Category Archives: general

Augustus is coming

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Listen to Boris talk about the Roman emperor Augustus
this Friday, 21st. May, on Radio 4 at 9.45 a.m.,
repeated at 7.45 p.m. and on Saturday at 12.30 a.m.

 

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Although Rome’s empire grew throughout the late republic — from the middle of the third century to the death of Julius Caesar in 44 b.c. — the first emperor, appointed by the Senate, was Augustus.

On Friday, 21st. May, Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor — in his interesting and entertaining series A History of the World in 100 Objects (B.B.C. Radio-4, 0945, 1945 and the following morning at 0030) — will introduce Augustus in the form of a larger-than-life bronze head with inlaid eyes of glass, calcite and metal rings, staring in to the distance.

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  Caesar Augustus

The head — originally part of a statue in Egypt, which Augustus had annexed following the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII — had been severed and taken home by an invading Kushite army from Meroë (in to-day’s Sudan), there to be buried beneath the threshold of a temple.  Any-one crossing the threshold would have deliberately trodden on the head of Augustus in the process, demonstrating contempt for him and the Roman Empire :  ironically the Kushites ensured the head’s survival in to our age.

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With contributions from Dr. Susan Walker, Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the Ashmolean, and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, Neil will tell how Augustus significantly enlarged the Empire, his image projecting everywhere the power of Rome.

Read more about Augustus at the B.B.C.’s History of the World site.

The wives of the emperors were no less colourful :  a recently published account of the life of Livia, third – and enduring – wife of Augustus, is reviewed in this week’s edition of The Spectator.

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Cameron is PM

Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron is the Prime Minister

 

Ministers announced here

First Cabinet appointments in the Cameron-Clegg Cabinet here 

See photos of Dave’s first days in Downing Street via flickr

Keep up to date with all the Cabinet and Ministerial appointments on the Number 10 website including the Cabinet appointments list

Boris Johnson is delighted at the news and felt that the public would:  “want to hear what these guys are going to do to sort out the country .. it’s a robust and interesting new specimen.”

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE

How should you vote? Vote Match is a very straightforward brief quiz in The Daily Telegraph and helps you decide who to vote by matching your views on the issues most important to you with each party’s policies.  Have a go and click here

You can also predict the result of the Election with a free £5 and win £10.  The Times are offering a free £5 bet with Betfair if you think you can pick a winner from the closest election in decades.  Place your bet by midnight on 5th May 2010 here

Look out for the following key seats on election night:

Orpington – Boris’s brother, Jo Johnson, is expecting the results at around 5.a.m.

Richmond Park – Zac  Goldsmith

Brighton Pavilion

Torbay

Romsey and Southampton North

Briston North West

Hastings and Rye

Feltham and Heston

Harrow West

Eltham

Waveney

Northampton North

Dudley North

North Warwickshire

Erewash

Lancaster and Fleetwood

Bolton North East

Wakefield

Tynemouth

The Budget Song 2010

To keep up with a small Dungeekin tradition here is a specially commissioned little Budget Song for you all.  Enjoy.

Ronan Keating ‘When you say nothing at all’

You can keep up with Dungeekin via his inimitable tweets @dungeekin

It’s amazing how you can still try to be smart,
Thanks to you our economy’s fallen apart,
This Budget Day you have done it again,
Talked a lot but you don’t say a thing,

Continue reading The Budget Song 2010

David Willetts MP responds to Boris and baby boomers

This is not an attack on the baby-boomer generation;  it is instead an appeal to the better nature of the boomers – an appeal to Edmund Burke’s understanding that a nation is “a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born”

One of the highlights of my political career was when Boris Johnson put me on his list of ideal dinner party companions (a great opportunity to meet Aristotle and Scarlett Johansson), so I recognise that behind his brilliantly effervescent articles there is often a deep wisdom too. I paid careful attention, therefore, when on Monday he challenged the argument in my new book, The Pinch. My book argues that the baby boomers have ended up doing very well for ourselves but that we are dumping too heavy a burden on the generations after us.

Boris is ideally positioned to make the case for the baby boomers, roughly those born between 1945 and 1965. Our baby boom had two peaks. The first came in 1947 – those were the teenagers who shrieked for the Beatles and promenaded up Carnaby Street in their bellbottoms. The second peak, when we had more than a million born in one year, came in 1964 – those are the boomers whose formative years were framed by punk rock and the poll tax protests. Somehow I do not quite see Boris participating in those social movements but demographically he is at their epicentre. He was born in summer 1964, the very quarter when we had more babies born than in any other three months in the past 60 years.

Boris celebrates the extraordinary technological advances of the baby boomers. I do not deny this achievement and indeed recognise in the book that human creativity and enterprise can continue to raise living standards. But that leaves open a host of questions. Take his example of perhaps the greatest single benefit of this advance: the improvement in life expectancy. That is marvellous. But it has very different effects on different generations because of, for example, contracts to pay people pensions after a fixed chronological age. It makes those promises far more valuable than expected for those people who already have them and makes employers very reluctant to be caught out making such promises again. I estimate therefore that over half the nation’s pensions wealth belongs to the baby boomers. They are doing much better than those generations coming before or after.

Continue reading David Willetts MP responds to Boris and baby boomers

Boris on Question Time

Watch Question Time this Thursday 4th March on BBC 1 at 10.35pm

Question Time, the BBC’s premier political debate programme comes from Canary Wharf this week.  David Dimbleby will be joined in London by Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams, broadcaster Carol Vorderman, the novelist Will Self and the Transport Secretary Lord Adonis.

Question Time will be available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.

It will also be repeated on BBC Parliament on Sunday evening at 6pm.

The Prime Minister’s Behaviour

With apologies to Tennessee Ernie Ford, let’s have another little song thanks to Dungeekin

New Labour’s legacy is money and blood,
Under them this country has been dragged through the mud,
The damage began with Grinning Tone,
Now the PM’s weak and it’s all gone wrong,

Continue reading The Prime Minister’s Behaviour

Gordon Brown and Alternative Voting

Downing Street has admitted “time is tight” to get laws for a referendum on scrapping Britain’s first past the post voting system through Parliament.  Gordon Brown wants to replace it with “alternative vote,” where candidates are ranked in order of preference.  The Prime Minister says this is a better way of choosing MPs but the Conservatives say the existing method is fair and “keeps extremists out”. 

To continue Boris’s theme of voting methods here is a latest offering from Dungeekin who thinks we should have a little song in honour of the debate:

  Continue reading Gordon Brown and Alternative Voting

Billy Bragg to withhold taxes in bank bonus row

Singer-songwriter and political activist says he is ‘no longer prepared to fund the excessive bonuses of RBS investment bankers’.  Read the story here.

Boris quote on the tax on bank bonuses:  “The Government is doing nothing more than fast-tracking the departure of this talent pool out of Britain”.

Here, with a satirical twist, is Dungeekin with his take on the situation – check him out @dungeekin

Continue reading Billy Bragg to withhold taxes in bank bonus row