Siddy Shivdasani's blog

Forgotten: ‘Diego’ the left-winger

By Siddy Shivdasani

On July 7, 1647, a Neapolitan fisherman’s son led a revolt in his city against oppressive taxes imposed on its traders by the Spanish rulers.

Former career criminal Tommaso Aniello came to be known as “Masaniello”, Italian for “agitator” or “revolutionary”, depending on your politics. A fruit market protest turned into a full-scale riot and the police were overwhelmed by a mob of nearly a thousand rebels, mainly street urchins.

Is Britain set for Eighties-style class war?

By Siddy Shivdasani

“Events, dear boy, events.”

That was what Tory Prime Minister (1957–1963) Harold Macmillan said to a journalist who asked what is most likely to blow governments off course.

If current incumbent Boris Johnson is the history buff he claims to be, he should have taken heed, although he’d probably expected being PM would be a jolly jape he could show off about to his ruling class old Etonian mates.

Life inside the belly of the Murdoch beast

By Siddy Shivdasani

There’s a lot I can’t say.

But I think Rupert Murdoch once complained about my (check) shirt.

I don’t know exactly how it came to be that I ended up in 1999 as a sub-editor at the spiritual heart of his empire: the now defunct News of the World.

I came directly from being the editor of Eastern Eye, which was then a British-Asian red-top in many ways modelled on The Sun, though not the politics or with the tits.

‘Why I left the Labour Party’

By Siddy Shivdasani

I have voted Labour my entire adult life and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.

But despite describing my mixed race self as “politically black”, I only joined the party for the first time in 2017.

Rewind to March 1990, aged 17, I was working as a projectionist at The Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, when a demo against Thatcher’s loathed “poll tax” drew a crowd of thousands across the road, outside Lambeth Town Hall.

When do you tell your kids about racism?

By Siddy Shivdasani

I was always going to have a mixed race child because I am mixed race.

My daughter is nearly nine years old and I’d always thought shielding my child from the concept of racism should be for as long as possible. But I’m starting to question that.

I have a complicated relationship with my racial make-up because, although I’m half Indian and half English, most think I look white.

Nitty gritty reality of mental illness stigma

By Siddy Shivdasani

Mental illness stigma is being discussed more and more and I was trying to work out exactly how it manifests itself in my life as someone who has been sectioned three times.

We rarely hear about it from the sufferer’s point of view. Many seem to think bipolar disorder 1 is something to forget about when I’m not incarcerated. Like I’m just making it up.

Being mixed race ain’t all bad

By Siddy Shivdasani

Being a half Indian, half white journalist, it’s getting easier to be depressed about the latest rise of fascism globally.

But I had a thought to myself while sitting by the pool playing a board game with my Indo-German cousin, her two kids and her white boyfriend at the most exclusive club in Mumbai, if not India: I am lucky to be mixed race.

Having pre-existing mental illness during pandemic

By Siddy Shivdasani

I’ve heard a lot about how the pandemic — particularly lockdown — has impacted on the public’s mental health but I haven’t heard much about those with pre-existing mental illnesses. Maybe I haven’t consumed enough news. 

I suffer from bipolar disorder 1 and have been sectioned three times, twice in 2008 and once in 2009. But even though I have a severe condition, I haven’t been contacted once by anyone in the NHS about how I’m doing during the pandemic. 

The worst thing is I’ve never expected that call.