New Zealand’s parliamentary protest and the lessons of 1848 Europe

The occupation of New Zealand’s Parliament grounds by a disparate group of protesters – ostensibly over the Covid mandates, but representing a multitude of causes and apparently without a single organiser – follows similar occupations in Canada and elsewhere. It’s a disturbing development. Protests usually focus on an issue. They are usually led and organised … More New Zealand’s parliamentary protest and the lessons of 1848 Europe

History is all about narratives – how to blue the abstract truth

There is an old adage that history is always written by the victors. In a sense it’s true. If you’ve just won, you’re going to want to portray your side as the legitimate party. That’s why Richard III got such a bad rap from the Tudors. But to me the universal point is that history … More History is all about narratives – how to blue the abstract truth

When the title doesn’t match the content – a cautionary writing tale

Over the years I’ve signed an awful lot of publishing contracts. And every one of them has had a clause which reads much the same way. The publisher has full control not just of the appearance of the book but also its title. It’s done for good reason. An author might well call their book … More When the title doesn’t match the content – a cautionary writing tale

Lest we forget: Gallipoli, the Western Front and war memory

To mark New Zealand’s memorial day this year I’m re-posting an except from one of my books, which I published a few years back. Enjoy. Today, 25 April, is New Zealand’s memorial day – Anzac Day. It’s the day when we remember all our war dead, more than half of whom died in just one … More Lest we forget: Gallipoli, the Western Front and war memory

Why I believe every conspiracy theory, including the ones that contradict each other

I’ve decided to call defeat over conspiracy theories. You can’t stop ‘em or change the minds of anybody who believes them. So I’ve decided to join them. From here on, I’m a believer in every conspiracy theory around, especially the ones that contradict each other. So yes, the moon landings were faked (six times), and … More Why I believe every conspiracy theory, including the ones that contradict each other

Kindness is not enough – an open letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Dear Jacinda, It’s nearly six months since your government came to power with the first clear majority any party has had since MMP began, on the public expectation that you would lead the country out of the neo-liberal framework that has driven so many social problems. Instead, all that’s happened is – nothing. And then, … More Kindness is not enough – an open letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand