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On the State of the Left

W.G. Runciman, 17 December 1981

The Forward March of Labour Halted? 
by Eric Hobsbawm, Ken Gill and Tony Benn.
Verso, 182 pp., £8.50, November 1981, 0 86091 041 5
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... Ever since the Industrial Revolution and the first stirrings of socialist political theory, the intellectual protagonists of the Left have started with a twofold debating advantage over their opponents on the right. First of all, they have been able to present socialism as the repository of ideals to which all right-minded people can be presumed to subscribe ...

Even When It’s a Big Fat Lie

Alex Abramovich: ‘Country Music’, 8 October 2020

Country Music 
directed by Ken Burns.
PBS, eight episodes
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... the Civil War,’ she said. ‘But I do know that many historians, including Shelby Foote, in Ken Burns’s famous Civil War documentary, agree that a failure to compromise was a cause of the Civil War.’Sanders was right: Kelly’s comments could have come straight out of Burns’s documentary, which gave a sympathetic hearing to the notion of the ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London, 19 June 2008

... Bow Creek, the point of access to the Lower Lea, he was ridiculed by the man who succeeded him, Ken Livingstone. ‘A gimmick’. A megalomaniac right-wing fantasy. By 2008, in a frank admission during the run-up to the mayoral election, Livingstone boasted that he had feigned enthusiasm for the 2012 Olympics as a way of generating funds for brownfield ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... motorway, was aborted by Boris Johnson: it was too closely associated with the former mayor, Ken Livingstone. Thames Gateway is a geographical area and a philosophy for which Johnson has no enthusiasm. Boris champions the Eagle comic wheeze of an airstrip-island at the mouth of the river, out beyond Sheppey. I reported to Ballard on the way the ...

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