More than 150,000 people have joined the Labour Party since May’s defeat, a figure which exceeds the total membership of any other political party in the UK. Over 60,000 have joined since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, more than either the Liberal Democrats or Ukip can boast among their ranks. The composition of the party is changing too. The average age of the party membership fell by 11 years over the summer – from 53 to 42 – and more women than men joined. Something similar happened with the SNP after the independence referendum, when its membership, in a nation of only five million, surged beyond the 100,000 mark. There, too, new members were younger and most of them were women. More »
There’s an exhibition of Christopher Logue’s poster poems at Rob Tufnell, 83 Page Street, London SW1, until 7 November.
‘Sex War Sex Cars Sex’ by Christopher Logue and Derek Boshier, 1967.
There’s a new website of Peter Campbell’s work. You can see some of his more-than-400 LRB cover pictures there, along with many other illustrations, paintings and designs. The thematic galleries include ‘On Wheels’ (cars, trains, trams, vans and prams, although he never learned to drive) and ‘On the Menu’, flowers and birds, sketches of the smart set and more everyday characters: waiters, gardeners, barmaids and nurses at work and in their off-moments. The archive will continue to grow.
Janette Taylor, a subscriber who makes paper beads, made this necklace out of the LRB.
France, 1976. © Josef Koudelka/Magnum Photos
Earlier this month I went on a press junket to the Josef Koudelka retrospective in Madrid. Reading the catalogue on the plane, I realised I was living the inverse of the romantic myth that grew up around the work I was going to see. Stuart Alexander’s essay describes the photographer in 1973, not long after he left Czechoslovakia for the West: More »
On 7 August 1991, the Albanian ship Vlora docked at the Port of Durrës, twenty miles west of Tirana, with a cargo of Cuban sugar. Thousands of people, desperate to leave Albania in the first throes of its ‘transition’ from communism, boarded the ship and prevailed on the captain to take them to Italy. The Vlora arrived in Bari the next day. According to a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe report from January 1992: More »
Trouble over Trident has struck deep into the souls of disaffected Labour politicians, from those who say they ‘disagree with Jeremy’ to those making clear they will go to the stake for the ‘independent’ deterrent. Their belief in it turns on three considerations, spelled out three years ago by Luke Akehurst in Progress.
First, jobs: the renewal of Trident is a jobs-protection scheme, worth £100 billion (Akehurst asks ‘what Barrow, or for that matter Derby or Aldermaston, are supposed to do to replace the highly skilled engineering jobs dependent on Trident renewal’).
Second, ‘punching above our weight’ to ensure a ‘place at the table’, most notably as a member of the Permanent Security Council of the UN, a politically bankrupt arrangement if ever there were one.
Third, insurance, a policy with a very high premium but worth every penny when heart-wrenchingly packaged: ‘I support Trident renewal because I want my children and hopefully their children to have a country in 50 years time which is still protected by a deterrent so powerful that no other power that arises in the intervening five decades, however hostile or malign, would risk bullying us with nuclear or other WMD threats.’
This is the family-man doctrine of deterrence. More »
Here’s the winner of the Paris Review and LRB #readeverywhere photo competition. Full details of prizes and runners up on the Paris Review blog.
At around 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday 16 September, Michel Kafando, the president of Burkina Faso, was taken hostage during a cabinet meeting. Members of the Régiment de Sécurité Présidentielle (RSP) burst through the doors of the meeting room in the Koysam Presidential Palace and detained Kafando and his prime minister, Isaac Zida. The next day, the RSP announced that the borders were closed and that General Gilbert Diendéré would assume the presidency until ‘inclusive and peaceful’ elections could be arranged. More »
Questions of how the Arab world should be depicted, by whom, in what language, and for what purpose, came up in several discussions I took part in over recent months. The debate is fraught, and prone to curtail writers’ freedoms as much as open up new ground. It is best engaged with in what Ahdaf Soueif has described as the ‘mezzaterra’ between East and West which, thankfully, is less of a no man’s land than it used to be. More »