OTHER RECENT POSTS

Double Disillusion

Double Disillusion

First there was Trump, then there was Brexit, then there was the Australian Senate. Not all developments of equal moment, though underlying each of them, we are invited to believe, is a common foundation: disenchantment with the political class. Lashed by the winds of globalisation and regarding our dwindling pay packets with alarm, we are turning our backs on the […]

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Cholera vs. Plague: The Lesser Evil Calculus

Cholera vs. Plague: The Lesser Evil Calculus

When Lionel Jospin, the Socialist Party candidate for the 2002 French Presidential election, unexpectedly finished in third place in the initial round of voting – behind the Gaullist conservative Jacques Chirac (first) and the far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen (second) – progressive and leftwing voters in France were presented with a stark choice: should they support Chirac in the run-off […]

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Why Jeremy Corbyn Matters

Why Jeremy Corbyn Matters

“The King is dead! Long live the King!” Thus did the English aristocracy mark the death of a monarch, with words that at once acknowledge change and insist on continuity – on the idea that divinely sanctioned kingship not only survives the King’s demise but also alights immediately on the next in line, on the dead monarch’s heir. It would […]

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Blessed are the moderate: how not to talk about religious violence

Blessed are the moderate: how not to talk about religious violence

BEARDED MAN: Could you be quiet, please? What was that? WISEGUY: I don’t know; I was too busy talking to Big-nose. SPECTATOR: I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers”. BEARDED MAN’S WIFE: What’s so special about the cheesemakers? BEARDED MAN: Well obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.                                                 –– […]

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A review of Meanjin (Vol 75, No 2)

A review of Meanjin (Vol 75, No 2)

The new issue of Meanjin arrives under a winter cloud. In a ‘note on funding’ placed next to his editorial, Jonathan Green announces that from 2017 the magazine will no longer receive financial support from the Australia Council, its application for four years of funding having been rejected in the last round of allocation decisions. Green expresses a hope that […]

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Future Perfect: Beyond the Delusional Present

Future Perfect: Beyond the Delusional Present

This essay was first published in Griffith Review: Imagining the Future. You can purchase a copy here. In ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’ (1891), Oscar Wilde wrote that ‘A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.’ Certainly it […]

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The Mourning After: A British expat’s post-Brexit blues

The Mourning After: A British expat’s post-Brexit blues

Everyone deserves their ‘I told you so’ moment, and I don’t intend to deny myself mine. Back in the early 1990s, with the UK’s European future a matter of often angry debate both between and within political traditions, I argued against further integration on the basis that it was undemocratic and, in the long run, unworkable. The great majority of […]

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L’Affaire McGuire: Eddie is a dinosaur, not a monster. There’s a difference.

L’Affaire McGuire: Eddie is a dinosaur, not a monster. There’s a difference.

Just when you thought it might finally be over – the demented accusations, the non-apology apologies, the corporate lemon-sucking/opportunistic advertising – two very different interventions served (briefly) to resuscitate the latest Eddie-centred shitstorm … One came courtesy of The Footy Show’s Sam Newman. Looking, as he invariably does, like a man who’s been injected with Botox at precisely the moment […]

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Analysis through the looking glass

Analysis through the looking glass

‘You may call it “nonsense” if you like … but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!’ – The Red Queen in Through the Looking-Glass When Seymour Hersh published his 10,000-word essay ‘The Killing of Osama bin Laden’ last May he entered a strange and murky realm of information and counter-information in which […]

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Dead Centre: The myth of the political centre

Dead Centre: The myth of the political centre

In the three months since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister of Australia, one concept more than any other has dominated the political discussion: the concept of the ‘centre ground’. In the mainstream press especially, the notion that politics has a ‘centre’ and that Turnbull has to move towards it in order to win the next election (and that he is […]

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