Out of the Race: Politics, Fear and Failure

As a couple more Labour leadership contenders drop off the greasy pole, Terry Stiastny, author of political thriller Acts of Omission, disinters a blisteringly cynical fictional account of the political life, and wonders why they bother in the first place. It was so comfortable to be out of the race. Then again, he ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – A History of Failure

‘I hate Cleopatra!’ says the precocious student and mathematical genius Thomasina Coverly in the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. She goes on to explain: The Egyptian noodle made carnal embrace with the enemy who burned the great library of Alexandria without so much as a fine for all that is overdue. Oh, ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – H. G. Wells’ spare bedroom

‘Tell me a story from your head instead’, commanded C, apparently bored by the mild misadventures of Paddington. A great weariness came upon me. ‘What about?’ I said, closing the book. ‘About… Mr Chocolate Cake,’ she said at random. ‘And a Princess.' ‘Oh for goodness sake’, I said, and proceeded to tell the most ... Read More...

Campaignballs! The Top 7 Pieces of Twaddle you’ll hear between now and the General Election

Virtually everything you will hear in the forthcoming General Election campaign from all Parties will be frothy twaddle, bearing no relation to facts and designed merely to appeal to tribal prejudices. Here are some of the most frequently-recurring pieces of tripe and the truths behind them...   1) Conservativeballs: Osborne’s ‘austerity’ has meant ... Read More...

Guns Before Butter

Guns or butter? Butter or guns? It really is as simple as that. Which would you choose?... I have been watching, with something akin to hysterical overexcitement, reruns of the long-running television game show Guns Before Butter. It really is the most fantastic example of Bismarckian light entertainment ever devised. As ... Read More...

Noseybonk: Guido at The Political Book Awards

  We were delighted that our friend Terry Stiastny triumphed at the Paddy Power Political Book Awards last night, beating Andrew Marr, James Naughtie and others in the Fiction category for her fine novel Acts of Omission. The Dabblers went along to the swanky reception party, which was attended by every political journalist and Parliamentary grandee you ... Read More...

Christmas in the Left-wing Style

Frank Key recalls a cosy memory of a 1980s Christmas on the political hard Left... 1983 was, for me, a memorable year for Christmas crackers. I was young, newly-married, and an earnest and idealistic leftie. Being the armchair revolutionary type, I had not actually joined any of the various socialist or ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – The Folly of Youth

Whenever the younger generations become resentful of our elders, with their lavish pensions, big houses and long, expensive retirements, and wonder what is the point of the blasted old codgers, we should take a look at this graphic and apologise for our ingratitude: 71% of 16-17 year olds voted in favour ... Read More...