Category Archives: politics

Who is the politician?

I’m currently reading (and admiring) C.R. Benstead’s 1930 novel, Retreat, whose central figure is a chaplain attached to an artillery unit in the Fifth Army during the momentous  German assault of March-April 1918. The novel graphically describes the efforts of the over-extended unit to hold their position as the Germans relentlessly advanced. But a detail […]

‘The Statue’ by Eden Philpotts and Arnold Bennett

The Statue (1908) by Eden Philpotts and Arnold Bennett links in a way to the ‘Future War’ fiction of the pre-1914 era, since the plot is overshadowed by the possibility of crisis and conflict between France and Germany. Both countries are vying to provide a huge loan to the Sultan of Morocco, with a rivalry […]

‘Dawn’: Edith Cavell and the censors

On Saturday, at the splendid Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, we had a rare chance to see the 1929 film Dawn, about Edith Cavell. It’s a remarkable film, and it was made more enjoyable by the four short talks that preceded it.

Billy Bunter versus the Suffragettes

This November I’ll be giving a talk on the wartime Magnet comics to the Being Young in World War One conference in Manchester. I’ll be arguing that the comics had a nuanced approach to the war, remaining firmly patriotic while suggesting that the demands of war should not make people forget the civilised decencies of […]

‘The Tribunal’

Councillor Hopwood (to a conscientious objector at Shaw Tribunal, asking for exemption): I think you are exploiting God to save your own skin. It is nothing but deliberate and rank blasphemy. A man who would not help to defend his country and womankind is a coward and a cad. You are nothing but a shivering […]

A. A. Milne’s ‘The Boy Comes Home’

There’s a silver lining Through the dark clouds shining, Turn the dark cloud inside out ‘Til the boys come home. Thanks to Simon Thomas for pointing me in the direction of A. A. Milne’s 1918 one-act play The Boy Comes Home (included in First Plays, online at Project Gutenberg). At the Victoria Palace in September, […]

We’ve paid for the War! (well, sort of)

The chancellor announced yesterday that, after a century, the Treasury is about to repay all the nation’s First World War debt. The outstanding £1.9 billion of debt from 3½% War Loan bonds will be repaid next year. George Osborne said:This is a moment for Britain to be proud of. We can, at last, pay off […]

Welsh newspapers

Here’s a very useful resource that I hadn’t come across before. It’s an archive of Welsh newspapers published between 1804 and 1919, which has recently been enlarged by the addition of 27 new publications. I’ve taken a look through some papers of the War years, to see indications of feelings of dissent. I put the […]

Henry Williamson, revisions and Hitler

Realising that the book I’m reading at the moment (Henry Williamson’s The Sun on the Sand, of 1945) re-hashed some of the material included in The Pathway of 1931, I decided to take another look at that book, of which my memory was rather vague. I was surprised by what I found. This time I […]

Allan M. Laing and Bertrand Russell

I’ve blogged before about Allan M. Laing, the author of Carols of a Convict who in the 1930s and 1940s would become the monarch of the New Statesman literary competitions. Cyril Pearce (author of the excellent Comrades in Conscience) has very kindly helped me by sharing the information about Laing in his database of conscientious […]