The end of civility?

I’m going to say something about fascism, by way of definition, and then something more interesting (I hope) about the place we find ourselves in. The left tends to use the term fascist as an all-purpose insult, and that’s understandable given the history of the 20th century. Its vagueness is also understandable because fascism is... Continue Reading →

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Crisis what crisis?

We are in the throes of a major crisis of political legitimacy. It’s been sparked by the Brexit vote, though its roots go much further back. The only hope of a good outcome is if we face that crisis for what it is (and right now, our politicians seem to have their heads elsewhere). The... Continue Reading →

Corbyn’s failure

I'm going to stick my neck out here and I'm very sorry to say this, but Jeremy Corbyn has lost my support. He did so with this statement responding to the vote of no confidence from MPs in his leadership. “Labour has the responsibility to give a lead where the Government will not. We need... Continue Reading →

Unsound bites

The launch marketing of The American foundered on a clash between two cinematic cultures, which is ironic given the subject of the film. The abuse of marketing in US and UK politics threatens social and cultural integrity itself. When Anton Corbijn’s The American was released it was sold as an action vehicle for George Clooney,... Continue Reading →

Dinosaurs and dimwits

In last Sunday’s Observer David Mitchell lambasted the looming referendum on EU membership as a failure of political leadership. He says (more or less) that issues like this are not a matter of personal preference, but demand technical knowledge and expertise. If we’re honest, while everyone might have an opinion, it’s not just a matter of... Continue Reading →

Loose ends and the hope of things to come

Stories may be lifelike, but not like life. After all they require a selectiveness about what to tell and what to withhold. That decision is fundamental to narrative success. When you’re writing a piece of fiction, or for that matter a poem, the notion of form is metaphorical. You can choose to work within a... Continue Reading →

Saying sorry

Politicians and celebrities have developed a very special mode of apology. Routinely they say “I’m sorry for any offence I might have caused”. This is pretty offensive in itself. It shifts the burden of regret from whatever was said or done to the reactions of the offended, and of course apologies are always easy when... Continue Reading →

Age cannot wither us

A mosquito or something like it took me for a free lunch on Saturday night, leaving three lumps on the right side of my face. I might feel disfigured, but I suspect like most people, much as though I’d like to think I had such beauty to be marred, the reality is a little less... Continue Reading →

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