Personal Tragedies in Rodrigo Hasbún’s Los afectos

by Kathryn A. Kopple In 2015, the Bolivian writer Rodrigo Hasbún published Los afectos (Affections), a slim volume loosely based on the Ertl family, a clan foisted on the reader with precious little introduction. “The day papa returned from Nanga Parbat (with some heart-rending images, of a beauty that wasn’t human), he told us while […]

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Extracts from Alexandria Adieu

Published in London by Gilgamesh Books in Autumn 2021 In his powerfully evocative new book, Alexandria Adieu, the veteran Fleet Street foreign correspondent, historian and author, Adel Darwish, has written the memoir of his birthplace: Alexandria. Alexandria is not simply an Arabic, or a Greek city, an Egyptian city, it is much more. Alexandria is a […]

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Wellington’s Clubland

Soft words over cigars and port By Stephen Hoare Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS, ‘the Iron Duke’, is well known as the military man who defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 and as the man who ended the Napoleonic Wars – with a little Prussian help. He was also the […]

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Ideas about Cuba and Che

Che appeals to revolutionary fantasists who like the poetry of violence. By Phil Hall When we watched a film about the Mexican revolution starring Pedro Infante in 1997 my wife explained a little about what was going on. ‘Unfortunately, during the Mexican revolution, our family was on the wrong side. They had land and haciendas […]

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So, you say that Darwin’s scientific ideas have nothing to do with social values?

Victorians and Edwardians did terrible, cruel things in the name of Malthus and Darwin. by Philip Hall The cast system is inhuman. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) seems impossibly cruel. Look at the Taliban: Malala got a bullet in the head just for going to school. Look at forced marriage, at child marriage. How can that […]

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We Were Caught in the Neo-liberal Trap

But now we have another pivotal moment. By Bryan Greetham Before the Second World War a German chemist was working to discover what we would call today an antibiotic. Each evening he would leave out Petri dishes with bacteria in them so they could grow during the night for him to work on the next […]

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Don’t Tear Up your Labour Membership Card

WHAT IS TO BE DONE? By Phil Hall The British Disease is passive aggression. It is class hatred not class warfare. Class warfare is healthy, it leads to revolution and change. Class hatred, on the other hand, results in ordinary people giving Boris Johnson a large majority because they have decided they don’t like middle […]

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“YOUR BOYS TOOK ONE HELL OF A BEATING!”

The demoralisation of grassroots Labour. By Paul Halas The Stroud Labour CLP meeting to nominate its preferred leadership candidate back in January was packed, yet the atmosphere was sober and subdued. Members were permitted a two minute slot to talk up their choices, with the majority speaking for Starmer, citing his electability, his dependability, the […]

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Humanity’s Rosy Fingered Dawn: 2020

By Phil Hall Covid-19 arrives, We sit at home for a long while. The cities empty, the air clears and bird song seems louder. Translucent jellyfish float up the canal and goats clop through a Welsh hill town. We all see these things presented artistically on slim screens. We, the whole world. There is a […]

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Why Did the Working Class Vote Tory?

by James Tweedie, Plymouth, May 6th 2020 The one-word answer is: “Brexit.” The Labour Party backed the losing side in the 2016 UK referendum on leaving the EU, despite then-leader Jeremy Corbyn’s 40 years of opposition to British membership of the trade bloc-turned superstate. Labour came within a hair’s breadth of winning the snap general […]

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How to defeat Covid-19

By Phil Hall In China the barefoot doctors believed in prevention rather than cure. So how can we make societies like ours more resilient to pandemic infections like Covid-19? Well, we could advocate for a more humane society. That would make us much more resilient. We could guarantee a fully functioning, well-funded health service free […]

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CONSERVATIVES’ NHS HYPOCRISY

By Paul Halas Our television has led a charmed life in recent weeks. Every time a Conservative minister appears behind a lectern emblazoned with “Protect the NHS” it’s a miracle the set isn’t smashed by a flying vase. Abraham Lincoln somehow failed to mention that you can fool most of the people most of the […]

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