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 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!


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? 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 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 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 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.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The sad decline of the British Department Store

 This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

Ground floor: perfumery, stationery and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food. Going up...

So begins the theme song for the classic television comedy series Are You Being Served? currently being repeated on BBC2 on weekday afternoons.
The popular sitcom takes us back to the Seventies and life in the fictional Grace Brothers emporium. But for a more modern view of department stores there is a new series called Liberty Of London which begins on Monday and which shows the staff of the famous shop preparing for Christmas. Meanwhile the Sunday night drama series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise, both set in stores of yesteryear, have proved to be big hits with audiences.
But while such retail enterprises are thriving in television schedules, in real life it's a different story. Many have closed in recent years as our shopping habits have changed.

You can read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ukraine & EU: Why some protestors are more equal than others

My new column for OpEdge

One thing’s for sure: if you live in the US or Western Europe, and haven’t spent the last three days locked in a wardrobe, you’re probably well aware that protests against the Ukrainian government have been taking place in Kiev.

You can read the whole of the article here.

'EU trade deal would be Ukraine’s ticket for the Titanic'

New interview with me on RT on Ukraine's lucky escape.
Full interview can be read here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mother Agnes and the 'liberal' hawks out to silence her

My new column for RT OpEdge on how a 61-year-old nun has become Public Enemy Number One for the serial warmongers.
Just when you thought the ‘liberal interventionists’ and neo-cons couldn’t stoop any lower, they just have. 
The ‘pro-free speech’ but actually very anti-free speech bullies have got a new target. A 61-year old nun called Mother Agnes-Mariam who has been living in Syria for twenty years and who runs a campaign called Mussahala (Reconciliation). 
For  the West‘s ‘liberal hawks’ and serial interventionists, this elderly lady, who is working tirelessly for peace and an end to the bloodshed in Syria, has become Public Enemy Number One. 
Mother Agnes has been subject to a vicious internet campaign of character assassination, smears and defamation. We’ve been told that she is an ‘Assad apologist,’ ‘Assad‘s favourite nun’- she has even been called ‘the Syrian equivalent of one of Hitler’s brown priests’.  
When the 'liberal' hawks and serial warmongers saw that Mother Agnes had been invited to speak at the forthcoming international conference of Stop the War, they had a collective hissy fit. 
You can read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Conspiracy theories? No one does it better than West’s elite

My new piece for OpEdge on the biggest conspiracy theorists of them all.

For a long time elite establishment gatekeepers in the West have scoffed at that those who claim Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned. As to those who claimed he was poisoned by Israel - well-of course they're crazy conspiracy theorists!

Yet these same people who ridiculed the idea of Arafat’s poisoning are, by and large, the same people who assert, without any shadow of a doubt, that the murdered spy Aleksandr Litvinenko was poisoned by the Russian authorities in London in 2006.

Now we still don't know for sure that Arafat was poisoned, or that Israel was responsible, but after last week’s news that Swiss scientists have found levels of polonium-210 18 times higher than normal in his exhumed body, it is much harder for these elite gatekeepers to haughtily dismiss as ‘cranks’ those who maintain that Arafat was murdered.

What the Litvinenko and Arafat cases show us is that there are officially 'approved' conspiracy theories and those which do not receive official approval. 

You can read the whole of the piece here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

AP McCoy- the greatest jumps jockey of all time- records his 4,000th winner

On this link, you can listen to an interview with me on BBC Radio Wales on Tony McCoy's truly remarkable achievement, starting at about 2hrs21mins.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Fighting against peace: Why US doesn't want an end to wars

My new piece for OpEdge.

The only surprising thing about the news that the US is sabotaging peace moves in Afghanistan and Pakistan is that anyone should find the news surprising….

The fact is that on several important occasions in the last 30 years or so, the US has wrecked peace efforts and used its power to provoke or prolong conflicts which could have been avoided or solved without further bloodshed.

You can read the whole article here.

Gentleman Jim Reeves: the country crooner who conquered Britain

New piece of mine from the Daily Express. 

HE WAS one of the first artists to take country music out of the US and give it a global appeal.
In some parts of the world the Texan crooner “Gentleman” Jim Reeves – renowned for his pleasant persona and wonderfully smooth, soothing voice – became even more popular than Elvis Presley. 
Even his tragic early death at 40 in a light aeroplane crash didn’t halt his chart success, as a radio documentary presented by Sir Terry Wogan reveals. Reeves went on to register No 1 hits from beyond the grave.

You can read the whole piece here.

Major-General Roy Urquhart : the man who knew Arnhem was a bridge too far

This new piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

ALMOST 70 years after it was sent the telegram from British commander Major-General Roy Urquhart confirming that the Battle of Arnhem was lost has come to light.
The historic message, in which Urquhart says his men are exhausted and cannot continue without urgent military assistance, was stuck on a piece of card with a signed photograph of Field Marshal Montgomery on the reverse and kept in the archive of Monty’s adjutant Captain Noel Chavasse.

Chavasse’s daughter has put the document up for auction in Marlow, Buckinghamshire next week and it has a pre-sale estimate of £400.

You can read the whole article here. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Taking on the big six energy giants in not a left-wing delusion- ask Hungary

My new piece over at The Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: Hungary's centre-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has cut bills by 20% and wants to return utilities to the public sector

You can read the whole piece here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

'US aims to destroy all independently minded countries in the Middle East'.

New RT interview with me on the latest bombings in Iraq and why responsibility for the destruction of Iraq as a functioning country lies with the illegal invaders of 2003.

US Trojan horse: NSA scandal shows Europe would be better off without Britain 

My new piece over at OpEdge.

Like the curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark in the nighttime in the classic Sherlock Holmes story Silver Blaze, the most revealing thing about the latest NSA spying revelations which made world headlines last week was the non-barking of the UK. 

You can read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Freezing to death in neo-liberal Britain

My new piece for RT OpEdge.

The issue of rocketing gas and electricity bills in the UK highlights the massive disconnect that exists between Britain’s well-heeled, neo-liberal political elite and ordinary people. 
For ordinary Britons, rising energy bills – and the adverse impact that profiteering by the “Big Six” energy companies has had on our standard of living – is THE big issue of the day. It’s the issue that people are talking about in pubs and cafes, and it’s the issue that people want urgent action on.  
But our ruling elite have spent most of 2013 focusing not on energy prices - and how to bring them down, but on trying to topple the government in faraway Syria - and in privatizing the few remaining parts of the economy that are still in public ownership.

You can read the whole piece here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ruled by hardcore capitalism, UK looks longingly at China

This new piece of mine appears over at RT OpEdge.

It’s interesting to see which country UK ruling right-wing, anti-communist and anti-socialist elite are desperate to get to ‘invest’ in Britain: The People’s Republic of China. That’s right - the country ruled by the Communist Party since 1949.

You can read the whole of the piece, on the glaring double standards of the UK's ruling elite, here.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A right royal rip-off - What the Royal Mail privatisation tells us about modern Britain

It’s the wilful destruction of another much-loved British institution. The privatisation of the Royal Mail, the British postal service, brings to an end nearly five hundred years of history- stretching back the days of King Henry VIII. 
By privatising the Royal Mail, our coalition government has shown that it does not care a jot for our national heritage, or the devastating impact the sell-off will have on remote rural communities, or how the elderly and the poor will be disproportionately affected. They have shown us that all they care about is rewarding their wealthy backers in the City of London and keeping in with the giants of global capitalism.

Me on the shameful sell-off of the Royal Mail. You can read the whole article, over at OpEdge.

Western military intervention to blame for Libya chaos and lawlessness

Latest interview with me on RT.

An increase in crime in Libya, a destroyed economy, and the lack of political control over different tribes makes Libya worse off than 2 years ago, as October marks the death of Colonel Gaddafi, journalist Neil Clark has told RT.
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan spent several hours in captivity on Thursday after a 'former rebel' militia kidnapped him from a Tripoli hotel in retaliation for his apparent cooperation with a US anti-terror raid. 

The event, Clark argues, highlights the complete chaos that exits in Libya since the 2011 Western intervention. 

More here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lost in the (Huffington) Post: Labour's Royal Mail betrayal

This piece of mine appears in the Morning Star.

Labour's Chuka Umunna says there have been 'successful' privatisations - but NEIL CLARK struggles to think of any

One of the funniest moments in the hilarious Blackadder Goes Forth series was when our heroes are reminiscing about their time in the first world war trenches before the going "over the top" in the final "big push."
"I mean, we've had some good times. We've had damnably good laughs, eh?" says the silly-arse public schoolboy George (played by Hugh Laurie). "Yes. Can't think of any specific ones, myself..." replies Captain Blackadder.
I was reminded of that classic exchange when reading the article on Labour's policy towards the privatisation of the Royal Mail by shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, published on the Huffington Post website.

You can read the whole piece here.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore: The Odd Couple

This piece of mine on the great comedy duo appears in the Daily Express.
Above you can enjoy some classic Pete and Dud.

PETER COOK and Dudley Moore were unlikely comic partners.
Cook was a middle-class public schoolboy from Torquay whose father was a colonial administrator in Nigeria. Moore was brought up on a council estate in Dagenham, his father was an electrician, his mother a typist.

Moore was born with a withered leg and a club foot and his mother's reaction on being introduced to baby Dudley was: "This isn't my child. I don't want him. Take him away." He was bullied at school on account of his deformities.

You can read the whole piece here. 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

In Memoriam Dennis Price, 'Kind-Heart(ed) actor, died 6th October 1973

Exactly forty years ago today, the actor Dennis Price, star of that wonderful black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, died at the age of 58.  Here's my 2007 tribute piece from the Sunday Express.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Harold Laski - the man who influenced Ralph Miliband

A timely re-post of my piece on Professor Harold Laski, published in the New Statesman earlier this year.

During the 2010 Labour leadership campaign, much was written of the influence of Ralph Miliband, the brilliant Marxist academic and father of two rivals for the job of leader, Ed and David. Yet what of the man who influenced Ralph Miliband?

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Iraq: The greatest 'non-story' of the modern era

This new piece of mine appears over at RT's OpEdge.

Another day and yet more death and destruction in the Middle East country.

The latest violence has killed at least 54 people and injured over 100 others. In July, over 1,000 people were killed and over 2,300 wounded.

You probably think I’m talking about Syria. But I’m not. I’m talking about Iraq. The country that George W. Bush and Tony Blair 'liberated’ in 2003.

You can read the whole article here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

'US/UK special relationship put to test'

You can listen to a Voice of Russia  ‘Agree of Disagree’  debate between me & Andrew Hardisty on the future of the US/UK alliance here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Jimmy Perry! The genius behind Dad's Army turns 90

This interview of mine with the great comedy writer Jimmy Perry, who is 90 today, is in the Daily Telegraph.

Is there anyone living in Britain today who has contributed more to our Gross National Happiness than Jimmy Perry? This is the man who not only created and co-wrote the nation’s best loved and most enduring comedy series, Dad’s Army, but who also, along with his writing partnerDavid Croft, gave us two other hugely popular shows, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and Hi De Hi! as well as the witty Upstairs, Downstairs pastiche You Rang, M’Lord?

You can read the whole interview here.

I've also got another piece on the great Jimmy Perry in today's Daily Express.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013/14 Champions League

This piece of mine appears over at The Week.

THE first group stages of the Champions League begin on Tuesday 17 September. There are eight groups each consisting of four teams and the top two in each group will go through to the last 16.
Last year the competition was full of surprises, with Bayern Munich beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in an all-German final, after the two Bundesliga teams had knocked out their better-fancied Spanish opponents, Real Madrid and Barcelona in the semis. Did we witness a power-shift in European football, or was it just a one-off? Which teams are the best bets in this year's competition?

You can read the whole guide here. Good luck with your selections!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why we need more MPs like George Galloway in Parliament

Discussing with Lembit Opik on why today's UK political elite is so bland, and why we need more MPs like George Galloway in Parliament,on the Stephen Nolan Show on BBC Radio5 Live, here. (item starts at 51 mins).
You can also hear me discussing whether we need more 'celebrities' like Jeremy Clarkson in Parliament on BBC Radio Tees here. (starts at 5 mins)

Friday, September 06, 2013

Mind the Gap! Syria shows us that the democratic deficit in the US and UK has never been bigger

Here's my new column for RT's OpEdge.

The issue of Syria has demonstrated the massive gap that has opened up between the elite and ordinary people in both the US and Britain.

Poll after poll after poll shows very large majorities against strikes on Syria. People are war-weary, and the last thing they want is for their countries to become embroiled in another Middle-East war.

One Congressman in the US tweeted earlier this week that he had asked 200 people if they supported strikes on Syria and only four said 'Yes'- that's just 2 percent. Another said that 99 percent of calls to his office were against military action.

Let's get one thing straight: the only people who are keen on war with Syria in the US and UK are the elites. Ordinary people on both sides of the Atlantic want absolutely nothing to do with it.

You can read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Great British Seaside Sell-Off

This piece of mine appears in The Guardian.

In 1979, the state met almost all of British holidaymakers' needs, from transport to hotels to the fun stuff. Then Thatcherism changed everything. Neil Clark looks back at how our summers used to be

Who doesn't like to be beside the seaside? Who doesn't love the first glimpse of sun sparkling on bright, blue-green waves, a salt tang in the air?" Around Britain's Seaside, published by the AA in 1979, described itself as an "exciting new publication", a "guide to the resorts of Britain from the larger and most popular to the smaller, hidden-away spots", including descriptions of "where to eat, places to see, what's on and where, plus town plans". I paid £1.50 for a secondhand copy a few years back and have never regretted the purchase. The book provides a window into a very different world: the last summer before Thatcherism kicked in and transformed everything – including the AA and the British seaside holiday.

You can read the whole piece here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rejoice! Britain's Parliament finally turns against the neocons and serial warmongers

This new piece of mine appears over at OpEdge, on the RT website.

The MP’s vote against military intervention in Syria marked a wonderful day for democracy in Britain, because at long last, the Parliament listened to public opinion and voted accordingly, casting a huge blow to the powerful British neo-con clique.

In the great anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front there's a wonderful scene when Paul, on leave from the front, returns to his old school where his warmongering teacher and arch-hypocrite Kantorek is still urging his pupils to enlist, despite not volunteering himself. To Kantorek's horror Paul launches an anti-war tirade, and turns on his old teacher. 'He tells you go out and die, but it’s easier to say go out and die than it is to do it and it’s easier to say it than to watch it happen'.

I thought of that powerful scene this morning when I heard the news that the British Parliament had voted against military action against Syria.

You can read the whole of the piece here.

And if you've come to this site via the RT website, you can follow me on Twitter @NeilClark66

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The sad decay of NHS dentistry

This new piece of mine appears in The Sunday Express.

IT STARTED with a chicken drumstick. I was chewing away quite happily on a bone dipped in delicious barbecue sauce when, oh dear, my upper right tooth cracked and bits started coming out.
It wasn’t in the best of shape beforehand but it was the bone that delivered the killer blow. A sharp piece of tooth remained, digging into the inside of my cheek. It was all very painful, even after taking paracetamol. So what to do?

You can read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Very Naughty Boys of the British film industry

This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

IT WAS the independent British film company with a difference.

A collaboration between a member of the most famous pop group of all time and "six of the finest British comics since the Goons",  HandMade Films came into being in 1978 when Beatle George Harrison decided to finance the work of his heroes Monty Python. Harrison stepped in to rescue the Pythons' controversial film mocking organised religion, Life Of Brian, when EMI backed out.

Robert Sellers's new book Very Naughty Boys, named after the famous lines in Life Of Brian, "He's not the Messiah he's a very naughty boy", tells the amazing true story of George Harrison's film company. HandMade Films made some of the most iconic British movies of the Eighties but what started as a goodhumoured venture ended in tears, recrimination and expensive lawsuits. It is a tale of excess, outrageous behaviour, duplicity and betrayal and the egos and eccentricities of some of the biggest celebrities of the age.

You can read the whole article here.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013/14 English Premier League

It's back.....

WE CALL it the Premier League but it's really four leagues in one. There's the title race, which usually involves no more than three teams at most. There's the race for the remaining Champions League and Europa League places, which usually involves a further four or five teams. There's the battle to stay up, which usually involves six or seven teams, and then there's the middle order – sides that aren't strong enough to challenge for Europe, but are too good to go down.   

You can read the whole of my Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013-14 Premier League, including a discussion of the prospects of all 20 teams, here.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Angry about rail fares? Get on board the renationalisation express

This piece of mine appears over at The Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: With yet another fare rise on the way, it's time to get rid of these fat-cat private train operators and go back to public ownership

The 50th anniversary of the Great Train Robbery of August 1963 has been marked with a plethora of articles and the publication of new books. But why all the fuss, because the reality is that we're living through a Great Train Robbery which makes the activities of Ronnie Biggs and Co look insignificant. While Biggs and his gang only got away with £2.6m, the privatised train companies have (perfectly legally it must be said) taken billions from the public purse since 1996 – and have had the chutzpah to also charge us the highest rail fares in Europe.

You can read the whole article here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why calls to boycott Sochi 2014 highlight western double standards

Above you can watch an extract from a new interview with me on RT questioning why Stephen Fry is focusing on Russia, and not on the many countries which have a far worse record on gay rights.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013 USPGA golf championship

IT'S TIME for the fourth and final golfing Major of the year. This year's USPGA championship is being held for the third time on the East Course at the Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, New York, where a field of 156 will tee off today.

Finding the winner is a daunting task, but if we keep in mind certain key factors, we can narrow down the field to those worth an each-way bet.

You can read the whole of my IP Guide to the USPGA championship, here. Good luck with your selections!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

In memoriam James Beck: the Dad's Army star cut off in his prime

This piece of mine appears in today's Daily Telegraph

James Beck, aka Private Walker, died 40 years ago today. Neil Clark pays tribute

On 6 August 1973, James Beck, who played the Cockney spiv Private Walker in Dad’s Army, died at the age of 44. Ironically, he was the first member of the predominantly elderly ensemble to die. A highly accomplished actor, it seemed that he was set for a successful career as a character player. However, an addiction to alcohol cost him his life.

You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Iraq bloodshed & jailbreak 'situation going from bad to worse'

Another week of murder and mayhem in Iraq, the country which the US-led 'coalition' 'liberated' in 2003.
Over 700 people have been killed in Iraq so far this month-(over 1,000 were killed in May)- yet for the neocons and 'liberal interventionists' who egged on the illegal invasion of 2003, this is not news.  The neocons couldn't stop talking about Iraq in the lead-up to the war, about how Saddam Hussein possessed 'WMDs' and of the ' links' he had with al-Qaeda; now they never mention Iraq. I wonder why?
Above you can watch a new interview with me on RT on the latest situation in Iraq and why Bush, Blair and the neocons must be held responsible for the carnage which has gone on there since the invasion of 2003.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013 British Open Golf

PICKING the winner of this week's British Open at Muirfield is tricky - but if we take into account certain key factors before making our betting selections, we can tilt the percentages in our favour.
You can read the whole of my Intelligent Punter's Guide to the Open, here.
Good luck with your selections!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Is privatisation always a rip-off?

You can listen to a radio debate on  this topic between me and Steve Davis of the IEA on the Adrian Goldberg Show on BBCWM, at the link here. The item starts at 1hr 35mins in to the programme.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Western puppet regime served eviction notice

Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on the biggest anti-government protests in history. More on this story here.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013 Tour de France

MEN ON bikes. Lots of them. In France. This year marks the 100th Tour de France, the world's most famous cycle race. To make things more interesting as you watch the action on TV with Kraftwerk playing in the background, why not have a bet on the event?

You can read the whole of my Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013 Tour, over at The Week.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to Wimbledon 2013

ANYONE for tennis? Unlike the golfing Majors, where almost no-one from a huge entry field can be discounted, tennis Grand Slams are rather more predictable. Although 128 players will be taking part in both the men's and women's singles at Wimbledon, only a handful of players can entertain realistic hopes of victory.

You can read the whole of my Guide to this year's Wimbledon over at The Week.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to Royal Ascot

Forget the hats and concentrate on betting in Flat racing's equivalent of the Olympics

Still three days of the meeting to go so I hope this Intelligent Punter's Guide helps you with your selections.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013 U.S. Open golf

156 golfers tee off today in the US Open at Merion: which of them are worth backing to win it?

You can read my Guide to the US Open here. Good luck with your selections!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

'If you're in NATO you can get away with murder'

As events in Turkey prove to us once again....

Above you can watch a new interview with me on RT on why western criticism of Erdogan's brutal clampdown on protestors in Turkey has all been rather muted. More on this story here.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Regime-change case for Poirot: Syria conflict as ‘whodunnit?'

This new piece of mine appears over at the RT Op-Edge website.

'The ABC Murders' comes to my mind every time I think of Libya and Syria and the ‘Arab Spring.’ When do you notice an individual 'regime change' least? Answer: When it is in a series of 'regime changes'.

"When do you notice a pin least? When it is in a pin cushion! When do you notice an individual murder least? When it is one of a series of related murders".

So declares the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot as he unveils the murderer in Agatha Christie's classic mystery 'The ABC Murders'.

You can read the whole piece here

Thursday, May 30, 2013

‘UK govt lining up with Islamist radicals in Syria’

Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on the UK's neo-con government's policies towards Syria. The bully boys of Britain and France got the EU to end their arms embargo-opening the way for direct supplies of arms to 'rebel' groups. More on this story here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Left vs. the Liberal Media

This piece of mine appears in the anti-war magazine The American Conservative

How Media Lens debunks the BBC’s humanitarian interventionists

It all started in July 2001 when two men, concerned about bias in the corporate news media in the UK, began to send out “media alerts” to a small number of family and friends. Twelve years on and Media Lens—the brainchild of writer David Edwards, a former manager in sales and marketing, and David Cromwell, a physicist by background—has established itself as the UK’s media watchdog. There’s no doubting the impact they have made. “Without their meticulous and humane analysis, the full gravity of the debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan might have been consigned to bad journalism’s first draft of bad history,” is the verdict of veteran reporter and filmmaker John Pilger.

You can read the whole piece here. (and check out the neo-con cyber-stalking in the comments thread.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Erdogan has brought the war to Turkey by backing the Syrian rebels

Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on the growing protests in Turkey against the Turkish government's stance towards Syria. More on this story here.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest

Just a few hours to go before this year's Eurovision. Here's my Intelligent Punter's guide to this year's contest from The Week.

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Time to put our Euro-scepticism on hold and watch as twenty six European nations- well twenty-six nations that are the part of European Broadcasting Network- compete to see who can win the  annual Eurovision Song Contest. To help you enjoy Saturday evening’s proceedings even more, why not have a few bets on the event? Backing the winner of a 26 runner race might seem a daunting prospect but Eurovision is not the punter’s minefield it might first appear.

You can read the whole piece here.

On the subject of Eurovision, here's my piece from the Daily Express on UK contestant Bonnie Tyler, rock's comeback queen. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Peace in Syria? Only if the arsonists become fire-fighters

This new piece of mine on Syria appears over at OpEdge on the RT website.

The prospects of a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis is still a long way off. We won’t get an end to the violence until the foreign powers who have been fuelling the conflict, the US included, radically change their policies towards the country.

You can read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Becoming Sir Alex Ferguson is a lifetime's work....

This article of mine appears in the Sunday Express.

THERE have been quite a few theories put forward to explain the extraordinary success of Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager of Manchester United who finally announced his retirement last week.
One point which has generally been overlooked is that Fergie, now 71, already had 12 years of football management under his belt before he was crowned Old Trafford supremo in 1986.

His road to greatness began at lowly Scottish club East Stirlingshire in 1974. He then managed St Mirren and Aberdeen, and even had a spell managing Scotland before Man United called.

Ferguson's career reminds us that 30 years ago you didn't get the top jobs unless you had served a long apprenticeship… and it wasn't just football managers that this applied to.

You can read the whole piece here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Bravery of the Bevin Boys

This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express

THEY were for a long time among the forgotten heroes of the Second World War.

The Bevin Boys was the name given to the 48,000 or so young men aged between 18 and 25 who were conscripted by the government to work down the mines during the period 1943-48.

The part they played in the war effort was not officially honoured until 2007 when the government announced that they would be awarded a Veterans Badge. But this week there was further recognition of their important role when the Countess of Wessex unveiled a memorial, designed by former Bevin Boy Harry Parkes, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

You can read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Dr Keith Simpson: The man who made dead people talk

This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

JOHN GEORGE HAIGH, the Acid Bath Murderer, was confident he would not be found guilty of killing Olive Durand- Deacon because the police would never find her body.
How can you prove murder if there is no body?” he boasted.

But the serial killer had reckoned without Home Office pathologist Dr Keith Simpson.

You can read the whole article here.  And if in the UK, don't miss 'Murder on the Home Front', at 9pm on ITV on Thursday. 

Friday, May 03, 2013

The two sides to Ronnie O'Sullivan

This piece of mine, on the enigmatic snooker genius Ronnie O'Sullivan, appears in today's The Daily Express

Just imagine if Lionel Messi, having scored five goals for Barcelona in a match in the Champions League, announced in a press conference afterwards that playing football was not something he really wanted to do and he was quitting the sport? Or if jockey Frankie Dettori, having ridden all seven winners at Ascot, had said he was only riding to pay his children's school fees?

People would find it very hard to understand how someone so brilliant at their craft could be so disillusioned with it. Yet that's what has happened this week in the sport of snooker.

You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Syria: 'Rebels' try to bomb their way to power by killing innocent civilians'

Another day of terrorist attacks in Syria. But hey, we're not supposed to call them that are we? Even when they are clearly, by any objective assessment, terrorist attacks that would be condemned within minutes by western leaders if they took place in Tel Aviv or Riyadh or in any other country that was considered a western 'ally'.
New interview with me on RT on the latest situation and why William Hague and co have got blood on their hands.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

British racing faces crisis as super-rich Sheikh Mohammed's horses fail drugs tests

This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

HORSE RACING has long been associated with scandals but the news that 11 horses representing the powerful Godolphin operation, owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the fabulously wealthy ruler of oil-rich Dubai, have failed drug tests is arguably the biggest bombshell ever to hit the sport.

You can read the whole article here.

You can also hear a radio interview with me on this subject, on BBC Radio Wales, here. Item starts at 1hr 22 mins into the programme.

UPDATE: Trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni has been warned off for eight years.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Memoriam: The innocent victims of NATO's attack on RTS, 23rd April 1999


Darko Stoimenovski (26), technician
Nebojsa Stojanovic (27), technician
Dragorad Dragojevic (27), security guard
Ksenija Bankovic (28), video mixer
Jelica Munitlak (28), make-up artist
Dejan Markovic (30), security guard
Aleksandar Deletic (31), cameraman
Dragan Tasic (31), technician
Slavisa Stevanovic (32), producer
Sinisa Medic (33), programme designer
Ivan Stukalo (34), foreign programming specialist
Milan Joksimovic (47), security officer
Branislav Jovanovic (50), programme operator
Slobodan Jontic (54), set director
Milovan Jankovic (59), mechanic
Tomislav Mitrovic (61), programme director.

Killed on the day that NATO bombed a television station for not toeing the NATO party line. 
More on this (as yet) unpunished war crime here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

SOLD: Skorpios- The £100m paradise isle where Onassis married Jackie Kennedy

This feature article of mine appears in the Daily Express. The buyer of the island has been confirmed as Ekaterina Rybolovleva.

WHO hasn’t dreamed of one day owning their very own island in the sun? For Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, then one of the richest men in the world, the dream came true in 1962 when he bought the beautiful 200-acre island of Skorpios, which lies in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece

The heavily forested island has been owned by the Onassis family for more than 50 years and has been very close to their hearts. It was on Skorpios in 1968 that Aristotle Onassis married Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, the widow of American president John F Kennedy. Aristotle, who died in 1975, is buried on the island as are his daughter Christina and son Alexander.

But now it seems the dream is over. If recent reports are to be believed, Onassis’s granddaughter Athina has agreed to sell Skorpios for £100million to an unnamed Russian billionaire, marking the end of the island’s association with a family who despite their great wealth have known more than their fair share of tragedy.

You can read the whole piece here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2013 US Masters

You can read my guide to the first golfing Major of the season here.  If you do have a bet on the event, good luck with your selections.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Don't believe the myth of Thatcherism: The 1970s were great

A topical piece from the archive: this article of mine on the neoliberal myth that Margaret Thatcher 'saved' Britain in 1979,  from The First Post/The Week in 2009.


Friday, April 05, 2013

The 2013 Grand National: The Intelligent Punter's Guide

This piece of mine appears over at The Week.

THE TIMES they are-a-changin. After two horses died at last year's Grand National, the Aintree authorities have made further changes to the world's most famous steeplechase in an attempt to make it safer. They include levelling the landing zones at some fences, including Becher's Brook, where the ill-fated Synchronised and According to Pete both came down 12 months ago, changing the make-up of the fences, and moving the start of the race forwards by 90 yards.
These changes are not the only things that will be different about this year's race, due off at 4.15pm on Saturday. For the first time live television coverage will be provided by Channel 4, and not the BBC, which has shown the last 52 Grand Nationals.

You can read the rest of the piece and my profiles of the 40 runners in tomorrow's race here.

UPDATE: What a race- and great that all the horses and jockeys came back safely. I hope that the Guide to the runners proved helpful to those having a bet. Just one day later, winning jockey Ryan Mania had a crashing fall at Hexham and had to be airlifted to hospital. Here's my piece from today's The Week on why, compared to other sports professionals, jump jockeys really are a race apart.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Search and Rescue sell-off reveals a government obsessed with privatisation

This new piece of mine appears over at The Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: From RAF search and rescue to Royal Mail and the NHS, state services are being sold off. The public don't back this extremism 

You really couldn't make it up. As the RAF search and rescue service does heroic work helping people caught out or marooned in heavy snow in north Wales, the government announces that the very same service is to be privatised – with a 10-year contract worth £1.6bn being awarded to an American company whose headquarters are in Texas. "Our search and rescue helicopter service plays a crucial role, saving lives and providing assistance to people in distress on both land and on sea," said transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin on Tuesday. But why, when the SAR service is so excellent, and does such a fantastic job, is the government handing over all the work to a private company? We're told that the RAF's rescue helicopters are "ageing"; but can we really not afford to buy them 22 new ones?

You can read the whole piece here

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Titanic sails again

The Titanic is set to sail again. Or rather, Titanic II. Here's my piece from the Daily Express on a truly remarkable venture.

IT IS the most famous ocean liner in history. More than 100 years ago RMS Titanic – the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage in 1912 – hit an iceberg 375 miles south of Newfoundland and sank, leading to the death of 1,502 people. The tragedy has been recorded in books, exhibitions , poetry and films, the most recent being the multi-Oscar winning 1997 version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Now thanks to one man’s bold vision the name Titanic will be appearing on our seas again. A new vessel Titanic II will set out to complete the journey of its doomed predecessor from Southampton  to New York. It is due to be launched in late 2016 and will be built in the Jinling shipyard in China.

You can read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Friday, March 01, 2013

Living the good life in the 1970s with Richard Briers

Very sad news about the death of Richard Briers. This appreciation piece of mine appears in the New Statesman.

Peter Egan, who co-starred with Richard Briers in Ever Decreasing Circles, tweeted that he felt “devastated” by his friend’s death on 17 February. He’s not the only one.

It’s rare nowadays for deaths of public figures to trigger sincere feelings of loss and sadness by almost everyone; Briers’s death – like that of his fellow actor Clive Dunn last November –was one instance of this.

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jon Pertwee: from secret agent to Dr Who

This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

HE  was, for many fans, the greatest Doctor Who of them all. The actor Jon Pertwee, who played the intrepid Time Lord from 1970 to 1974, is fondly remembered for the flamboyance and enthusiasm he gave to the role as well as for his sartorial elegance.

Yet what was not known until now is that Pertwee, famous for  fighting against the Daleks on TV, was a secret agent during the Second World War. 

You can read the whole of the article here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Running out of Sweeties

This piece of mine appears in the new edition of The Spectator.

To say someone was ‘sweet’ used to be quite common in Britain. We didn’t just use the word to describe our mothers and grandmothers, but a wide range of people, including public figures. But not any more. Public acts of sweetness, such as gently warning people that their shoelaces were untied, are now rare. Sweetness seems to be in terminal decline. Having just celebrated Valentine’s Day, now seems an appropriate time to ask why.

You can read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

'Al-Qaeda threat used by NATO as smoke screen for re-colonization of Northern Africa’

Above you can watch a new interview with me on RT on the reasons behind western interventions in North Africa. More on this story here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Harold Laski - the man who influenced Ralph Miliband

This piece of mine appears in the New Statesman.

Neil Clark: Why Ed Miliband should follow in his father's footsteps and consider the ideas of this former Labour Party chairman

During the 2010 Labour leadership campaign, much was written of the influence of Ralph Miliband, the brilliant Marxist academic and father of two rivals for the job of leader, Ed and David. Yet what of the man who influenced Ralph Miliband?

Harold Laski, who taught Miliband Sr politics at the London School of Economics, was one of the giants of 20th-century British socialism. A panellist of the anti-fascist Left Book Club along with Victor Gollancz and the Labour MP John Strachey, Laski was the most popular – and most argued-about – public intellectual of his time. As an influential figure in the Labour Party, he played an important role in its landslide victory of 1945.

You can read the whole of the piece here