Pension Reform & Strikes

I was recently across in Paris to visit the Archives Nationales. They were closed on one of the days because of the widespread strikes organised in protest against planned pension reforms. While the archive was closed, I popped into the studio at France24 to talk about the pesnion reforms more broadly: On my way back from the studio, I stopped by the Place de l’Opéra … Continue reading Pension Reform & Strikes

F24 Debate: Pension Reform Plan

I appeared on the France24 show ‘The Debate’ to discuss the planned introduction of pension reforms in France. The clip is available below, outlining the different approaches to passing the bill, its historical precedents, and the likely public and syndical reactions to the plans. From the channel’s description: “French pension reform plan: Macron between a rock and a hard place? • FRANCE 24 English The … Continue reading F24 Debate: Pension Reform Plan

Perspective: French Presidential Election 2022 on France24

I’ve been doing a regular slot for France24 in their flagship ‘Perspectives’ slot, looking at the latest in the 2022 French Presidential election as it develops. It’s been a helpful way to gather thoughts, track the progress of the campaign and to contribute in some small way to wider discussions about the political choices on offer. On 7th March, I spoke in a segment they … Continue reading Perspective: French Presidential Election 2022 on France24

Sovereign fairy tales: the President’s new clothes?

On the 12th February, two boys Augustin and Anatole had a sign confiscated on the way into the France vs Ireland Six Nations rugby match. Their father, a journalist, took to Twitter to express his disbelief, before the French Rugby Federation came good, reassuring them that the team’s captain had received the message of support. This was not a political message, they confirmed, and Antoine … Continue reading Sovereign fairy tales: the President’s new clothes?

Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

In March 1942, the trade-unionist Christian Pineau secretly flew to London from Nazi Occupied France, seeking to connect his resistance network with the broader efforts of the Free French based in London. Upon arriving, he was granted an audience with General Charles De Gaulle, and they dined at the Connaught hotel in Mayfair. There he discovered the difference between the internal resistance being carried out … Continue reading Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

“Citizen of nowhere”: Revolution and reaction revived

“Citizen of nowhere”: there’s a poetic ring to it, I suppose, though its inference is dark. As Peter Catterall points out, Theresa May was probably seeking to echo George Canning, that staunch Anti-Jacobin and self-appointed defender of England’s constitution. In his sneering stab at ‘The New Morality’, Canning lampoons the imagined proponent of French Revolutionary values as: “A steady Patriot of the World alone, The … Continue reading “Citizen of nowhere”: Revolution and reaction revived

Strength to Remain

Let’s not retreat into the nostalgic past, nor forfeit our influence. Let’s not surrender to fear & doubt. Let’s strive to remain together. Big organisations are messy by nature. The BBC has been described as more a warring federation than an organisation, bound by little but a collective commitment to its mission and its values; the NHS seems a vast, sprawling enterprise sometimes united only … Continue reading Strength to Remain

Life Cycles: The Ephemera of Research

Parking tickets, library cards, recipes, notes, and adverts; I love second-hand books and the stuff that you can find tucked inside them. These little things seem to make the everyday nature of their reading resonate, reminding me of the material history of the book alongside the wider history that I’m researching. Coming across someone else’s expired parking tickets (or their idle doodling) calls to mind … Continue reading Life Cycles: The Ephemera of Research

Guarding the Limits: Voices & Memory in an Age of Narrative

Historians aren’t meant to see the future, though sometimes it feels like we’re expected to. We all know the adage that it’s meant to repeat itself, and know also that it doesn’t. Sometimes, however, the present can seem out of kilter with the past, or even over-whelmed by it. Debates about memory seem to confirm that the growing importance of ‘Identity Politics’ (which as a … Continue reading Guarding the Limits: Voices & Memory in an Age of Narrative