Pisspoor Parliaments

Tomorrow, we in the UK will vote in a new parliament, taking part in a process that in England dates back – in one form or another – seven and a half centuries. Sometimes, this has gone well. Sometimes we’ve even produced parliaments full of fantastic MPs that are dedicated, honourable, and not Nigel Farage….

History, Democracy, and the Vote

I’ve recently been pioneering a new sport, it’s called ‘Middle Class Chicken’. Here’s how it works. Next time you are in a normal, middle-class social scenario – a dinner party, perhaps, or hanging out at the elderflower pressé stall at your local farmers’ market – you simply wait for the subject to flow naturally onto…

Debating Magna Carta

Here in England we are in the midst of a political row about Magna Carta. Yes, that’s right. As the world crumbles, we are debating the finer points of thirteenth century constitutional law. You would have thought we had better things to argue about. Iraq is falling apart, Vladimir Putin is strutting around Eastern Europe…

Names of Shame. The Six Rulers with History’s Worst Epithets

Everyone loves a good epithet. Charles the ‘Great’, Sven ‘Forkbeard’, Eric the, er, ‘Memorable’. But namecalling, it turns out, is really not cool and can be very mean. So spare a thought for these six men: the Johnny-two-straps of History’s great playground. — James the Shit (King of England, Ireland and Scotland, 1685-88). Poor James…