Stories from 2015:

Thieves stole everything I had – except the human connections

Published December 2015.

Published by thespinoff.co.nz
December 14 2015
There was one single day in March which pulled together the big theme of my whole year.
I was in South Africa, researching the story of a man who had become the leader of a wildcat strike at a platinum mine near Johannesburg and who, for his efforts, had been shot dead [...]

Stephen Harper – the very model of a modern politician (and rogue)

Published November 2015.

Published by The Guardian
October 15 2015
Additional research by Mali Ilse Paquin
An unkind cartoon this summer showed the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, kneeling before the statue of another politician, asking “What now, O Great One?” That in itself would not be unkind. The problem is that the statue is clearly labelled as that of Richard [...]

One little river – one big story of flood, drought and pollution

Published October 2015.

Published in edited form by The Guardian
October 8 2015
This begins with a man in the street. I often used to notice him, because he looked so out of place. In amongst the townies with their anoraks and sensible shoes, he was blatantly a country man in weather-beaten tweeds and clumpy boots. More than that, he [...]

The Man in the Green Blanket – a story about South Africa today

Published May 2015.

Published by The Guardian
May 19 2015
On August 16 2012, South African police opened fire on a large crowd of men who had walked out on strike from a platinum mine at Marikana, about 80 miles north of Johannesburg. They shot down 112 of them, killing 34.
In any country, this would have been a traumatic moment. [...]

How Vietnam beat the US – and then lost out to capitalism

Published April 2015.

Published by The Guardian
April 22 2015
Additional research by Calvin Godfrey.
Early one morning in February 1968, when the fighting in central Vietnam had reached levels of insanity, a group of South Korean soldiers swept into a village called Ha My, a straggled-out collection of bamboo huts and paddy fields about an hour outside the city [...]

Politicians who challenge Murdoch have nothing to lose but their fear

Published April 2015.

Published by The Guardian
April 6 2015
Five years ago, as he prepared to fight the general election of May 2010, the then prime minister Gordon Brown instructed officials to write him a particularly risky speech. It attacked the press. More than that, it attacked Rupert and James Murdoch by name, defending the BBC against their constant [...]

Chains that bind the ‘free’ press

Published January 2015.

Published by New Internationalist magazine
January 1 2015
The British press was born free but it is everywhere in chains.
Some of those chains are financial. As the Internet takes away our readers and advertisers, news organisations struggle to find the money to pay for basic news gathering and even more so for long, complicated investigations. Instead, they [...]

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