• Dress Down Bank Holiday

    Friendships across the political divide

    This passage comes from Angela Thirkell’s Peace Breaks Out (1946), the 15th or so of her unabashedly snobbish (but addictive) series of novels set in the same imaginary English county as Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire Chronicles.  It reminded me of the recent furore over Laura Pidcock’s assertion that she could never be matey with political opponents.  Joseph Harker’s response annoyed many – while Jess Phillips is more relaxed about the issue. What are Harry’s Place readers’ experiences of cross-party friendships? Returning briefly to Thirkell – it’s striking that, although she is a decidedly conservative writer, even in her earlier 1930s novels fascism is always viewed with hostility whereas Communism is indulged as…

  • Dress Down Bank Holiday

    Welcoming our new overlords: your predictions

    In response to a request for a Dress Down post on this topic – I invite readers to make predictions about the composition of the future leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition’s shadow cabinet.  I also invite speculations about the content of Prime Minister Corbyn’s first Queen’s Speech. Of course there has already been much coverage of who might be invited (that promise to bring back shadow cabinet elections seems to have been ditched) to serve under Corbyn.  As more than one commenter has pointed out, it’s difficult to be sure which suggestions are serious, which intended as a joke.  John McDonnell, widely tipped for a senior role, has…