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.