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Trains and Buttered Toast. John Betjeman. Your review has been submitted successfully. Not registered? Forgotten password Please enter your email address below and we'll send you a link to reset your password. Mr Johns's thesis is that Smedley's commercial failure was in fact a heroic moral success. The BBC's monopoly was broken. Legitimate commercial competitors were set up. All were forced at last to take the listeners' views seriously. Hayek's views became more respectable, informing the liberalising, privatising governments of Margaret Thatcher.

Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age

It is here that the book begins to overreach itself. The influence of Smedley and his peers on the liberalisation of British media is plain. Even the comparison between the cheerfully practical pirates and the creative chaos unleashed by the spread of the internet holds water. But Smedley and his compatriots were riding a wave of social change as much as they were creating one, and their experiment lasted only a few years. Best to ignore the claim and simply enjoy a well-written tale about those buccaneers of the high C's.

Mr Smedley was never charged with murder, and a jury acquitted him of manslaughter and awarded him costs. We would like to apologise, in particular to Mr Smedley's family, for our mistake. Join them.

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Adrian Johns

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