Been gone so long

I have been working in the past two months in some archives, here and in Berlin.  I used to  visit  Berlin frquently during the Cold War, and like most outsiders felt that it had an air of tension and conspiracy.  Travelling to the east was always a depressing experience and I still remember the taste of the [...]

Ron Jordan

Sad to say that Ron Jordan, whose story I told in We Fought At Arnhem died on the morning of Sunday, 10th of March. I first met Ron when I was making the first of the documentaries about HMS Ark Royal. He was an extremely enjoyable man to spend some time with, an irrepressible raconteur [...]

At Last It Can be Told

Its a modern New Years tradition that the National Archives gives the media  privileged access to the next batch of Government files  to be  released into the public domain under the thirty year rule. So far there has been the odd story about Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands war, all of which has been a bit [...]

Who's thinking about Dunkirk at this time of year? Apart from the really appalling news from the United States, its just a few more days to Christmas, and the season of excess.  Well, I'm thinking of Dunkirk because yesterday  I received the news that Sid Lewis had died on Friday night. Sid was one of [...]

Leveson and Freedom of The Press

The press was  lobbying hard against the Leveson Inquiry weeks before the report and Lord Levesons proposals had been made public.  One of the arguments is that Lord Leveson has got it wrong because the behaviour of the journalists on the Sun was not just a breach of ethics, but was downright criminal. The ineffable Sir [...]

The BBC soap opera and others

So Tony Hall, aka Lord Hall of Birkenhead is now in the top job at the BBC, after being brutally spurned in 1999. Some people have been quite sniffy, pointing out that the recruitment process was opaque to say the least and that he has never had experience of managing a big corporation. You could say [...]

Drugs and democracy

Saturdays Financial Times carried an obituary for Maria Gorrostieta,  the former Mayor of Tiquicheo in Mexico.  It reminded me of the similar fate of an acquaintance in Italy.   Maria's body was found by the side of the road. She had been tortured, her hand and  feet  had  been tied and she had been burned around her waist and her [...]

Newsnight adrift in the BBC

I was told a few days ago by a BBC contact that a  senior executive had offered to resign after the Newsnight episode, but  Entwistle, the Director General  decided he should  go instead.  If this is true the promptness with which  management are prepared to fall on their swords is refreshing.  I've had experience with lower level executives in [...]

Remembrance Day

For most of us now the remembrance is abstract, but there are still some veterans, and relatives of the dead for whom it is wholly concrete. Every veteran that I have interviewed remembers their friends that died, and the fact that is was mostly luck that allowed them to survive. Many, I think feel guilty [...]