Shaking Hands

14 06 2009

[You can listen to this podcast here, or can subscribe by searching ‘James Townsend’ on your iTunes Store.]

As the dust finally settles on tumultuous few weeks at Westminster, as the cameras are packed away on College Green, the blogosphere for once takes a moment for reflection, there can be very few people truly satisfied with the situation. The few that are satisfied, though, are indeed extremely lucky. Read the rest of this entry »


Carthago delenda est

7 06 2009

[You can listen to this radio letter here, or search ‘James Townsend’ on iTunes Store]

“Carthago delenda est”

That was the repeated cry of a fellow named Cato the Elder. He was a Roman, who lived in the Third Century BC. At that time, Rome found itself in a drawn-out and vicious conflict Read the rest of this entry »

Spotting Talent

31 05 2009

[You can listen subscribe to this podcast by searching ‘James Townsend’ in your iTunes Store]

Good morning,

As one eminent broadcaster has suggested, this week has dominated by parasites and plebiscites. He didn’t go on to suggest what particular news stories he was referring to, but I’m sure we all have a pretty good idea.

Last night I was pleased to be able to settle down in front the Britain’s Got Talent final, Read the rest of this entry »

David Davis – what politicians should be about

22 05 2009

I’ve just sat in on a talk by David Davis MP hosted by the University of York Conservative and Unionist Association. As with too many of these talks, there was no title for the talk/debate – just the name of the speaker. Still, I come out of the session with rather a lot of respect for Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

Revolting Rabbits

17 05 2009

[You can listen to this podcast here or subscribe by searching ‘James Townsend’ in iTunes Store.]

Alistair Cooke, the veteran broadcaster who died just a few years ago, had a wonderful and remarkable life. He was born in 1908 at Salford in Lancashire. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge and received a Commonwealth fund fellowship shortly after. This enabled him to study at Yale and Harvard universities in the United States – a country with which he very shortly fell in love. Read the rest of this entry »

MPs’ Expenses

10 05 2009

A rather weak radio letter this week I’m afraid – Alistair Cooke never had dissertation deadlines and finals revision to cope with!

Unfortunately all my guff about ecclesiastical footwear (which in retrospect seems an appalling idea) and my vow to avoid politics in the letters meant that there was no space for a word on MPs’ expenses, so…

I have for years tried to defend politics, our political sys Read the rest of this entry »

Being Human

19 04 2009

[You can listen to this episode here.]

From time to time we are all astonished by the capacity of humankind, seemingly ever-expanding to greater and greater extremes.

Behind all the cynicism and flippant accusations of steroids, who could fail to be impressed by Usain Bolt’s casual shredding of the World Sprint Record at the Beijing Olympics last year?

We salute the formidable achievements Read the rest of this entry »