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Against the ‘political rulebook’

Much of the reaction to Labour’s election success last week has been framed in terms of their ‘rewriting the rules’. One particularly explicit example of this can be seen in an article by Jonathan Freedland, an enthusiastic critic of Corbyn, pontificating that Corbyn took “the traditional political rulebook” and “put […]

The Politics of Agency

Ever since I was a philosophy student, I’ve been interested in how we conceptualise individuals and groups. The two are connected in my mind because, if groups are composed of individuals, our concept of individuals is going to condition our concept of groups and vice versa. However discussion at this […]

Cognitive triage in politics

How widespread is this? From The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 585: Emanuel, with his day-to-day focus on “getting points on the board,” scrambled for quick results, trying to win each day’s news cycle. As Bob Rubin told one of his many acolytes in the White House during a […]

The Skilled Demagoguery of Donald J. Trump

This is disturbing and skilful stuff. A performance of populism quite unlike the rhetoric of it which we’re much more familiar with: “The other night in the debate,” he told thousands in Manchester, “they asked Ted Cruz a serious question: what do you think of waterboarding? Is it OK? I thought he’d say […]

the ‘religion’ of digital elites 

There’s a really fascinating article on Tech Crunch describing the political views of start-up founders in Silicon Valley. It makes the point that there’s a communitarian streak, albeit a very strange one, underpinning the politics of digital elites. To describe them as libertarian misses the ideological specificity of a cohesive […]

the antinomies of blairism

Earlier today Tony Blair gave a speech in which he finally took the gloves off. As someone with a growing interest in theorising post-democracy, I found it oddly intriguing. To anyone acquainted with the writing Anthony Giddens was spewing out in the 1990s, it was familiar stuff. Despite the fact his politics would […]

The Avoidance of the Intellectual

Wonderful quote by Edward Said featured on Corey Robin’s blog: Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide […]

Upper Clapton Dance (cc @Mookron)

Reading this excellent paper in the Sociological Review reminded me of this video which I’d not seen for ages: The comments on the video would be interesting to analyse in the terms Malcolm James adopts in the paper: Back when Pro Green was a G. Now he’s makin tunes to […]

What would British fascism look like?

I recently stumbled across this old* Huffington Post article by James Bloodworth, editor of Left Foot Forward, speculating about what a British fascism would look like. I don’t think it’s actually very good but it’s a fascinating question to ponder. And yet, were a far-Right government ever to win power […]

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Because we’re leaving them to their own devices The poorest are making all of the sacrifices – The cost of living crisis, house prices, the cost of a deposit, I don’t give a shit But yes of course we should address it So we will blame the deficit on people […]

What will post-democracy look like?

As anyone who reads my blog regularly might have noticed, I’m a fan of Colin Crouch’s notion of post-democracy. I’ve interviewed him about it a couple of times: once in 2010 and again in 2013. Whereas he’d initially offered the notion to illuminate a potential trajectory, in the sense that we risk becoming post-democratic, we […]