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Index: Currente Calamo

The Brexit Weimar Apocalypse.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Ashdown is right when he says “It’s not our country any more,” — but not for the reason he thinks. “Our country” for him is the country of the political and media establishment, not that of the majority of people in Britain. For the moment at least, the people have shaken that establishment by demanding their country back. And they have made this desire plain in the most peaceable way.’

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Hillary Clinton, Pepe and the Deplorables.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Both the 9/11 fall and the punking by Pepe show a political class in serious moral and physical decay. If Clinton gets elected all bets are off as to how long she will survive but one thing is certain: Pepe the green cartoon frog will taunt her all the way.’

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The Zappa rule for bankers.

Michael Blackburn: ‘A knowledge of the old adage, “never wear brown in town” would come in useful for coping with those opaques codes. For, as any well-bred fule kno, brown shoes are not to be worn except on one’s country estate. And certainly never with a dark suit.’

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The moral tyranny of books.

Michael Blackburn: ‘So here I sit with the double-parked shelves in front of me and volumes to right and left, wondering what is the point and feeling somewhat guilty. Articles and listicles frequently appear in papers and magazines, goading you with titles you ought (there’s that moral imperative again) to have read and testing your (dis)honesty. Nobody knows if you have read Ulysses or not, especially if they haven’t read it themselves. But when you have read a book and forgotten everything between its covers, it’s almost as if you were bluffing anyway.’

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From bikes to badgers.

Michael Blackburn: ‘A lot of green types would like the bicycle to be a solution, but having just spent four days in Amsterdam I can vouch for the fact that walking around a city where cyclists of all ages and sizes coming at you from every direction (and often at speed) is unnerving and downright dangerous. ‘

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Diversity unto death.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Yet the bigwigs are faffing about with this PC nonsense. How will we know if their efforts succeed? We won’t. There is no way of measuring the success or failure of such nonsense. ‘

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Unpopular populism.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The overwhelming fear emanating from these anti-populists is not just that of no longer being in control of the agenda but also of no longer being in control of the people. The power of the media to peddle their pacifying PC agenda has weakened. ‘

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The poet on holiday.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The poet’s holiday is supposed to be the same as a busman’s — that is, one in which despite putting on the appearance of an ordinary mortal he nevertheless practices his vocation by wandering along quayside, lakeside or seashore, or among the venerable stones of Venice, etc, gathering unusual metaphors for his poems. I’d supply a couple of strikingly ridiculous examples but my Muse has been on holiday…’

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An empire of scoffers.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Why do they regard any national success as a moral failure? Why are they so gullible that, despite their education, their degrees, their intellectual hauteur, they fall for media panics such as the surge in post-Brexit racist attacks or the nonsense about Brexiteers regretting their decision, or the patronising belief that people were too stupid to realise not everything they were being told by the campaigners was gospel truth? Why do they raise the ghost of the Empire when nobody even talks about it any more?’

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A series of misjudgements.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The unintended consequences of misjudgements can roll on for years years. In the case of Britain’s membership of the European Union, 43 years to be exact. That’s 43 years of deeper entanglement in the European project, increasing loss of control over whole areas of policy and a growing sense of alienation among the electorate. When Ted Heath took us in and signed away our sovereignty, knowing full well what he was doing, and prepared to lie to the British people as he did so, he couldn’t have foreseen that the electorate would eventually turn round and say we want out.’

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After the sky has fallen…

Michael Blackburn: ‘There’s no doubt that result has been a bigger shock to the political and media establishment than anyone else. Cameron obviously never expected to lose it. He’d pulled this referendum trick with Scotland and won it, so he no doubt thought he could win this one, too. The media, sure of their own invincible cleverness, laid the anti-leave propaganda on by the bucket load. The Remain campaign reached the lowest point when they took advantage of the murder of the Labour MP, Jo Cox, at the hands of a local man with mental problems. ‘

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The peasants’ revolt.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The passions aroused by the referendum, the divisions opened up by it, the fact that Cameron felt he had to give it the go-ahead as a means to lance the boil of discontent, are indicative of a sizable rejection of the political establishment. They are no longer trusted. They prove, day in, day out, that they deserve no trust.’

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An army by any other name.

Michael Blackburn: ‘There’s no reason to assume that the EU couldn’t create a unified military force from a selection of member states with others staying out completely or occasionally working in cooperation. They’ve accepted (for the moment) a situation with the euro, for example, in which some members do not participate.’

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The bureaucrat and the dictatorship.

Michael Blackburn: ‘inevitably, well supplied with bureaucrats and lawyers working away at one directive after another, one set of regulations after another, one set of proposals after another. Railways, bananas, toilets, light bulbs, driving licences, passports, road tolls, boilers, gas and electricity, television scheduling, fish quotas, postal services, immigration, defence, herbal medicines — you name it, there’s hardly a thing untouched by the EU prodnoses. ‘

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Justin vs Vladimir.

Michael Blackburn: ‘In the event of a scrap, therefore, my money would be on Vlad, despite the fact that he cedes the best part of twenty years to young Justin. Trudeau may have the extra height, and the quicker reflexes and energy of youth but Vlad has cunning and a finely-developed streak of viciousness in him. And he’s Russian. And he’s ex-KGB. Justin may land a few wallops on him but Vlad would bite his ears off and turn his model’s face into a moonscape before he knew what was happening. ‘

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