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Index: Currente Calamo

The madness of the matriarchy.

Michael Blackburn: ‘[Naomi] Wolf’s bizarre claims that the Scottish referendum was rigged, that Obama is using the ebola outbreak to militarise Africa (you seen the size of Africa, Naomi?) and that the Isis beheading videos were not filmed by Isis (a minor point given that IS/Isis/Isil are slaughtering thousands of people), suggest a certain slippage in her grip on reality.’

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The triumphant pigeons of bigotry.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The problem for Labour is twofold. Firstly, they don’t understand why this is happening. Secondly, they don’t know how to counter it. Labour’s obsession with political correctness, its obeisance to the EU, its interfering authoritarianism and its unbalanced emphasis on welfare rather than wealth creation and individual aspiration have severed its connection with what used to be its natural constituency, “the working class”. And that old “working class” itself no longer exists. For Labour it’s been replaced by a dependency class and a rump of supporters who would vote for a monkey as long as it had a red rosette pinned to its chest.’

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Banksy in Clacton.

Michel Blackburn: ‘Unfortunately, hypocrisy doesn’t figure among the great sins condemned by the liberal establishment. Banksy is thus absolved of being a money-grubbing, faux rebel because he’s an exposer of the truth. He can stick it to The Man and pocket the kudos and the cash at the same time. That’s how the scrubbing out of this piece can be hailed as no less than a “vicious act of censorship”. The little Lenins of the metropolitan establishment love this down-with-the-people, street art stuff. It combines the pretentiousness of the cultural world with a yearning for the authenticity of working class experience, of “real people”.’

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In the rubble, with the ‘Guardian’ for a spine.

Michael Blackburn: ‘I’ve also watched programmes on the Egyptians (you can’t go wrong with the ancient ones), including one on the women pharaohs. I have no problem at all with that except that their being women seemed to be the only thing worthy of note about them. The presenter herself kept appearing in her baggy black pants suit and wildly wacky, frizzy red hair, strolling about the desert, entering dark tombs, gazing up raptly, etc, etc. All I can remember her telling us was that one pharaoh was a successful warrior and built lots of stuff. Hardly a great boost for the sisterhood or my appreciation of the ancient world.’

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We’ll have the vote total in Scotland long before we’ll have a ‘backlash’ in England.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Even after the murder of Lee Rigby on a London street, the backlash amounted mainly to a bodged arson attack on a mosque in Grimsby. The other two major incidents — the burning down of a Somali “community centre” (ie, mosque) in North London and the attempted arson of an Islamic boys’ school in Chislehurst — seem to have yielded no far-right involvement. That’s despite the fact that in the case of the community centre the media made a point of saying that EDL graffiti had been found daubed on the walls. Pity they never provided any photos or footage of it.’

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National self-amputation.

Michael Blackburn: It’s not that the system is broken. It’s that the people in it are third raters who are not up to the job. The unpalatable truth is that in Scotland at least the only politician who attracts any credibility is Alex Salmond. That’s a sorry state to be in.

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The insolence of office and the price of PC.

Michasel Blackburn: Those same whitewashers and apologists for rape are still at work today, despite all the evidence. Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian turns logic inside out by saying that those, police included, who used political correctness as an excuse for their inaction were themselves (because they were “assuming the worst of Muslims”). Suzanne Moore in the same paper treads the usual progressive path and can’t see the issue separately from class and gender. For her it’s a “wholesale resignation to an economic caste system”. Culture and religion seem to have no place in it, which is odd when you consider that as a progressive she must be very keen on all that multicultural stuff.

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Too much bang-bang, not enough news.

Michael Blacknburn: ‘Too often reporters present us with cliches, opinions or even propaganda as news, expecting us to accept it because we are all assumed to share the same values and ideas, and all want to be on the right side. We are required to care rather than think. Reporters are now our heroes on the front line of public morality as well as of conflict (in which, as Crawford admits, producers are seduced by too much “bang bang”) – how can we not believe them?’

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Frankly, my dear, I just don’t…

MICHAEL BLACKBURN: ‘If I did as I was supposed to and joined in solidarity with the activists, boycotters, hashtaggers, petition-signers, protestors and campaigners I‘d be on the edge of a nervous breakdown within a week. I’d also be a pain in the backside and devoid of friends and family, because there’s nothing more irritating than the conscientiously concerned.’

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The drinker and the drunker.

Michael Blackbiurn: ‘Although I never got anywhere near being more than an occasional, annoying drunk (and drunks are always annoying, even when you are one among lots of others) I know how boring and embarrassing it all becomes. When you’re young and a student, perhaps, you find it amusing to wake up in your room to find a tractor tyre propped up against your wall… Or be blamed for making someone drink after shave because there was no more alcohol in the house. Once you done that a few times, it gets a bit samey.

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Save the children from this evil train.

Michael Blackburn: ‘I thought we had reached the final frontier of outrage when cupcakes were declared fascist, but I was wrong. I hadn’t reckoned on the bottomless fury of the sisterhood against the patriarchy in all its forms, real or imagined. Thus the rumbling discontent over Thomas the Tank Engine has broken out into open hostilities again. If cakes can be dangerous then nothing is above suspicion, not even children’s entertainment.’

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Obesity — the epidemic.

Nick O’Hear: ‘Eating too much is the cause of fatness. This is true for the rich as well as the poor. My view is, that despite the explosion of cookery programmes, many people still can’t cook and hate to try. My remedy is to teach cooking as part of the national curriculum.’

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When Nietzsche and the Prophet came to England.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Marches and demonstrations have taken place in support of the people of Gaza — and presumably Hamas, the terrorist organisation voted into power by the people of Gaza and responsible for the constant rocket attacks on Israel. As with Iran in 1979 you have the liberal-left supporting people who stand for the exact opposite of what they themselves believe in, and would turn on them as soon as they had the upper hand.’

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A view from Blighty.

Michael Blackburn: ‘We have just learned that those of us who are indigenous British are racist. I’ll pretend for the sake of form that this judgment surprises me. A think tank called the Social Integration Commission released their first report entitled How Integrated Is Modern Britain? I think you can tell without even seeing a copy of the report where this is coming from and which direction it is going in.’

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Yet perhaps not quite glib enough for Americans.

Some rather superficial explanations of the success of Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century in the American press have claimed that Piketty is only the embodiment of a certain contemporary moment — data-driven but with a few simple big-picture claims that can be grasped easily by a tech-savvy but generally inattentive public who are obsessed with […]

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