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Blood Boiling

Paul Foot: Corporate takeover, 22 February 2001

Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain 
by George Monbiot.
Macmillan, 430 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 333 90164 9
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No Logo 
by Naomi Klein.
Flamingo, 501 pp., £8.99, January 2001, 0 00 653040 0
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... years of Thatcher, Reagan, Clinton and Blair, these two books are full of exhilaration and hope. George Monbiot writes mainly about Britain in a terse investigative style that I had feared was out of date. Naomi Klein, based in Canada, ranges all over the world and writes infectiously with verve and passion. Again and again their themes converge. Both ...

A Turn for the Woowoo

Theo Tait: David Mitchell, 4 December 2014

The Bone Clocks 
by David Mitchell.
Sceptre, 595 pp., £20, September 2014, 978 0 340 92160 9
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... world from Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker, the political ideas from Naomi Klein and George Monbiot. As a result it’s far too cartoonish and second-hand to have any real bite: it’s like looking into a snowglobe for a deep moral message. Like Cloud Atlas, Mitchell’s sixth novel is a globe-trotting, time-travelling extravaganza, divided ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets, 10 June 1999

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... to draw attention to ‘the seventeen million people killed directly by the motor car’. George McKay’s collection is a far more accurate portrait of contemporary British protest than MacArthur’s, in both subject matter and style. John Jordan of Reclaim the Streets, for example, offers a critique of ‘the street’ as public commons now enclosed ...

Anti-Party Party

Ben Jackson: The Greens, 7 May 2015

Honourable Friends? Parliament and the Fight for Change 
by Caroline Lucas.
Portobello, 281 pp., £14.99, March 2015, 978 1 84627 593 7
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... 2012; Labour and the Conservatives are just ‘two versions of market fundamentalism’ is the way George Monbiot put it. Second, the Greens argue that if large numbers of people vote for them, but the party is rewarded with little or no representation in Parliament, the government will come under increasing pressure to accept electoral reforms that would ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... A scattering of dissident voices on the payroll – Seumas Milne, Owen Jones, Zoe Williams, George Monbiot – were drowned out by a host of detractors, from within the paper and without: Tim Bale, Nick Cohen, Anne Perkins, Michael White, Martin Kettle, Peter Hain, Alan Johnson, Tony Blair (twice), Jonathan Jones, Frank Field, David Miliband (whose ...

Who Are They?

Jenny Turner: The Institute of Ideas, 8 July 2010

... in the media by attacking their ex-comrades – I’d do it myself if the price was right.’) George Monbiot, the Guardian columnist and anti-capitalist campaigner, started looking at the group closely in 1997, after some of them contributed to Against Nature, the notorious anti-Green television documentary; over the years he has called them ...

Belgravia Cockney

Christopher Tayler: On being a le Carré bore, 25 January 2007

The Mission Song 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 339 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 9780340921968
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... to overlook Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974), the central novel in le Carré’s career, in which George Smiley – an outwardly diffident ex-spook with a strenuously unfaithful wife and an interest in 17th-century German literature – comes out of retirement to identify the turncoat in a secret service that’s explicitly presented as a metaphorical ...

Warmer, Warmer

John Lanchester: Global Warming, Global Hot Air, 22 March 2007

The Revenge of Gaia 
by James Lovelock.
Allen Lane, 222 pp., £8.99, February 2007, 978 0 14 102597 1
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Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis Summary for Policymakers: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
IPCC, February 2007Show More
Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning 
by George Monbiot.
Allen Lane, 277 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 0 7139 9923 3
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The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies 
by Richard Heinberg.
Clairview, 320 pp., £12.99, October 2005, 1 905570 00 7
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The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review 
by Nicholas Stern.
Cambridge, 692 pp., £29.99, January 2007, 978 0 521 70080 1
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... knowingly acting as a stooge for the oil industry. He is not alone. It is shocking to learn from George Monbiot’s book Heat just how systematic the oil lobby has been about spreading a smokescreen of doubt around the question of climate change. The techniques in play were learned by the tobacco lobby in the course of the fights over smoking and ...

The Ant and the Steam Engine

Peter Godfrey-Smith: James Lovelock, 19 February 2015

A Rough Ride to the Future 
by James Lovelock.
Allen Lane, 184 pp., £16.99, April 2014, 978 0 241 00476 0
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... and breeding’. Lovelock is also careless with facts. An important example, pointed out by George Monbiot, is his endorsement of erroneous claims made by anti-environmentalists that a ‘ban’ on DDT following the publication of Rachael Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962 led to a huge rise in deaths from malaria. In fact the US ban on DDT in ...

Our Cyborg Progeny

Meehan Crist: Gaia will save us. Sort of, 7 January 2021

Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence 
by James Lovelock.
Allen Lane, 160 pp., £9.99, July 2020, 978 0 14 199079 8
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... be only slightly less troublesome if Lovelock wasn’t sometimes a poor purveyor of facts. As George Monbiot pointed out in his review of A Rough Ride to the Future (2014), Lovelock has supported erroneous claims cooked up by anti-environmentalists that a ‘ban’ on DDT after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 resulted in a ...

Red Pill, Blue Pill

James Meek, 22 October 2020

... audiences in municipal venues in English towns, where his fans sat peaceably as slides showed George Soros with reptilian eyes, in a corona of hellfire, with the caption: ‘George Soros: Personification of Evil.’ Covid-19 has boosted his profile. In May, following an appeal from the Centre for Countering Digital ...

What’s the point of HS2?

Christian Wolmar, 17 April 2014

... Tory conferences where the mood could best be described as hostile – yet David Cameron and even George Osborne appear genuinely committed to the project. They see it as a way of boosting business and of demonstrating their credentials as modernisers. They also believe it will help their electoral prospects in the North. The fate of HS2 doesn’t just lie in ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... of paying people to scrap their cars, we might as well burn ten-pound notes in power stations,’ George Monbiot told the BBC. Some of the firms the incentive scheme is intended to help have been afraid the move would leave them out of pocket. Honda, Ford and Vauxhall have been reluctant to take part. But however doubtful industry experts have ...


Christopher Turner: Cities, 6 September 2001

Cities for a Small Country 
by Richard Rogers and Anne Power.
Faber, 310 pp., £14.99, November 2000, 0 571 20652 2
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Urban Futures 21: A Global Agenda for 21st-Century Cities 
by Peter Hall and Ulrich Pfeiffer.
Spon, 384 pp., £19.99, July 2000, 0 415 24075 1
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... double-heighted central living area ‘the piazza’ because it is so big). He also features in George Monbiot’s ‘Fat Cats Directory’ of the 45 most influential hypocrites in Britain (see Monbiot’s Captive State). Rogers accepted the chairmanship of the Urban Task Force, which sought to reduce pressure on ...

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