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Index: Currente Calamo

Reading and un-reading.

Michael Blackburn: ‘there’s PostCapitalism by Paul Mason, erstwhile Business Editor on BBC’s Newsnight, and currently Economics Editor on Channel 4 News. Unlike Jones he looks like he’s been around a bit. To Greece, mainly, where’s he’s covered that country’s chaotic exposure to the reality of having to pay back borrowed money while living in the madhouse of the Euro.’

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Gordon Brown speaks.

Michael Blackburn on Gordon Brown’s party-saving speech: ‘Its substance was predictable as well, with a roll-call of powerful and influential people that Gordon either knew personally or admired: Nye Bevan, Jennie Lee, Michael Foot, Nelson Mandela. Oh, you didn’t know that Gordon knew Nelson Mandela? He did, you know, and very well. And Michael Foot knew George Bernard Shaw, and he knew Lloyd George, just like my father. Not to forget Neil Kinnock, although most of us have.’

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Parenting-down with Comrade Corbyn.

Michael Blackburn: ‘So if you’re a professional of any sort and encourage your son or daughter to follow in your footsteps, you’re an opportunity hoarder. If you bring your children up to talk with Received Pronunciation, to hold a knife and fork properly, eat with their mouths closed, work hard, show self confidence and associate with people who aren’t going to end up in prison then you’re probably hoarding someone else’s opportunities.’

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Comrade Corbyn, our sea-green incorruptible.

Michael Backburn: ‘His policies are standard left wing fare: more state control, more state spending, more welfare, less private enterprise, no immigration controls, tax the rich, nationalise everything in sight, make everything free, etc. Apart from the possibility that he’ll campaign against continued membership of the EU, he expounds policies the electorate soundly rejected at the last election, as they did during the 1980s heyday of Labour lunacy. That he can claim people didn’t vote for Miliband because he wasn’t left enough shows there’s something special about him, but not in a good way.’

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Houellebecq: submission or collaboration?

Michael Blackburn: ‘oumission is a sketch, an outline of an idea or fantasy. Perhaps provocation is a better word. Houellebecq has said it is a satire in the form of political fiction (but he has also said elsewhere that it’s not satirical – take your pick). As satire, however, it lacks bite. We see the spineless self-serving of the academics rather than the political elite who are driving the action. The wider social world remains at a distance; soon after the new settlement is agreed and put in place, for instance, we hear nothing more about the FN and others who oppose what’s happening. France settles with great ease into its new dispensation; no surprise that some have seen this as a mirror of Vichy.’

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The EU and the slow learners on the British left.

Michael Blackburn: ‘It was inevitable that something would expose the EU for the elitist, anti-democratic racket that it really is. Problems with mass immigration and the consequent growing nationalism in many member states are one symptom. These are issues that can be played down by the EU. The economic carnage being wreaked in Greece, however, cannot be sanitised and contained by compliant media and politicians. When you see Guy Verhofstadt, MEP, shouting at Alexis Tsipras in the European Parliament you know the elites are desperate to keep their little empire intact.’

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The leaving of London.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The London I first used to visit and in which I lived was still a post-war city, much of it tatty, dirty, run-down. If you watch repeats of films and tv programmes set in London up until the mid-1990s you’ll see what I mean. It’s one of my favourite pastimes now, pointing out the litter-strewn streets, the peeling paintwork, the rotting window frames, the mucky walls and pavements. It wasn’t until I was walking along the river from Aldgate to the Strand one morning about ten years ago that I realised London had become a modern city at last, new buildings, cleaner streets, better shops, better transport, and so on.’

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Hounding Hunt: UCL joins the mob.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The narrative set up by [Connie] St Louis and followed by the others is that “sexism” is preventing women from entering science and so something must be done. In this instance, the something that must be done is the hounding of a renowned 73-year-old Nobel prize winner out of a number of honorary positions. Yes, I can see that would get girls in their thousands lining up to do A-Level Biology.’

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On view in Bedlam this week: the pseudo-black prof.

Michael Blackburn: ‘IN THE MIASMA of identity politics nowadays everything goes; you can be trans-anything, so why not race? Ms Dolezal says she “identifies” as black, after all, and that seems to have been enough for her employers. So race has joined the ranks of social constructs, ie, something made up by society and therefore non-existent. If that is the case then it should mean the end of race politics, which would be a good thing. But we all know that’s not going to happen, certainly in America. ‘

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Waterloo? What’s that ABBA song about?

Michael Blackburn: ‘As we’ve already seen, the British political and educational establishment, stuffed with invertebrate quislings, is eager to jettison every trace of patriotism and doesn’t want to make a fuss. That won’t be difficult, given that nobody teaches our schoolchildren anything about it.’

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Katie Hopkins petition hate.

Michael Blackburn: ‘No one in the media or the political elite will discuss these issues (immigration, the failure of the multicultural project, the problem of islamisation, the increasing stifling of individual expression, etc) in an honest way. People such as Hopkins act as public provocateurs, saying what millions think. What she does is help kick down the ever-encroaching fences of the self-elected speech police.’

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Bin Laden’s bookshelf.

Michael Blackburn: ‘He could have lightened his days with the occasional Dan Brown or Harry Potter, but the absence of fiction reveals him to have been a typical bloke, more concerned with factual material (or what passed as factual) than the overtly imaginative. No slim volumes of poetry in there, either.’

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Election news: aftermath.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Now the battlefield is covered with the corpses of political careers, and possibly parties (whither the LibDems?). Labour are trying to find a leader who can gather the dead from the field and put stakes through the hearts of those representing its past. At the same time they’ve got to work out what’s the point of a party originally set up to represent a class that no longer exists, with a philosophy that has not and can never work, and which the populace generally do not want. ‘

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Election news: Brand’s cat.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Although Miliband, in truth, came out of his regrettable campaign interview with Brand with a semblance of dignity and integrity all this was destroyed in the aftermath. Brand flipflopped, saying people should vote after all (having repeatedly advised people not to vote, because it don’t change nuffink), and for Labour. Except in Brighton where they should vote Green. All was hysterically positive.’

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Nothing serious; hell, yeah.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The pressure of election increases the stupidity of politicians and their advisers, which is why Cameron nearly came a cropper during one speech by pretending to be Man of the Terraces and making a joke about a football team. The press instantly picked up on this because he said West Ham or something when everybody knows (apparently) he’s an Aston Villa fan. My own view is that it’s beneath a Prime Minister’s dignity to be talking about football in public. Cricket you could probably get away with but football, no. It’s not serious enough.’

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