The Nolan Principles of public life. Are we seeing them in action in these difficult times?

I was listening to ‘Thought for the Day’ this morning and the Reverend who presented it brought up this model and asked whether this could be applied to politicians in modern day life.

Three obvious candidates sprung to mind for evaluation.  Theresa May, Donald Trump and, today at least, The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.

Let’s have a look shall we?


I am not particularly qualified to comment on Jacinda Ardern and her day to day political performance,  but I can comment on the news conference she convened to apologise unconditionally to the parents of graduate and backpacker Grace Millane with such emotion that she immediately crossed off leadership, honesty, selflessness, integrity, openness and accountability in one fell swoop.  I hope she is always like this because, today at least, she was a great ambassador for her country.

In case you haven’t seen it…

Now let’s apply these to Trump and May.

Trump first:

Accountability         Well, I think we will have to wait for his impeachment trial to assess.

Selflessness              The man is a criminal.  Crime is fundamentally selflish.  Not selfless.

Integrity                    The man is a criminal.

Objectivity                He fires nearly all of his advisors – if they disagree with him. So, no.

Leadership                He thinks he is a leader.  We all know he is a fool.  So, no.

Honesty                      The man is a criminal.

Openness                   Well, he passes on one of seven.  If Twitter counts.

Now May:

Accountability        Largely, so I’d say.  She is democratic.

Selflessness             I think yes, for sure.  On personal level look what she is going through.

Integrity                  I don’t think you can question that.

Objectivity              I’m afraid not.  She is too blinkered.  She is not a good listener.

Leadership              You can argue this both ways but I find her too intractable.  It’s a no.

Honesty                   Borderline.  (largely so) but she was forced to publish the Brexit legals.

Openness                Again borderline, for me.

Much more tolerable than Trump, for sure but she only clearly passes on 3/7 and borderline on another 3.


The 2018 best of my year playlist.

I know you have been waiting with baited breath for this.


This is the soundtrack of 2018.  Well, my 2018.

Screenshot 2018-12-08 at 13.23.47.png

My album of the year was Jon Hopkins Singularity.

and my gift of the year (at Primaverasound) was Jon Hopkins.  I will never forget being on the rail, stone cold sober going fucking apeshit at him.

A very close second, also on the rail a PV was IDLES.

What a musical machine IDLES is.

They feature of course.

Anyway, enjoy and tell me what you think is amazing/sucks.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by The Coen Brothers: Movie review.


Zoe Kazan as Anna Longabaugh in the best segment of a mixed bag of short wild west films.

Portmanteau (anthology) movies are hard to pull off effectively.  My favourites would be Amores Perros, Inaritu’s incredible debut that uses three dog stories to loosely draw together his take on the fragility of love, and The Argentinian classic, Wild Stories, written and directed by Damián Szifron, united by a common them of violence and vengeance.

Other directors who have tackled the ‘genre’ effectively are Hitchcock and the celebrated triumvirate of Coppola, Scorsese and Allen for New York Stories.  It’s most widely used as a structure in horror.

Here, The Coen Brothers continue, for me, their hit and miss career with a near miss, but a miss nonetheless.

It’s a six story Western. Part spoof, part serious drama.  But the mix of genres they employ means that the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  Some of the stories reach  a conclusion when the stories are barely developed, others could last longer to make them more engaging,

By far the highlights are the opening Buster Scruggs spoof which is laugh out loud hilarious and the endearing “The Gal Who Got Rattled” featuring a stand out performance from Zoe Kazan, ably supported by her love interest Bill Heck (playing Billy Knapp) and old timer Grainger Hines as Mr Arthur.

Tom Waits puts in a good turn as a prospector in All Gold Canyon.  But the story is daft.

The sixth and last, featuring Brendan Gleeson, is just not very good at all.

I’m not sure what’s to blame here.  Are the Coens just such royalty that they can’t be challenged?  Certainly a number of their films are just not very good at all but Fargo and No Country For Old Men are absolute classics.

I also felt the colourisation was overused and again variably effective.  At its best it created a richness and depth that was highly appealing.  At its worst (in the sixth segment) it just made everything murky.

I have higher expectations of Netflix’s other big bet, Roma, That screens from 15 December.  For now you’ll have to be content with this curate’s egg.