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News from Nowhere is an 1890 novel by William Morris. It is an early work of utopian science fiction, which presents Morris's socialist ideals through the narrator's journey into a future in which they have been realised. Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
The New Yorker has a valuable long read this week, asking Has the C.I.A. Done More Harm Than Good? "Almost from its creation" author Amy Davidson Sorkin notes, "there was a sense that something about the C.I.A. was off. The... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
Le Morte D'Arthur is a late 15th Century work by Thomas Malory, recounting the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Compiled from earlier English and French romances, it became the definitive English-language version of the Arthurian legend, and later writers such as Mark Twain and T.H. White have freely borrowed from it. Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
The stream of revelations from the files of Britain's cold war propaganda unit, the Information Research Department (IRD), continues in the Observer today. The paper reports on how the IRD worked with MI6 in the 1970s to undermine the Italian Communist Party, in spite of the Eurocommunist trend which saw the party taking a more independent line towards Moscow. Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
Barchester Towers is an 1857 novel by Anthony Trollope, the second in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. It recapitulates many elements of the plot of The Warden, in a more complex form with a broader cast of characters. Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
Politico has an intriguing nugget on Scotland: And while a serious revival in Scotland appears unlikely — one party official admitted only 15 seats north of the border are competitive for Labour, and that “we won’t win them all” —... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
With a Labour government looking increasingly likely after last week's 'fiscal event', the policy announcements at this week's party conference have taken on a new significance. Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Kyle didn't disappoint in that respect, stating that he would set out the criteria for a referendum on Irish Unity if Labour were to come to power. That drew sharp criticism from unionists who called for him to retain ambiguity on the matter. Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
ITV is running a new thriller next month based on the life of Matthew Collins, a former far-right activist who now works for the anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate. Today's Guardian interview with Collins reveals that he ran four spies... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency has today released the results of the 2021 census. As widely anticipated, it shows for the first time that Northern Ireland has more Catholics (45.7%) than Protestants (43.48%) (See update below). This is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The Greek government has enlisted a former senior MI5 officer to reform its intelligence services, the daily Kathemirini reported earlier this month. The government has reportedly opted for a British model to restructure Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) in an... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The National Archives move towards a 20-year-rule mean that many records from the early New Labour years are now available. That includes episodes like the 1998 Arms to Africa Affair when a British mercenary outfit, Tim Spicer's Sandline International, sent... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
When Liz Truss's press secretary was asked for a list of the new Prime Minister's advisors earlier this month, journalists were told that 'you can refer to the Guido Fawkes website.' So we must take take Guido as authoritative when it reports tonight that 'Victoria Hewson is leaving the IEA to join the Foreign Office as a SpAd, focusing on Northern Ireland.' Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill came under strong criticism last night from a range of voices at a West London event on dealing with trauma from the conflict. Former Irish army officer, Senator Tom Clonan, described the... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The Warden is an 1855 novel by Anthony Trollope. The title character, Septimus Harding, heads a hospital which supports a dozen retired workingmen, but whose charitable income has swollen over the centuries and now provides him with a very comfortable living. Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Life of Charlemagne or Life of Charles the Great (Latin: Vita Karoli Magni) is a biography of the great Frankish ruler and founder of the Holy Roman Empire. It was completed some time between the death of its subject in 814 CE and the death of its author in 840. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Chronicles (French: Chroniques) of Jean Froissart are a prose history centred on the first part of the Hundred Years' War between England and France but incorporating developments across Western Europe between the 1320s and the end of the Fourteenth Century. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2022 at Tom's Learning Notes
Last month's MI5 action alert on Chinese influence seems to have prompted some follow-up in the press in recent days. This week's (paywalled) Sunday Times had this: Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
I noted earlier this week that the opposition was attempting to make an issue of Russian donations to the Conservative Party in Monday's parliamentary debate on foreign political interference. Labour attempted this previously in the wake of the Skripal affair,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
Following last week's MI5 alert about an alleged Chinese interference operation at Westminster, Home Secretary Priti Patel made a statement to the Commons on Monday on foreign interference in British politics. Patel told MPs that such alerts would be more... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2022 at The Green Ribbon
The Confessions is an autobiographical work by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, written between 1765 and 1770. The first volume was published in 1782, four years after his death, while a second appeared in 1789. The work was the first secular autobiography inaugurating a form which was soon widely imitated. Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Sacred Books of the East is a collection of Asian religious texts translated into English under the Editorship of Max Müller between 1879 and 1910. Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
Emile, or On Education (French: ) is a 1762 work by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, describing the education of its eponymous hero from infancy to manhood. This proved to be a powerful device for expounding Rousseau's ideas about human nature. The work was banned in France and Geneva because of the heterodox religious views expressed in the section known as The Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar. Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences (French: Discours sur les sciences et les arts) is a 1750 essay by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was originally composed in response to a competition announced by the Academy of Dijon,asking whether the restoration of the arts and sciences had contributed to the purification of morals. Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
Candide (French: Candide, ou l'optimisme) is a 1759 satirical novella by Voltaire. It's eponymous hero is a young man who lives a sheltered existence on his uncle's estate under the tutelage of Doctor Pangloss, a philosopher who subscribes to Leibniz's dictum that 'all is for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.' Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Philosophical Letters or Letters on the English (French: Lettres philosophiques) is a 1733 work by Voltaire, revised in 1778, composed as a series of letters reflecting on his sojourn in England from 1726 to 1728. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2021 at Tom's Learning Notes