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The reification of social change

There’s a lovely expression in this newsletter describing how pop-futurist Alvin Toffler reifies ‘change’ “into an autonomous abstraction, something that appears to cause itself, with consequences society must then adjust to”. It’s worth reflecting on quite how mainstream this move has become, particularly with regards to a centrism which sees […]

What is ‘modernising zeal’?

This description of Tony Blair’s ambitions by Alastair Campbell invites a question I’ve often wondered about. What is ‘modernising zeal’? It’s such a loaded term but clearly so significant to understand centrists dispositions yet it’s rarely, if ever, defined: But he feared that unless the party adapted to the modern […]

The nostalgia of centrism

This is absolutely spot on from Phil BC about the nostalgia animating contemporary centrist politics: This uneasiness on sacred cow politics is compounded by the successive hit jobs undertaken on Corbyn. Because he doesn’t share the same conservative goals as centrism, it follows he does not respect the same rules […]

Fascism and the liberal imagination

There’s a provocative argument on pg 81-82 of Žižek’s Like a Thief in Broad Daylight concerning the role of fascism in the contemporary liberal imagination. The invocation of the epochal enemy emerging from outside the political sphere allows the antagonism within it to be suppressed: The demonized image of a fascist threat clearly […]

How to trash the political rulebook

A fascinating insight from Steve Howell, deputy to Seumas Milne, concerning how to kick back against the ‘political rulebook’ beloved of the centrists: In his interview, Howell, who is writing a book called How the Lights Get In – Inside Corbyn’s Election machine, also described how the team around the leader faced […]

The new new left meets the old new left

This is a fascinating exchange between Owen Jones and Alastair Campbell, bringing to life many of the themes I’ve been preoccupied with in the last few months. I agree with Owen’s claim that Campbell’s world view is in crisis. The promise of the modernisers rested on a basic electoral proposition: triangulation […]