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Showing posts from December, 2009

Bill Brand – the screenplays.

This latest volume in the Trevor Griffiths series contains all eleven episodes of the celebrated 1976 Thames TV series Bill Brand, which was the fictional account of a young left-wing Labour MP entering Parliament for the first time and attempting to influence the policies of his largely right-wing Labour government.

The series was conceived on election night in 1974, written and produced over the following two years and transmitted in 1976. This was a time of great political and industrial unrest in Britain; it produced the first minority government (under Harold Wilson) since 1931, and Bill Brand was watched with extreme interest by both the political classes and the wider population. At times it seemed almost uncannily prophetic; and many of the issues it dealt with remain of great contemporary relevance.

The series starred Jack Shepherd as Bill Brand, Arthur Lowe as the Prime Minister, Alan Badel, Peter Howell, Lynne Farleigh, Cherie Lunghi and many other distinguished actors.

Bill B…

The Elephant at the Iraq Inquiry

On 23 July 2002, the Prime Minister called a high-level meeting about Iraq. It took place in Downing Street. The minute taker noted that his record was "extremely sensitive". It does indeed contain confidential information about preparations for war on Iraq. Blair's comments are recorded, as are those of the Chief of Defence Staff, Sir Michael Boyce, among others. On 4 December 2009, Boyce appeared before the Iraq Inquiry, and was rather candid about the frustrations of trying to prepare a major military campaign without being able to tell his head of logistics. (Defence Secretary Hoon had told him not to.) Boyce was not asked about his precise comments about military options and critical requirements for the US (basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus), as recorded in the memo of the meeting of 23 July '02. Next week, John Scarlett appears before the Inquiry. He had opened the discussion in Downing Street with an account of intelligence and the latest Joint Intelligence C…