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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The sporting highlights of 2013



Andy Murray and Marion Bartoli winning Wimbledon.... Wigan's shock FA Cup win, the most exciting Premier season to date.....You can hear an interview with me on the year's sporting highlights on BBCWM here 
(item starts at 1hr 23mins)

A very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year to everyone!

Monday, December 30, 2013

West should drop 'inconsistent approach' to terrorism after Volgograd bombings

Terrible news from Volgograd- here's an interview with me on RT on the bomb attacks of the last two days & how the western powers need to show a more consistent approach to terrorism.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Russia’s Khodorkovsky, Britain's Denis MacShane and the Western elite’s moral decline

 

My new column for RT.com OpEdge

.....MacShane, like Khodorkovsky, escapes the opprobrium he deserves because his crimes are financial and he has the "right" set of views. He’s fanatically pro-EU, a pro-war Blairite neocon who has supported every US-led ‘intervention’ going in the last twenty-odd years, and he is an enthusiast for globalization. He was anti-Chavez, strongly pro-Israel, and anti-Russian. He championed the cause of Georgia under Saakashvili and only last week called on Prime Minister David Cameron to boycott the Sochi Olympics. He railed against what he called ‘manic populism’, but what others would call the wishes of ordinary people for politicians to carry out policies which the majority support.

You can read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A classic A Christmas Carol & a very Merry Christmas!



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The place: London. The time: 1843...

Above you can watch Richard Williams' wonderfully atmospheric 1971 animated version of A Christmas Carol, with narration by Michael Redgrave, and voices including Alistair Sim and Michael Hordern.
A real classic - and what an intro!

A very Merry Christmas to everyone!

Tears of the clowns: Comedians who battle with serious mental health problems

This piece of mine appears in today's Daily Express.

She is the woman who has made millions of Britons laugh with her old-fashioned slapstick humour and gawky charm. But as Miranda Hart revealed in an interview on Desert Island Discs it hasn't all been plain sailing. The popular comedian and television star admitted she found it tough at the top. "I think it got to a point a year ago possibly when it was all a bit too much," she said. "It was quite lonely and I was struggling."
Hart's problems should not surprise us. Many of our greatest comics have struggled with the pressure of trying to make us laugh and many have battled with depression and other mental illnesses. 

You can read the whole piece here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Why did Putin pardon Khodorkovsky?




RT.com news report on the oligarch's release, featuring interview with me, (starting at 11 minutes) above.

More here. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Who’s the bully? American anti-missile system more about attack than defense

My new column for RT.com OpEdge.

The decision by the US to carry on with its missile defense system in Eastern Europe despite last month’s historic nuclear deal with Tehran reveals to us the true anti-Russian agenda behind the plan.
Well, at least it’s clear to everyone now that it had nothing to do with the “threat” from Iran, though just a few years ago the US administration stated quite to the contrary.

You can read the whole piece here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Festive tv before Thatcher: The Radio Times for Christmas 1978

This new piece of mine appears in The Guardian.

"The holiday starts here. And to put you in party mood some of your favourite comedians bring the spirit of pantomime to these pages. Mike Yarwood, on our cover, opens the festivities, followed by a host of BBC TV comedians – Michael Crawford, Ronnies Corbett and Barker, John Inman, Larry Grayson (with Isla St Clair, of course), Little and Large, and last, but not least, a villainous Peter Cook."

And so begins the bumper 118-page edition of the Christmas and New Year Radio Times for 1978. The 26-page guide to BBC television and radio for 23 December 1978 to 5 January 1979 is more than just a list of programmes: it's a fascinating historical document, revealing much about the country we were that last Christmas before Thatcherism arrived and changed everything.

You can read the whole piece here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hypocritical British elite hates student protests in its backyard



My new column for RT.com OpEdge

Western elites love student protesters. That is, when they’re protesting in countries whose governments the West would like to see toppled. But they’re not so fond of it in their own countries. We saw a classic example of this in Britain this week.

You can read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

'EU double standards in Ukraine absolutely outrageous’

A new interview with me on RT on the disturbances in the Ukraine.

By supporting protesters in Ukraine while previously ignoring huge last year protests in Turkey and Spain, EU officials have revealed that for them some protesters are more equal than others, journalist Neil Clark told RT.

You can watch and read the interview here.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Was Lord Lucan killed by a hitman?




My new piece in The Daily Express.

AS a new TV drama tells the story of the murder that caused the missing peer to flee, a baronet who moved in the same high society gambling circles makes a startling claim.

It was, in the words of one writer, as if Upstairs Downstairs had been reshot by Alfred Hitchcock. The mysterious murder of 29-year-old nanny Sandra Rivett, bludgeoned to death in the basement kitchen of the London home of Lady Lucan on November 7 1974, the attack on Lady Lucan that same evening and the disappearance of the prime suspect, the latter's estranged husband Lord Lucan, dominated the headlines at the time.
It continues to fascinate us almost 40 years later, as shown by a new two-part drama series on the case starting this week on ITV1.
Various theories have been put forward as to what really happened on that fateful evening in Belgravia but the most sensational of all comes from Sir Rupert Mackeson, an Old Harrovian baronet and member of the brewing dynasty who was on the fringe of the high society gambling Clermont Set of which Lord Lucan was a member.

You can read the whole piece here.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2014 World Cup draw




My Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2014 World Cup draw from The Week.

BEFORE yesterday's draw for the 2014 World Cup groups, England manager Roy Hodgson said he would put a tenner on his team to win next summer's tournament. Should we follow his example - or does England's tough draw against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D rule them out of even making it through to the last-16 knockout stage? 
There are three key statistics we should bear in mind before betting on the outcome of the World Cup.

You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Mind the gap: The New Age of Inequality and its advocates





My new column for RT.com OpEdge

Over the last 30 years or so, we’ve witnessed a massive rise in inequality in Britain and in other countries across the world as neo-liberal economic policies replaced the more collectivist social democratic ones which dominated in 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

Publicly-owned assets have been privatized, state provision cut back and extraordinarily generous tax cuts have been given to the rich. In the US, the top 1 percent saw income growth of 31 percent between 2009-12- compared to growth of less than 1 percent for the bottom 90 percent. A 2011 report of the OECD found that the income share of the top 1 percent in Britain had more than doubled in the period 1970 to 2005.

Austerity? If you’re one of the 1 percent things have never been so good. In 2012, the world’s richest 100 people increased their wealth by $241 billion.

You can read the whole piece here.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Britain's pensioners aren't being served from policy changes that date since 1979

My new piece for The Guardian's Comment is Free.


Well, at least we beat Mexico. The new OECD report on pensions reveals that for people on average earnings, Britain's state pension is the least generous of all the 34 OECD members bar one. The average Briton's state pension replaces 32.6% of their income when they retire. Our state pension isn't just stingy compared with other prosperous western European countries. The governments of Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia all give their pensioners more, as does Turkey.
What an indictment of neoliberal Britain. We have the lowest state pension of any major country in Europe and also the highest rail fares. The country that comes top, or near the top, in tables where it's better to come bottom, we also come bottom, or near the bottom, in tables where it's better to come top.

You can read the whole piece here.