Archive for April, 2018

There’s little better in life than a good friend

April 30th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

“According to a recent study by the Red Cross in partnership with Co-op, more than nine million adults in the UK are often or always lonely. We are facing a loneliness epidemic, with Theresa May taking the step earlier this year of appointing Tracey Crouch as what some have dubbed the “minister for loneliness” to […]

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British political institutions (3): the government

April 29th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I like to attend short courses at the City Literary Institute in central London and I’m now doing a six-week course on “British Political Institutions”.  The third session of the course was delivered by the City Lit’s Director Mark Malcolmson and covered the executive, that is the government of the Cabinet and junior ministers. I have […]

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What does the Korea summit actually mean?

April 28th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

A few months ago, war on the Korean peninsula looked dangerously likely, but incredibly on Friday President Kim Jong-un of North Korea and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea met, talked, and signed the Panmunjom declaration. The BBC has highlighted five key moments in the programme and provided access to the full text of the agreement […]

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Ever considered applying for a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship?

April 27th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

A Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand your professional and personal horizons by travelling abroad for up to two months, researching innovative practice on a topic of your choice. In 1970, I was awarded one to make a study of the American telecommunications system. Everyone can apply, regardless of age or […]

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A review of the new film “The Leisure Seeker”

April 27th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

This is not typical Hollywood fare: a movie aimed squarely at the grey demographic and directed by an Italian. The title of this film refers to a 1978 Winnebago recreational vehicle owned by the elderly American couple John and Ella played by Donald Sutherland (now in his 80s) and Helen Mirren (mid 70s), two actors […]

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Who was Millicent Fawcett?

April 24th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

It’s great that today we saw the unveiling of the first statute of a woman in London’s Parliament Square where there has previously only been statues of men (11 of them). The new statute is of Millicent Fawcett – but who exactly was she? She was a campaigner for the right of women to vote, […]

Posted in British current affairs, History | Comments (0)

Liberal Democrat leader calls for tech giants to be broken up

April 24th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has called for Google, Amazon and Facebook to be broken up, comparing them to US oil monopolies that exploited their market power more than a century ago. In an under-reported speech, Cable said recent scandals including the Facebook Cambridge Analytica revelations meant the tech giants had “progressed from heroes to […]

Posted in Consumer matters, Internet | Comments (0)

Why is the death penalty still in force in the United States and why is its use there in decline?

April 22nd, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I’m currently reading a fascinating book called “Enlightenment Now” by the American professor of psychology Steven Pinker. In the chapter on Democracy, he explores the odd position of the United States in relation to the use of capital punishment. Over 100 countries have now abolished the use of the death penalty (including all European nations […]

Posted in American current affairs | Comments (0)

A review of “Our Digital Future” by William Webb (2017)

April 20th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

This attempt, by a British professor who has worked for Ofcom and now runs his own consultancy, to predict the future in 10, 20 and 30 years time has three characteristics to commend it: it is short (just 120 pages), it is accessible (no specialist knowledge required), and it is eminently balanced (no over-optimism). The […]

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The story of German scientists Fritz Haber and Clara Immerwahr and why the use of poison gas should remain a taboo

April 19th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

At about 5pm on 22 April 1915, French and Algerian troops on the Ypres front in Belgium noticed a lull in the German artillery fire that had been targeting their lines. Bracing themselves for an expected infantry advance, they were puzzled instead to observe a greenish-yellow cloud drifting towards them, then lapping over the tops of the […]

Posted in History | Comments (1)