THE story behind why one of Bradford's most famous former citizens was quietly removed from making wartime broadcasts to the nation on BBC radio makes fascinating reading. But it is hardly surprising that the underlying message espoused by J B Priestley did not find favour with the reactionary political establishment of the day.

Anyone familiar with the great writer's more famous works such as 'An Inspector Calls' or 'The Good Companions' will recognise his desire for social justice and hope for common progress to a fairer society. Like any great artist, Priestley successfully articulated the emotional undercurrent of the time. The vast majority of people in Britain in the Second World War were determined to emerge from the struggle to a better life than the betrayal they faced after the Great War.

Of course the political dinosaurs of the day failed to grasp this fact until they were thrown out of office in 1945 in a landslide vote that showed what the people really wanted. To the cigar smokers and gin drinkers in their club armchairs, Priestley's broadcasts must have sounded like subversive polemic, posing as much threat to the existing order which they were desperate to preserve as the Germans did.

Priestley's wartime broadcasts provide a fascinating historical resource, articulating in plain and simple language with penetrating observations, the mood of a nation at odds, idealistically, with its leaders yet in practice united in a common determination to defeat the Nazis and wrestle something good from the horror of the time.

Listening to the archived programmes today it is amusing to imagine the rotund Colonel Blimps choking on their Havanas and bursting blood vessels at the thought of a northern upstart on the BBC, of all places, promoting sacrilegious ideas like creating a more equal society. Ilkley resident Mr Hawkes deserves an enthusiastic audience for his forthcoming lecture about his step father's relationship with Auntie.