No Dogs on the Bed

BY ISABELLA WIGHTMAN No Dogs on the Bed is an amusing book replete with funny pictures of dogs misbehaving. The illustrations are by the Sunday Times and Country Life illustrator John Holder. My favourite picture in the book was of the black dog with a fishbowl on his head eating a fish because the dog looks a lot like Angus, our family terrier. The one … Continue reading No Dogs on the Bed

Imagining a Murder

BY ANDREW MOODY It is time to finally exorcise the demons that haunted a ten-year old’s dreams all those years ago in the shape of a caravan that burned ferociously in the forest of the night for reasons unfathomable, by imagining a murder long forgotten which occurred once upon a moonlit Provence night… True crime is a popular genre for budding writers to put their … Continue reading Imagining a Murder

Family Are the Friends You Choose

BY NIGEL BEAN Marthe Kiley-Worthington is internationally renowned for her work on animal welfare, ecological agriculture and understanding animal minds. In particular, how to put well thought out theories into practice, allowing for the ecological controls and conflicting interests of all. Marthe was one of the first to encounter animal rights activists and their movement’s hostile nature in the 1980’s.  She was the first to … Continue reading Family Are the Friends You Choose

An Artist by Nature

BY NICK PEARCE Rodger McPhail is a world-famous British painter, best known for his detailed wildlife paintings of sporting fowl, fish, and dogs. After studying at both Liverpool and Coventry Art Colleges, he achieved the rare distinction of having a painting published on the front cover of The Shooting Times at the age of just 19. With numerous exhibitions at The Rountree Tryon Gallery and … Continue reading An Artist by Nature

Moorland Matters

BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN Trying to brush up on eco matters in light of recent events, I took it upon myself to read Ian Coghill’s ‘Moorland Matters: The Battle for the Uplands against Authoritarian Conservation’ when the publisher, Quiller, sent through a review copy to the magazine. I chose well. This is a masterful book and it’s written in such a refreshing way. It offers such … Continue reading Moorland Matters

The Ideology of Failure

BY ANDREW MOODY When researching Stephen Pax Leonard, the author of the 2018 Conservative polemic The Ideology of Failure: How Europe Bought Into Ideas That Will Weaken and Divide It, I couldn’t find any reviews of the book. In my search however, I found articles from 2018 about Leonard’s unpaid Research position at Durham university being cancelled after he allegedly posted Antisemitic and Islamophobic tweets, … Continue reading The Ideology of Failure

The Executioner’s Song

BY ANDREW MOODY Gary Gilmore was once as famous as most movie stars or athletes. Parodies of him played on Saturday Night Live. Johnny Cash called him on Death Row. Gilmore had been released from prison after twelve and a half years, spent nine months of freedom falling back into petty crime, developed a relationship with a teenage divorcee, before randomly killing two men. He … Continue reading The Executioner’s Song

Drink!

BY JAMIE FOSTER A delightful book to dip in and out of, Bruce Anderson’s ‘Drink!’ is a collection of his columns from The Spectator. Published by Quiller, this slim volume is a series of vignettes full of joie de vivre. Each column recollects a different occasion on which Anderson is drinking wine and it is a joy to be transported by him to so many … Continue reading Drink!

The Single-Minded Country Boy

BY TOM GALLAGHER Antonio Salazar was Europe’s longest serving Prime Minister in modern times. I wonder how much this can be ascribed to his farming background? In his 36 years presiding over the affairs of Portugal, this conservative autocrat, never allowed himself to be swallowed up by the bustle and self-importance of its capital, Lisbon. He ran Portugal rather like a punctilious head butler in … Continue reading The Single-Minded Country Boy

Crowley Demystified

BY ANDREW MOODY Aleister Crowley, the Great Beast, dictated nearly forty years after preparatory school at the Plymouth Brethren: “I had been the butt of every bully in school. My whole life seemed at times to be one slimy subterfuge to cozen death.” While perusing the National Portrait Gallery some years back, I noted Crowley’s magical portrait (it did not represent his image but worked … Continue reading Crowley Demystified

The Moon is Down

BY ANDREW MOODY In 1940, one year after the publication of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the Nazis had overrun most of Europe. Steinbeck was a clear-eyed, moralistic and political realist who knew that US involvement in the war was an inevitability. He joined several government intelligence agencies voluntarily that were created between 1940 and 1942. Two of the organisations were forerunners for the … Continue reading The Moon is Down

The Fake News Factory

BY JAMIE FOSTER David Sedgwick’s book ‘The Fake News Factory’ is a polemic on the state of the BBC. It pulls no punches from the outset in covering what Sedgwick perceives to be the BBC’s dishonesty and malfeasance. The BBC is portrayed as the source of fake news on a number of subjects ranging from Brexit and Donald Trump to Hungary and Russia. The book … Continue reading The Fake News Factory

On the Green Hill of Tara

Robert Adam’s new novel ‘On the Green Hill of Tara’ explores the beginning of Ireland’s formal relationship with the EEC. The backdrop to Ireland’s final accession application on 30 June 1970 was the second year of the Northern Ireland Troubles and in May of that year, the ‘Dublin Arms Crisis.’ This was the political scandal when members of Jack Lynch’s cabinet, no less, were caught … Continue reading On the Green Hill of Tara

To Silence a Mockingbird

BY MANDY BALDWIN I mean it when I say, if I were writing this in pen and ink, it would be blotched with my tears. Mississippi schools have taken Harper Lee’s masterwork, To Kill A Mockingbird, off the schools reading list, as some parents find it ‘disturbing’. What’s really ‘disturbing’ of course, are the implications of suppressing a masterpiece because it offends idiots. To Kill … Continue reading To Silence a Mockingbird

Monbiot’s Unintended Consequences

BY DAVID EYLES Don’t get me wrong about all this – I’m rather fond of George Monbiot’s writing. It is always entertaining and there is plenty to get your teeth into to get the argumentative juices flowing. His book – Feral – is just as you would expect. It is well written, almost poetic in places, spattered with knowledgeable asides about ecological systems and natural … Continue reading Monbiot’s Unintended Consequences

The True Believer

BY PATRICK MILLER For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and potentialities of the … Continue reading The True Believer

Kipling’s Future is Secure

BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN The future of education will hinge around pupils’ skills at source valuing and judgment. In a world where the best teachers will be available to pupils in hologram format, what other skills will pupils have to hone? Stimulated beyond our imaginations, their task will be to ride the knowledge stream and skilfully embrace the real while avoiding the fake; recognising that at times secondary … Continue reading Kipling’s Future is Secure