Monthly Archives: September 2018

In Sight of Sochi

After weeks of threat and portent, the people of Idlib have been granted a stay of execution. The regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian backers will not, for now, rampage through the northern province and bomb it to rubble. Their incipient offensive has been delayed, though it has not been cancelled. Continue reading

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Modern Day Presidential

On real mania and its imitations

A piece nominally about how social media drives people mad, or at least superficially so; but also how, instead of that madness being a product of authenticity, it is in fact just another role played by some participants, who are able to induce others into legitimate, real mania while remaining, if not detached, at least unaffected by its worst excesses.

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How we communicate has changed dramatically in recent years. It is increasingly defined by the artificial world we have constructed on our phones and our computers. What is said there and, more importantly, how it is said bleeds out of the devices on which such things are displayed. Continue reading

Permanent Election TV Debates Help Broadcasters and Politicians, Not the Public

Sky News as today begun a campaign to make TV debates a permanent feature of future general election campaigns. The broadcaster has come up with an imperative hashtag (#MakeDebatesHappen) and an endorsement from Sir Nick Clegg himself. Continue reading

Idlib and the Peace of the Graveyard

We know what it means by now.

The first shots have been fired – or rather, the first bombs have been dropped – of a new offensive in Syria’s civil conflict. Continue reading

It Couldn’t Happen Here

Fears of a European Bannonism

Steve Bannon is not as clever as he thinks, but he is good at attracting attention. At Breitbart News, Bannon fashioned effective propaganda, becoming an essential aspect of the right-wing media system – in America and, latterly, across the world. Continue reading

All Politics Is Global

Donald Trump tweeted something strange last week. In itself, that’s nothing unusual. The President certainly has form when it comes to outlandish and whacky pronouncements.

But amid his calling the Mueller investigation ‘a rigged witch hunt’ and attacking his former lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump said something else. He revealed he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ‘to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers’. Continue reading