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Index: Currente Calamo

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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A wild dream of independent England.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Miliband will be seen to be weak because he will have to dance to the SNP’s tune in order to stay in power. Even the normally phlegmatic denizens of England will start to get restive. There are already enough people who are identifying themselves as English rather than British.’

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Campaign update: Looking deep into Miliband’s eyes.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The campaign has accelerated into the predictable hucksterism of fantasies, bribes and lies. They’re coming as thick as slurry from a muck-spreader on a Lincolnshire field. We’ve already had zero-hours contracts, the bedroom “tax”, food banks, the NHS, non-dom status, the EU (and why we shouldn’t be allowed a say on it), rail fares, bribes for young tenants, defence spending (or lack of it), Trident, personalised midwives, more devolution for Wales, inheritance tax, tuition fees, tax avoidance, and plans to make premier football clubs spend more of their money on “community” facilities.’

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Doolittle too late.

Michael Blackburn: ‘There’s something rather touching about this vision in its yearning for a lost Eden (minus the religious bit), something childish and naive, too, in its desire for a playground wilderness. Perhaps we can all become like Doctor Dolittle and learn to speak with the lynx, bears and bison that will appear at the bottom of our garden once the dream has come true. On our days off we can hack our way through uncoppiced woods and kayak over lakes that were once fertile farmland…’

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Taxing the saints.

Michael Blackburn: ‘If you don’t trust charities, give the cash directly to those in need. Get yourself off to your local Waitrose, fill up a trolley and wheel it down to your nearest foodbank. Use your imagination: disburse your largesse as you see fit.’

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The hashtags of outrage.

Michael Blackburn: ‘This is the logic of exhaustion. The left’s identity politics has finally reached its limits. There’s nowhere else to go and nothing more to do except turn inward with more and more insane refinements of definition and dogma.’

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Clown planning.

Michael Blackburn: [to David Miliband] ‘…you’re a far left Labour man for whom competition is really anathema, so stop pretending. You’d rather plan the free market away with your price caps, wage controls, regulations and taxes. With people like you in power the only competition our young people will face will be the race to the exits’

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What would Jesus do about bland smugness?

Michael Blackburn: What people don’t want is ‘more statist interference and the constant whingeing of certain groups for special treatment. What they don’t want is to see their country, their home, transformed around them without their consent. They don’t want to end up feeling like strangers in their own land. They never voted for their country to be turned into a “community of communities”, because it was not a choice they were offered.’

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The war on Stehpinklers.

Michael Blackburn: ‘This particular idea to put men in their place is still but a minor agitation in the cortex of the deranged, but give it time. Already in Germany a man has had to go to court to assert his right to be a Stehpinkler. This resulted from his landlord demanding he sat down on the loo like a girl so as not to damage the expensive marble of the bathroom floor with his dribblings. ‘

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Boris and the victims of radical onanism.

Michael Blackburn: ‘If the sensitive and understanding language of the political class has proved useless so far, perhaps the blunter approach may work better, because Johnson has defined the core of the whole problem: “how it can be that this one religion seems to be leading people astray in so many cases.” Nothing about a deformation of religion, nothing about it being a mutation, or anything like that. Just straight to the point.’

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The last bin for the loons.

Michael Blackburn: ‘It’s a view of the world that’s naively Romantic, unacquainted with the hard realities either of the natural world or of human nature; a strange brew of outdated New Agey hippieness infused with a toxic dose of illiberal, interfering authoritarianism, economic illiteracy and a hatred of humanity. There’s nobody so unable to cope with the modern world than the Greens. True to the real backwardness of progressivism, they’re where you end up if the conventional left aren’t loony enough for you.’

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Nuanced out of existence.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The sensitive and intelligent may think they’re doing the right thing by avoiding making harsh judgements, and talking about nuance and understanding. They’re not. Our enemies are not concerned with such things, that’s why they use automatic weapons, grenades, rocket launchers, knives and anything else at hand to kill and silence us. You can’t nuance a terrorist out of existence as he’s coming at you with a Kalashnikov. ‘

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