OTHER RECENT POSTS

A mood on the march?

A mood on the march?

Eight years on from the global debt crisis, the most remarkable thing about US politics is that it remains the same asinine, catchpenny charade that it was in the decades leading up to it. Notwithstanding the devotees of the Tea Party, who after grabbing the wrong end of the stick with both hands proceeded to beat themselves into irrelevance, and […]

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On Anti-Semitism, by Frederic Raphael

On Anti-Semitism, by Frederic Raphael

The first thing you find when you open Anti-Semitism is an Errata slip informing you that its author, Frederic Raphael, has mistaken D. H. Lawrence for T. E. Lawrence, Arthur Koestler for Arthur Schnitzler and the figure of 16,000 for 1,600 (the number of Jews killed in Jedwabne, Poland, in 1941). This is not a great start; one is entitled […]

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A review of Christopher Hitchens’ And Yet …

A review of Christopher Hitchens’ And Yet …

The front cover of And Yet … strikes a defiant note, showing its author, Christopher Hitchens, doing the two things that killed him: chugging large glasses of Johnnie Walker Black Label and smoking cigarettes down to the filter. But the more interesting challenge thrown down by this book – a collection of essays, reviews and opinion pieces published in the […]

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Taking part in the Global Women's Strike on Saturday 12th March 2011.

‘You don’t know Jack, Jack!’ On ‘mansplaining’ and l’affaire Kilbride

The leftwing website New Matilda has never been afraid to poke the bear. In recent years it has found itself at the centre of all manner of media controversies and on the receiving end of a clutch of lawsuits, some of which it only barely survived. Though it sometimes lacks judgment, it never lacks bravery. A David without the money to buy a […]

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Lone wolves in search of a pack: some thoughts on ‘home-grown’ terrorism

Lone wolves in search of a pack: some thoughts on ‘home-grown’ terrorism

In the wake of the San Bernardino shootings last week, speculation about the killers’ motives was, not unreasonably in the circumstances, rife. Were the killings related to a workplace dispute – to a personal or professional grievance – or were they terroristic in nature? US President Barack Obama was careful to differentiate the two possibilities, to caution against jumping to […]

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Operation Shirtfront: the Abbott ‘legacy’

Operation Shirtfront: the Abbott ‘legacy’

This is the introduction to the book I stopped writing on 15 September 2015, when Malcolm Turnbull grabbed Tony Abbott by the pants and pulled him back down the greasy pole. It was to be called Operation Shirtfront: Tony Abbott and the Crisis of Australian Conservatism. I always knew it might not see the light of day, and was perfectly […]

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In defence of the New Atheism

In defence of the New Atheism

‘Another day, another tweet from Richard Dawkins’ wrote Eleanor Robertson last July, in response to the controversial professor’s latest foray into the twittersphere. Ah yes, I can remember thinking, and another article on Richard Dawkins and how he and his fellow New Atheists are disappointing progressive expectations! Not that he didn’t deserve it, mind, having just used a moral taxonomy […]

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Not just another brick in the wall

Not just another brick in the wall

The decision of the Lego company not to supply the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei with bricks for a new artwork is one of the most striking instances I can recall of life imitating art. A huge and impersonal power structure combining arbitrary state power and capitalistic greed; the determination of that power structure to silence a uniquely gifted individual; that […]

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Currying favour: Scott Morrison on Kitchen Cabinet

Currying favour: Scott Morrison on Kitchen Cabinet

When I read in the telly guide that the Treasurer Scott Morrison was going to be making Annabel Crabb a Sri Lankan curry on the season-opener of Kitchen Cabinet I thought it must be a joke. Oh right, I can remember thinking; and what else will the one-time Minister in Charge of Not Answering Questions about Border Security and Refugees […]

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Review: The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott

Review: The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott

‘Events, dear boy, events,’ British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan is said to have replied when asked what was most likely to blow his government off course. What goes for politicians goes for writers too, as I discovered for myself on 14 September, when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. At that time I was writing my own book […]

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