First published in The Times, Tuesday February 19 2019
Tom Johnston is not exactly a household name — maybe not even in the households of aficionados of Scottish politics. A minister in Ramsay MacDonald’s coalition government of 1929-1935, and initially associated with the radical left-wing of the Labour Party, Johnston would go on to serve as secretary of state for Scotland in Winston Churchill’s wartime cabinet.
First published in The Times, Tuesday November 1 2016
You can almost pinpoint a person’s age by which screen version of the Para Handy tales they most fondly recall. The wily captain of the Vital Spark, the Clyde puffer immortalised in Neil Munro’s short stories, has been portrayed on television no less than three times since the 1950s. The most recent adaptation, which starred Gregor Fisher and Rikki Fulton, aired in the mid-Nineties, so we are probably due another remake.
To say that Roger Casement was a complex and paradoxical figure is something of an understatement. A Protestant, born to an Anglo-Irish family, he worked as a diplomat for the British government, receiving a knighthood. Yet he is remembered today as the revolutionary Irish nationalist who attempted to enlist German military aid for the 1916 Easter Uprising.