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.