This is a slightly modified version of a post that I put up on a previous blog. I think it’s worth repeating. Some years before my father died a document circulated among some of his friends from the Second World War. It was a transcript of a radio programme from early 1943, a series of […]


(This post is based on a conversation I had recently on Facebook. To the other people who participated: thank you for the stimulation. If I’ve stolen any of your original thoughts, I apologise.) I hate all national anthems. I hate people feeling obliged to stand up for them and feeling superior to those who don’t. […]


Like many other Australians I have convict ancestors. As far as I remember this was never a secret in my family but in  society at large it was something to keep quiet about. When I was a kid  “official” opinion still held that the only real Australians were those who thought of themselves as transplanted […]

What I did with an Amazon voucher

Recently I was given an Amazon voucher. My Principal Advisor suggested that my thank-you email to the donor might be the basis of a short blog post, so here is a summary of the books I bought. The Third Reich: A New History    Michael Burleigh is one of my favourite contemporary historians. I’m looking forward […]


Nearly always, more means worse. Increasing the number of university students lessens the value of a degree; the more popular a film or book, the more likely it is to be rubbish;  the longer a memorandum,  the more confused its meaning; while an individual display of emotion may or may not be genuine, a display […]