emmeline pankhurst

PERHAPS the greatest dissenter in the history of womankind, Emmeline Pankhurst stands head and shoulders above many political and social figures, whatever their gender. Emmeline was born to an upper-middle-class Manchester family in 1858 and married a politically inclined radical, Richard Pankhurst.  The great industrial city in the north west of England is arguably the … Continue reading emmeline pankhurst

st mary’s church and the putney debates

In the salubrious surroundings of south-west London near the banks of the river Thames stands St Mary’s Church, Putney. Near enough halfway between the ancient settlement of Runnymede, Berkshire, and Westminster, Putney sits at the centre of the history of democracy, civil rights, and the rule of law. In 1647 at the end of the … Continue reading st mary’s church and the putney debates

for wilkes and liberty

John Wilkes (1725-97) is the best known of Britain’s 18th century radical dissenters.  Of all of modern Britain’s dissenters, John Wilkes is perhaps the most mischievous. Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats cited him as one of his greatest influences. Yet many today – including activists – haven’t heard of him. Born in … Continue reading for wilkes and liberty

putney debates 2017

Saturday 28th October 2017 The Putney Debates 2017 Democracy, Dissent, and Debate in the Armed Forces This October VFP UK will be hosting the first of a series of debates on the concept of democracy, debate and dissent in the Armed Forces and the impact on our society and history.  This is a free to … Continue reading putney debates 2017

st marys church, putney in​ 1647

The painting is of how St Marys Church looked in 1647, the year of the Putney Debates. Over 380 years ago at the end of the first civil war ordinary serving soldiers, former soldiers, and groups representing the mass of people came to debate their future.  Oliver Cromwell chaired these series of Putney Debates at … Continue reading st marys church, putney in​ 1647

‘…flawed intelligence and assessment …’

When John Chilcot said ‘…flawed intelligence and assessment…’ at the unveiling of the long overdue Iraq Inquiry report I was immediately reminded about a discussion I had with a senior military officer in 2000.  Working in an intelligence team as a desk head, a senior officer said to me ‘I have a theory – find … Continue reading ‘…flawed intelligence and assessment …’

thomas paine

Pamphleteer, dissenter of authority, revolutionary, republican, founding father of the USA and facilitator of the French revolution. The image is of the obelisk erected in 1991 to mark the 200th anniversary of where Thomas Paine wrote 'The Rights of Man' in Angel Square, Islington, in 1791.   Thomas Paine, born in Norfollk, England in 1737 is one … Continue reading thomas paine