Recent articles

Radical Music: 'L'Amitié'

01 Feb 2024

Comment by Penny Stone

'Make us live as brothers and forget that we were foes'

Some years ago, I recorded my best friend’s grandad, Stuart Gilbert, talking about his experiences as a conscientious objector and of doing voluntary work at home and overseas with Service Civil International (SCI).*

I asked Stuart why he refused to participate in national service in 1948. The most common reasons for conscientious objection to military service were either religious or connected with a specific political ideology.

In the cracks between

01 Feb 2024

Comment by Virginia Moffatt

Our new arts columnist takes a look at The Crown

I’ve decided to begin this arts column by talking about the Netflix series, The Crown, which has recently ended. Though I’m an ardent republican and had to be persuaded to watch it by my husband, Chris, this is such compelling drama, I quickly overcame my loathing for the Windsors and became hooked.

It begins in 1947, with king George VI (Jared Harris) coughing up blood in the bathroom, as he prepares for the wedding of his daughter Elizabeth (Claire Foy) to Philip (Matt Smith).

Diary: 'This is my home!'

01 Feb 2024

Comment by Cath

'The power of personal capital has moved [us] onto step three of our journey of a thousand miles'

It’s late and I’m sitting in a lovely big bedroom, in a (mostly) old farmhouse. As I write I can hear the sound of young communards and commune visitors training in the shed across the yard – the rhythmic sounds of the punchbag getting hit and then the whoops and laughs at the end of the exercise.

My new partner-in-crime is reading in bed: Black Against Empire, an analysis of the Black Panthers. And although the church bells mysteriously stopped ringing the hours some days ago, the regular alarm from the level crossing is going strong.

What else

01 Feb 2024

Comment by Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Which tier of society you experience comes down to one thing in modern Britain, argues Rebecca Elson-Watkins

The phrase ‘two-tier society’ has become a fairly commonplace one. We hear it in reference to healthcare, housing, education, and the North/South divide. But the phrase is wrong. British society has at least five tiers. Which tier of society you experience comes down to one thing in modern Britain. The same thing it has always come down to: social class.

We have the Ruling Class, the monarchies, the elite of the Conservative Party, we all know the sort. Unaccountable and untouchable; the Boris Johnsons, the prince Andrews, the Michelle Mones.

Poynted remarks

01 Feb 2024

Comment by Claire Poyner

Does nanny actually know best?

Recently, a politician moaned about something or other, calling it ‘the nanny state’. It got me wondering. When does a particular policy get to be called (some might say ‘dismissed as’) the nanny state? Who gets to decide? Is it a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? Does nanny actually know best?

‘The nanny state’ suggests that a government or its policies are overprotective, like a nanny towards their charges.