all too conscious of German hegemony, will still look to Britain as a counterweight to German power. Countries such as Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal and Denmark will seek, assuming they are permitted, bilateral relationships with Britain outside the established institutional frameworks and emerging conventions of the EU. This can only antagonise the European hegemon, Germany, whose leaders will resent the fact that EU member states, states that they consider to be subordinate to Germany and embedded in the German sphere of influence, are seeking to maintain such close ties with the British renegade state. Should this situation arise it will be interesting to see whether German politicians will be able to resist the temptation to accuse EU member states seeking bilateral relationships with Britain of Verrat (treason) so betraying – no pun intended – what they really think about the true purpose of the EU and the place of Greece and other vassal states in it.

Those, Boris Johnson, among others, who see parallels between Nazi Germany’s plans for a post-World War II Europe (assuming Nazi Germany had won) and the institutions and aspirations of the EU are on very solid ground indeed. In 1943, the year in which German military reverses accelerated, there was an awareness among certain senior Nazi figures, Goebbels, for example, that the people in the German-occupied territories had to have some stake in a Germany victory. There is talk at this time of a “new European Order”. Von Ribbentrop went further than Goebbels, airing the idea of a “European Alliance of States” made up of Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Greece, Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Spain.  There were plans for a defensive alliance. In the economic sphere there would be a gradual dismantling of customs barriers according to a common and uniform plan. Also envisaged were a permanent European Economic Congress and plans for an inner European economic area and, eventually, a common European currency. Even more significant was a document drawn up by the German Foreign Office in September 1943. In this document it was stated that Germany’s war against Britain was a war of European unification. The aim of this war was to unify Europe on a federal basis. In the same document one encounters something of relevance for 2016, specifically the claim that a special responsibility with regard to the internal and external matters of Europe devolved upon the European Axis powers, essentially Germany, by virtue of her position in the middle of Europe. Whether, in other words, in a post-World War Two Nazi-dominated Europe or an EU dominated by Germany, Germany is, in her own estimation, primus inter pares.

There are other dangers to Britain arising from our membership of the EU. These dangers are evident in questions of immigration, the European Court, the vast sums of money we disburse to the EU, the euro, defence and security. The first and obvious thing that can be said about immigration is that it is destroying England. There is no housing shortage or crisis: there is a massive increase in population largely fuelled by uncontrolled mass immigration from within the EU and outside its borders. If this immigrant invasion is not stopped and illegal immigrants currently resident in Britain are not deported Britain will be overwhelmed by aliens (large parts of Britain are already overrun by aliens). Membership of the EU means that it is impossible to control these numbers and there is not the political will to deport the possibly one and a half million illegal immigrants already here. I am not enriched by the mass presence of aliens; the cult of diversity is an anti-English cult and clearly intended to dispossess the indigenous people in order to weaken opposition to EU tyranny.

The euro has not exactly been a happy experience for those countries that abandoned their national currencies. It should also be remembered that just before the launch of the euro we were endlessly told by large corporations and multi-nationals and the likes of Blair, Heseltine and Clarke (and all the rest) that if we did not adopt the euro we would be left behind and face all kinds of vague economic problems. These people were wrong – and they know it – yet these are the same euro-septic fanatics who insist that were we to leave the EU it would be a leap into the dark. Britain has nothing to fear from leaving the EU, and everything to fear from remaining.

Plans for the creation of a Euro Armed Forces are also a clear threat to Britain. Any Euro Army – an army to begin with – would weaken NATO and could in time become a threat to Britain. It should also be kept in mind that the guarantor of European security since 1949 has been NATO, emphatically not the EU. EU meddling in Ukraine has exacerbated our relations with Russia. The Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine is the first step towards Ukraine’s joining NATO. This was bound to provoke a response from the Russian Federation; and it did, as I predicted in an article (‘Mending Broken Bones: Russian Nationalism and the Fate of Russia’) which I wrote in 2009. I cite the relevant extract:

“The presence of large Russian minorities cast adrift in what are independent nations some of which aspire to membership of NATO has potentially very serious military consequences. The proposal that Ukraine or Georgia should be permitted to join NATO is a direct assault on Russian national pride. It incenses the Russian government who quite rightly ask what purpose other than to threaten Russia this NATO expansion serves. Fear, honour and interest are, according to the author of the History of the Peloponnesian War (c.440-404 BC), the three main reasons states go to war. Russia’s relations with all the former Soviet republics are affected by the Thucydidean triad. The red line for Russia is Ukraine. Kiev occupies a special place in Russian history and Russia does not want to see Ukraine join NATO. Sevastopol is another sore point. The Russia-Ukraine agreement which provides for joint use of the naval and harbour facilities expires in 2017. Ukraine does not want to renew this agreement and Russia will not want to leave. Sevastopol reminds Russians of the way they stood up to the British and the French in the Crimean War, and the city’s place in Russian literature has been secured by Lev Tolstoy’s Sevastopol Stories (1855-1856), his account and observations of his time at the front as an artillery officer. How this matter will be resolved is anyone’s guess. Russia might simply refuse to go, or go, subject to Ukraine’s not joining NATO or ever permitting any troops other than those of Ukraine to be stationed there. Whereas Russia might tend to confine its treatment of the Baltic states to the occasional bout of cyber war and diplomatic awkwardness, I have no doubt that Russia would exploit the presence of Russian minorities in Ukraine to protect what it sees as legitimate cultural and historical interests. Above all it is a question of honour. War between Russia and Ukraine is a very real possibility. Bear in mind that Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty commits all members of NATO to aid another in the event of an attack. The moment Ukraine enters formal membership negotiations with NATO will be the moment when diplomatic tension and the risk of war will rise dramatically since this will be the most propitious opportunity for Russia to launch a pre-emptive strike before membership is sealed with an exchange of signatures and the provisions of Article 5 come into effect”.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum on 23rd June 2016 the result will not be a victory for the collaborators, since if the vote to leave is lost that will have consequences which eventually will work in favour of the liberators. This is quite simply because all the very real problems identified with the EU and which afflict us because of our membership – the lack of accountability, the European Court, the creation by stealth of a Euro Army, the threat of “ever closer union” and the mass alien invasion – still remain and will get worse. In this regard, I am a Leninist: the worse it gets, the better it gets.

Overcome by hubris, Merkel and others will press ahead, will accelerate their plans to create a European super state. The single biggest threat to Britain is the alien invasion, and if backward non-European countries such as Turkey are ever allowed to join, the rate of alien invasion and our dispossession will dramatically accelerate. Merkel’s suicidal and insane policy of permitting millions of unemployables from the Third and Fourth Worlds to swarm into Germany is also a threat to England. When these millions of invaders eventually get German passports there will absolutely nothing to prevent them from entering England and dispossessing us. For this, natürlich, we vile English should be eternally grateful. After all, what can be possibly wrong with seeing our land covered in high-density rabbit hutches to house these noble bearers of diversity? Does it matter that whether, wherever you go, you encounter the babble of freakish foreign tongues and you feel like a foreigner in your own country? Of course not: be grateful; you are being “enriched” by diversity.

One can also take it for granted that a vote to remain in the EU will result in enormous pressure being applied to Britain to accept hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of alien immigrant invaders from Third and Fourth World states. While our membership of the EU is still being debated Merkel is very wisely keeping her mouth shut, but she and others intoxicated on the milk of human goodness and power will seize their chance to overwhelm us if we vote to remain in the EU. One purpose of encouraging and actively pursuing the multi-million invasion by alien immigrant invaders will be to make any chance of winning a second referendum almost impossible. This will ensure that the collaborators will win a second referendum.

At that stage we will be in unknown territory. Will this be the moment when England finally starts to die, its indigenous population now facing permanent and irreversible defeat and persecution in a corrupt democracy that has enfranchised millions of aliens and disenfranchised the native English, or will this be the start of the English insurgency with the aim of returning by force of arms, violence and terror what has been stolen from us? At the present time any kind of violent response to EU tyranny and its Quislings seems far-fetched and too remote but Charles I thought he could trample all over England, and in the 1950s and 1960s the IRA was something of a joke, but that soon changed.

So should you achieve your desired referendum result do not celebrate and gloat, do not poison and insult us with talk of “reconciliation”, “reaching out”, “now let us work together to build a better EU”, and other vile lies and slogans, and do not delude yourself that we, the liberators, have been vanquished: far from it. For us, losing the referendum would certainly be a setback but it is not the end. History shows that no empire, no tyranny can permanently maintain its grip on power. The struggle against EU tyranny will only end when we leave the EU or when the rotten edifice collapses.

Yours sincerely

Norman Bastard

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Mateen, Proud and Aspiring Terrorist

Omar Mateen, heavy.com

Omar Mateen, heavy.com

Mateen, Proud and Aspiring Terrorist

Ilana Mercer highlights the FBI’s serial incompetence

Democrats are frenetically trying to pass legislation that’ll make it impossible for anyone on the government’s terrorist list to legally purchase a firearm. Their renewed Brownian motion is due to the massacre, last Sunday, of 49 gay club-goers in Orlando, Florida. The Muslim American perpetrator wounded 53 others.

The premise of passing such a law, one would hope, is this: had mass murderer Omar Saddiqui Mateen been in the “Terrorist Screening Database,” he would not have been authorized to purchase the long gun (AR-15 rifle) and handgun (a Glock) he used in the massacre. Both were bought legally. Continue reading

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The Murder of Jo Cox

Jo Cox

Jo Cox

The Murder of Jo Cox 

Allan Pond smells a rat

No, what follows is not some mad conspiracy theory. A mother of two small children was murdered in the street of a quiet Yorkshire town. An appalling and shocking event. It is not the event but the accounting of it, the commentary, the outpouring of grief which has a synthetic and frankly nauseous feel to it. That may sound heartless, yet the story that we are being told is not the account of an event and the understandable shock that follows from it, but the creation of a very convenient narrative which is both troubling but also extremely dangerous. Continue reading

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An Opaque Ideology?

Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning

An Opaque Ideology?

 Allan Pond considers the meaning of conservatism

We all know that self-congratulatory triad “I have principles, you have beliefs, she has an ideology”. To accuse someone of being ‘ideological’ is almost inevitably to criticise them and to indicate that their views are to be held of less account because of that. The irony is that with the exception of some academics in the social sciences it is among politicians that this form of insult is one of the most common tactics in debate. One of the contenders in the last Labour leadership election accused an opponent of being merely (or perhaps wilfully) ideological. Continue reading

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Tristan and Isolde

Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Tristan and Isolde

Tristan and Isolde, Richard Wagner, English National Opera, London Coliseum, 9th June 2016. Director Daniel Kramer, English National Opera, Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner. Reviewed by Tony Cooper

Daniel Kramer, the dynamic and controversial American-born director (recently appointed artistic director of ENO) took charge of this production of Tristan and Isolde, which was totally refreshing and, in some ways, equates with Katharina Wagner’s current production of the same work at Bayreuth. And just like Fraulein Wagner, Kramer doesn’t mind taking chances employing new ways in which to explore this masterful work.

Known for the striking visual material and the emotional intensity of his work, Mr Kramer shrewdly engaged Sir Anish Kapoor as the set designer which more than complemented his bold and striking production ideas while the rest of the creative team duly delivered the goods in an honest and forthright manner: Christina Cunningham (costumes), Paul Anderson (lighting) and Frieder Weiss (video designer).

Kramer is relatively new to opera, though. He only entered the genre eight years ago directing Harrison Birtwistle’s Punch & Judy which won the South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for ENO’s Young Vic season in 2008. This was in striking contrast to his production of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (ENO, 2009) in which Kramer drew influences from the Austrian-born national, Josef Fritzl, who held his daughter captive for nearly a quarter of a century. The production – with scenes of murder, violence and incestuous rape – was not that well received and was likened to a ‘snuff-porn’ movie.

A good or a bad start to his opera career? Hopefully, in his new role at ENO, Mr Kramer will go from strength to strength and engage spirited and innovative directors to elevate ENO’s productions to a higher artistic level.

The first act of Tristan, however, was highly impressive, not just musically speaking but visually, too. When the curtain rises one is greeted by a giant pyramidal-shape structure representing Tristan’s ship compartmentalised in three substantial sections.

Here we meet a raging Isolde, sung by the American-born soprano, Heidi Melton (making her ENO début), strutting madly about the deck no doubt conjuring up love potions and poison (remember, she’s the daughter of a witch) aided by her lady-in-waiting, Brangäne (Karen Cargill), sailing against her will to England to be the bride of King Marke of Cornwall (Matthew Rose). He’s protected against all and sundry by the Cornish knight, Melot (Stephen Rooke), who also fancies the lovely Isolde.

But when she demands the presence of Tristan (Stuart Skelton) – the one she really desires – he’s too busy engaged in his duties as ship’s captain and, therefore, Tristan’s trusted servant, Kurwenal (Craig Colclough), acts as the go-between liaising with Brangäne to achieve her mistress’ aims.

And the to-ing and fro-ing between them was accentuated in every minute detail from the eccentricities of their dress to the eccentricities of their deportment much in the manner of commedia dell’arte characters.

In striking contrast to act one, part of the scenario of the second act is played out in a mental hospital (Fraulein Wagner’s equivalent scene was set in a prison exercise yard) with a team of paramedics (King Marke’s henchmen) observing the lovers tightly strapped to their beds after their famous love duet and being regularly injected to keep them calm, apart and under tight surveillance.

ENO

The tension is achingly and slowly brought to breaking-point as Tristan tries in vain to reach out to his beloved Isolde one last time. And the deeply-etched ending focuses on a distraught Isolde shielding Tristan’s dead body with King Marke coming to forgive and unite them but, of course, arriving too late in the process.

The strong, confident voice of Australian-born heldentenor and superstar, Stuart Skelton (Tristan), was magnificent throughout and his voice cut through Wagner’s ravishing score. He is no stranger to the role, which he performed for the first time at Baden Baden in March under Simon Rattle.

Skelton’s performance, however, was equally matched by the English-born bass, Matthew Rose (ENO’s Claggart in Britten’s Billy Budd, 2012), who delivered a commanding and confident reading of King Marke while the American-born dramatic soprano, Heidi Melton, who has been feted in some quarters, lost a bit of vocal shine over the course of the evening.

The critic of La Presse commented that Ms Melton ‘is the Wagnerian voice we’ve been waiting for since Flagstad and Nilsson’ while the San Francisco Chronicle said that ‘she possessed a voice that’s big, gleaming and tonally resplendent’. Encouraging (and strong) words, indeed.

TRISTAN AND ISOLDE

Nonetheless, I felt that Ms Melton – who recently made her début with the Vienna Philharmonic singing Brünnhilde’s ‘Immolation Scene’ from Götterdämmerung – put in a strong and confident performance as the Irish princess Isolde, quietly stamping her authority on this most demanding of Wagnerian roles and a role that shadows the composer’s other great heroine, Brünnhilde.

The American-born bass-baritone, Craig Colclough, also gave a good account of himself as Kurwenal (making his début in the role) while the Scottish-born soprano Karen Cargill (Brangäne) – who made her ENO début in 2008 as Suzuki in Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, was superb in every way. She brought (and gave) so much to this vital role while Melot was notably sung (and acted) by the Welsh-born tenor, Stephen Rooke.

Up-and-coming British tenor and new ENO Harewood Artist, David Webb, sang the role of A Young Sailor alongside Peter Van Hulle as A Shepherd and Paul Sheehan as Helmsman. Overall, the opera was well cast.

And Edward Gardner – back ‘home’ in the Coli’s pit and greeted by thunderous applause from a packed house – energised some rich and imaginative playing from his charges that was simply thrilling to listen to in the vastness and comfort of the London Coliseum, the home of English National Opera that Stephen Arlen fought so hard to get in the 1960s. Let’s keep it that way for generations to come: opera in the vernacular in the beating heart of the West End on tap for anyone who wants to walk through its doors.

One last thought: if Fraulein Wagner has ushered in a New Order at Bayreuth, I think that Mr Kramer will follow suit at English National Opera. But only time will tell.

TRISTAN AND ISOLDE

TONY COOPER is QR’s opera critic

Check out a performance as the show is running in rep to 9th July. Box office: 0207 845 9300

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Dwarf Tossing is Cruel

Bill Kristol

Bill Kristol

Dwarf Tossing is Cruel

Ilana Mercer finds that small isn’t beautiful

Prominent neoconservative Bill Kristol shared his election-year hallucinations with the nation. From the ashes of the Republican primaries would rise a man to stand for president against victor Donald J. Trump, a Sisyphean task that has been attempted and failed by seventeen other worthies.

This individual is David French, an attorney, a decorated Iraq War veteran, and writer for the decidedly “Against Trump” National Review. Curiously, Kristol’s independent candidate is a “devout social conservative,” an evangelical who questions the merits of “de-stigmatizing” homosexuality, rejects the progressive premise upon which the transgender, potty wars are being waged, and would keep women out of combat. Continue reading

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Rhedyn Guest House

Rhedyn Guesthouse

Rhedyn Guest House

Reviewed by Em Marshall-Luck

An old stone, whitewashed guesthouse, Rhedyn stands in a small plot in the middle of a farmer’s field, with its fecund gardens proliferating in both vegetables and flowers, and adorned with many inviting seats, tables and bird feeders of many varied types. Originally a forester’s cottage in the Cilmery Estate, dating back at least to 1849 if not much earlier, it is set in the valley which runs between Builth Wells and Llandovery, with green wooded hills either side, and one has a wonderful sense of the steep, glacially- eroded valleys and Welsh landscape. Sky larks and red kites abound, especially on the walk we found up over the moorland hills from nearby Garth. Continue reading

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Ambrosial Lucubrations

Derek Turner

Derek Turner

Ambrosial Lucubrations

A Modern Journey eBook: Derek Turner: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Also available in paperback

Reviewed by James Connor

It seems like the fun jaunts I had through Dublin go way back to J.P. Donleavy, and maybe I just haven’t been reading enough Irish authors lately, but A Modern Journey (2016) reminded me what a great backdrop Dublin is for a good farce and an adventure.

Perhaps A Modern Journey is more than just a farce, or maybe that is the way of all picaresque novels. If you find in its raffishness some fleeting resemblance to The Ginger Man or A Confederacy of Dunces, I did as well, and give us another novel like that, because they are always a good read. Continue reading

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ENDNOTES, June 2016

Dorchester Abbey

Dorchester Abbey

ENDNOTES, June 2016

In this edition: world premieres at the Tenth English Music Festival * Dr. Leslie Jones reviews Mozart Explored, An Academy in Vienna, St John’s Smith Square, 26th May 2016

Some 30 years ago (readers of this column, will, I hope, forgive my nostalgia for the early to mid-1980s) BBC Radio 3 broadcast an evocative little programme – a musical journey along the River Thames, not from the source to the sea, but from London and Hampton Court, to Windsor Forest and on to the Oxfordshire of Faringdon and Lord Berners. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the English Music Festival, which is held at Dorchester on Thames, a village about ten miles south of Oxford; and I could not help but think back to that old Radio 3 sequence as I made my way to the main Friday night concert at Dorchester’s Saxon and mediaeval Abbey. Continue reading

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The Pressing Need for Prison Reform

Prisoners on Treadmill

Prisoners on a Treadmill

The Pressing Need for Prison Reform

Bill Hartley reports

David Cameron’s recent speech on prison reform was a welcome entry into the world of criminal justice by a prime minister. The full text of his speech is worth a look because it does show a detailed understanding of the problem. What the government proposes is the creation of several pilot prisons which will be given the opportunity to operate rather like free schools; able to secure services on their own initiative without recourse to central contracts. Whilst such an idea is to be encouraged it is worth seeing what the reformers are up against. Continue reading

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