Monthly Archives: February 2016

Tragedy or farce

To paraphrase Marx: ‘History repeats itself: first as Hitler, then as Trump’ (Eighteenth Brumaire). There’s no doubting that the circumstances behind the rise of ‘the Donald’ and of certain European right-wing mavericks today do bear an uncanny   resemblance to those of … Continue reading

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First past the post

Our voting system in Britain is a clear disgrace, and will be even more so when the Conservatives have finished – as they have started – gerrymandering it to their advantage even more: boundary changes, ‘reform’ of TU funding, and … Continue reading

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1956

I’ve just reviewed two books about the year 1956 for the LRB. I hope they publish it (they don’t always); if not I’ll put it up here. The 1950s have a bad reputation in historical retrospect, as a time of … Continue reading

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Cameron’s mom

David Cameron’s mother has come out as a champion of the junior doctors in their quarrel with the government. At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Cameron was twitted about this. (Not by Corbyn. He refuses to get ‘personal’.) His reply: ‘Ask … Continue reading

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Europhobia

I can no longer remember how I voted in the 1975 Common Market referendum. I do however recall one of my feelings at the time, which was  of irritation at those ‘pro-Europeans’ who presented opposition to British membership as necessarily … Continue reading

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BTL

I listen to the radio all night. (I can’t be left alone in the dark  with my own thoughts.) I did the same when I lived in the USA. The fare there was usually crazier than on Radio 4 and … Continue reading

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Cameron and Europe

It’s pretty obvious what’s going to come out of the negotiations Cameron is pursuing with our European partners just now (Friday afternoon), in the next few hours or days. Much of it is pure theatre. The negotiations are drawn out … Continue reading

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Heroic failure

My latest Guardian review. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/19/heroic-failure-and-the-british-by-stephanie-barczewski-review

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Beggars

The numbers of beggars – usually Roma – in the Stockholm streets don’t seem to have diminished since Kajsa and I wrote our LRB Blog piece about them exactly a year ago: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2015/02/11/bernard-porter/on-stockholms-streets/. These are – I think – quite … Continue reading

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European swings and roundabouts

What gets me about David Cameron’s current ‘renegotiation’ of Britain’s relationship with the rest of the EU is how mean-spirited it is. All his focus – at least, as highlighted in the press – is on social welfare payments to … Continue reading

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