February 11, 2015 Leave a comment
January 1, 2015 Leave a comment
Here is what I have tackled in 2014. I guess it is an odd assortment, which rather mirrors my undisciplined approach to reading.
Highlight? I would plump for The Second World War by Antony Beevor, with honourable mentions for A Greedy Man in a Hungry World and The God Delusion.
|Alexander McCall Smith||The Sunday Philosophy Club|
|Alistair Cooke||Letter From America Collection|
|Ann Widdecombe||Strictly Ann : The Autobiography|
|Antony Beevor||The Second World War|
|Beverly Donofrio||Riding in Cars with Boys : Confessions of a bad girl who makes good|
|Billy Connolly||Billy Connolly’s Route 66|
|David Attenborough||Quest under Capricorn|
|Guy Walters||The Real Great Escape|
|Helen Simonson||Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand|
|Jay Rayner||A Greedy Man in a Hungry World|
|Laurence Shames||Welcome to Paradise|
|M. C. Beaton||Agatha Raisin and the Fairies Of Fryfam|
|Mary Soames||A Daughter’s Tale : The memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill’s youngest child|
|Peter Moore||Damn His Blood|
|Peter Robinson||Before the Poison|
|R. H. Tawney||Religion and the Rise of Capitalism|
|Richard Dawkins||The God Delusion|
|Robert Dimery (general editor)||1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die|
|Robert Sellers||An A-Z of Hellraisers : A Compendium of Outrageous Insobriety|
|Robert Service||Lenin : A Biography|
|Robert Wilson||Astronomy through the ages : The story of the human attempt to understand the Universe|
|Ruth Rendell||The Monster In The Box|
|Stephen Fry||Fry’s English Delight Series 3|
|Susan Ottaway||Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice|
November 29, 2014 1 Comment
9304 constituents are providing unpaid care
22613 constituents are over 60
9487 households are living with at least one family member who has a long term illness or disability
15829 constituents have a condition that limits their activity in some way
(Numbers from http://www.careweneed.com/postcode)
The Care & Support Alliance represents over 75 of Britain’s leading charities campaigning alongside the millions of older people, disabled people and their carers who deserve decent care.
October 12, 2014 Leave a comment
One of last night’s dinner party conversion was the topic of everybody’s top three Alfred Hitchcock films. Being largely housebound at the moment I have been watching a few recently, and so some are very fresh to my memory. So, here is a top five.
1, The 39 Steps
For a long time my favourite film of all time. It is a tremendous story (loosely based on John Buchan’s novel) and in Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll has a superb pairing. The supporting cast are wonderful, and as a period piece alone it is a wonderful peak into the world as it was in 1939 (autogyro and all). I guess those not used to black and white and primitive filming techniques may find it a chore, but I think this proves that if you have a good story and great actors you do not need fancy special effects. Favourite scene? Possibly the one where Hannay and Pamela are handcuffed in a guesthouse.
Still scary more than fifty years after it was made. Made on a shoestring budget, this is a fine example of a great plot and fine performances. The shower scene must rank amongst the greatest in cinematographic history – and those violins must rival the Jaws music as being the most simple yet effective accompaniment of all time. Anthony Perkins is really sinister, and Janet Leigh is great. Favourite scene? The shower scene is exceptional – and it manages to convey what is going on without being graphic.
This is the one I watched most recently, and I rate it so highly just because Ingrid Bergman is so entrancing. Gregory Peck is fine too, portraying someone who impersonates the new head of an asylum, who goes on to be convicted for the murder of the person being impersonated. The story does not end there, though, and I shan’t spoil the denouement for those who have yet to see it. Best scene? I am tempted to say every one featuring Ms Bergman, but I will opt for the Salvador Dali dream sequence instead.
4, North by Northwest
I just love Cary Grant’s acting, and this amongst the finest of his performances. The famous crop-duster scene is wonderful staged – I like the unrushed way it is introduced. I cannot recall another film that features Mount Rushmore – but this is as likely owing to a combination of poor memory and not having watched enough movies. This film captures the feeling of the fifties ending and the sixties beginning and as a period piece alone it is worth watching.
5, Rear Window
Having got to number five I realise that there are a number of very good films I have omitted. But Rear Windows is an intriguing idea – a murder uncovered by someone confined by a broken leg to breaking the monotony of his existence by spying on his neighbours. Best scene? Grace Kelly breaking into one of the neighbouring flats – and getting caught in the act. It is a wonderfully claustrophobic film whose story-telling entrances the whole way through.
October 1, 2014 1 Comment
As a local Labour Candidate for the General Election, I spend a great deal of time meeting with local people, listening to their hopes and concerns. Something I hear more and more are concerns about jobs; the lack of good jobs for our young people, job insecurity and low pay.
The economy isn’t working for working people and the cost of low pay and insecure work is adding billions to social security budgets.
Long term youth unemployment has soared under the Tories, costing tax payers millions a year. At the same time low paid and insecure work is leaving more people reliant on benefits to help pay their bills. Under the Tories we’ve seen record numbers of people who can’t get the hours or work they want, costing the country over £1 billion a year in benefits.
Meanwhile Nick Clegg has been too weak to stand up to David Cameron and has backed the Tories failed approach all the way. As for UKIP they want to abolish your rights as a worker, including parental leave, maternity pay, holiday pay, sick pay, and even redundancy pay.
In the Labour Party we’re determined to do something about the problem. We will:
• Back the next generation with a job guarantee for the young unemployed
• Tackle the abuse of migrant labour to undercut wages by banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers
• Make sure that unemployed young people who don’t have the skills they need to get a job are in training, not on benefits
• Make work pay by increasing the National Minimum Wage and providing tax breaks to firms that boost pay through the Living Wage
But I want to hear your views on what more needs to be done to create a healthy, prosperous and integrated community.