Tom Shakespeare

Parliamentary roadshow

When the Houses of Parliament burned down in October 1834, crowds of ordinary Londoners on Westminster Bridge cheered to see the destruction.  Today too, politicians are held in general disrepute.   In one survey, half of respondents thought that politicians are in politics only for what they can get out of it.  Since the Parliamentary expenses… Read More from Parliamentary roadshow

Bring back the Heptarchy!

More than thirty years ago, I began a degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge University.   Us ASNaCs, as we were known, were a happy band, who understood that Vikings had no horns on their helmets, who yearned to yomp across Iceland, and who venerated Bede above all other saints.   In more recent times,… Read More from Bring back the Heptarchy!

Trial by Select Committee?

The recent exposė of senior backbenchers selling themselves as lobbyists is only the latest of a series of scandals that have brought Parliament into disrepute.   Back in the 1990s, there was ‘cash for questions’. In 2009, widespread abuse of the expenses system was revealed by the Daily Telegraph, leading to four Parliamentarians being jailed and… Read More from Trial by Select Committee?


When I was a schoolboy, I memorized the Gettysburg Address for a declamations competition.   Thirty years later, I have forgotten most of it, except for Abraham Lincoln’s memorable phrase, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish… Read More from Peerless

Sing a new song

After the terrible events in Paris of 13 November 2015, we heard a lot of the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, including the moment when the members of the French National Assembly spontaneously burst into song, and even at the England-France football match at Wembley a few days later. It was all very stirring, not… Read More from Sing a new song