Afghanistan – ‘An Anatomy of Reporting’; Twenty-Five Years On: 1996-2021.

The BBC Journalist John Simpson had won the Richard Dimbleby award in 1991 and the News and Current Affairs award in 2000 for his coverage, with the BBC News team, of the Kosovo conflict, when he was asked to meet the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, in a hotel car park in Islamabad in SeptemberContinue reading “Afghanistan – ‘An Anatomy of Reporting’; Twenty-Five Years On: 1996-2021.”

The Radical Messiah and The Politics of Love in the Bible: Part 2 – Christianity, Church and Society over two Millennia.

‘The Farthest Limits of the West’: I will always remember my first visit to Bangor, North Wales (originally the furthest western outpost of the Roman Empire), to attend an interview for a university place in Biblical Studies and History. It was a long journey by train from Birmingham, where I grew up as the sonContinue reading “The Radical Messiah and The Politics of Love in the Bible: Part 2 – Christianity, Church and Society over two Millennia.”

The Bible as Action Manual: Radical Reflections on Siding with the Poor.

Liberation Stories: The focus of The Radical Bible, published in 1972, was social justice and ‘The Third World’ as it was then known, meaning the poor and powerless peoples of the earth, most of whom live in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is not to say that justice is all the Bible is concernedContinue reading “The Bible as Action Manual: Radical Reflections on Siding with the Poor.”

Fact & Film: ‘Silly Suffolk’ – The Dialect of ‘The Dig’ at Sutton Hoo.

Above: the Sutton Hoo helmet discovered by Brown’s excavations History lessons: Soon after my son moved to Framlingham in Suffolk to take up his first teaching post at the local Thomas Mills’ High School, in 2014, I fulfilled one of my ‘bucket list’ ambitions, which was to visit Sutton Hoo, the archaeological site nearby which had beenContinue reading “Fact & Film: ‘Silly Suffolk’ – The Dialect of ‘The Dig’ at Sutton Hoo.”

The Putney Debates, the Second Civil War & the Newport Treaty: Oct 1647 – Oct 1648; Levellers, Engagers & Insurgents.

An ‘Outbreak of Democracy’?: In his 1961 work on The Levellers and the English Revolution, H N Brailsford wrote that: … there has been nothing like this spontaneous outbreak of democracy in any English or continental army before this year of 1647, nor was there anything like it thereafter till the Workers’ and Soldiers’ CouncilsContinue reading “The Putney Debates, the Second Civil War & the Newport Treaty: Oct 1647 – Oct 1648; Levellers, Engagers & Insurgents.”

Poverty, Progress & the Nonconformist Conscience in Britain, 1844-1914: London, Manchester & Birmingham.

The ‘Manchester School’ and the Industrial City: By the 1840s, Manchester had become the symbol of a new form of social organisation, a ‘modern Athens’ to Benjamin Disraeli. But, in a sense, the City deserved the rough treatment it subsequently got from two notable foreign visitors, Alexis de Tocqueville and Friedrich Engels. In 1851, JohnContinue reading “Poverty, Progress & the Nonconformist Conscience in Britain, 1844-1914: London, Manchester & Birmingham.”

Imperial Islands, Caribbean Englishes & Atlantic Economies, circa 1630-1980

‘Little England’ & ‘Pidgin’ English: Some interpretations of Britain’s imperial past have charged the ‘White British’ with using the Caribbean islands in general and Barbados in particular as a ‘dumping ground’ for Black slaves. In fact, the first settlers there were White Catholics, according to the Jesuit priest who met them in 1634, both IrishContinue reading “Imperial Islands, Caribbean Englishes & Atlantic Economies, circa 1630-1980”

The Forging of a Trans-Atlantic Language: Cross-Cultural Currents, 1840-1940

A National Language – From Webster to Whitman: The English Language has always been the most significant battlegrounds of Anglo-American rivalry, a fascinating window on the tensions of the “special relationship”. Divided by a common language, each generation has made the enjoyable discovery that the ‘standard’ English of Britain is different from from the EnglishContinue reading “The Forging of a Trans-Atlantic Language: Cross-Cultural Currents, 1840-1940”

Off to Philadelphia and back again – The Transatlantic Economy & Patterns of Migration – Britain, Europe & North America, 1865-1940

Emigration & Internal Migration – Key Facts: In 1870, seventy-two per cent of all British and Irish emigrants continued to see the United States as their preferred destination. After the Civil War, the American railroad companies began their huge task of driving a steel highway to the west. Where this permanent way pointed, the settlersContinue reading “Off to Philadelphia and back again – The Transatlantic Economy & Patterns of Migration – Britain, Europe & North America, 1865-1940”

375 Years Ago: The Civil War in the West, July-September 1645 – From the Battle of Langport to the Fall of Bristol.

Lanes to Langport: While the King camped out at Raglan Castle at the beginning of July, to the north of the main ongoing conflict, Royalist troops under Lord Byron were attempting to hold their own at Chester, and in the south-west Lord Goring, continuing to command the King’s army there, was attempting to fight hisContinue reading “375 Years Ago: The Civil War in the West, July-September 1645 – From the Battle of Langport to the Fall of Bristol.”