What’s Happening in Sweden?


Published on Bella Caledonia, 13 September 2019. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden! — Donald Trump, 18 February 2017 Sweden was long seen as a progressive utopia. Then came waves of immigrants – and the forces of populism at home and abroad. — The New York Times, 10 August 2019 ‘If you get a call from the post office, you tell them we’re...

The Fall of the Murdoch Wall


I didn’t make it to bed on election night, so it took till Saturday morning to have the experience of waking up in this new reality. All day, I felt a lightness, like the laws of physics just changed slightly — and scrolling through Facebook, I see others trying to make sense of this strange sensation. Mixed in among these posts, though, there are others that boil down to, ‘Will you all stop...

You Want It Darker


The regular mechanisms of political narration are breaking down. The pollsters lose confidence in their methods, the pundits struggle to offer authoritative explanations for events that they laughed off as wild improbabilities only months before.

Labour Through the Looking Glass: 15 Early Morning Speculations on the Corbyn Surge


I keep thinking of Landon Kettlewell, the dot com entrepreneur from Cory Doctorow’s novel, Makers. At the start of the book, he has just bought up the exhausted shells of Kodak and Duracell. To an audience of puzzled Silicon Valley journalists, he explains that these companies have history, infrastructure, administrators, facilities, supplier relationships, distribution and logistics. All they...

The Only Way Is Down: 18 Thoughts on the UK Election


So, good morning. I’m afraid it’s true: that nightmare you had, it wasn’t a dream. Let yourself feel the shock, the rawness of disappointment sharpened by sleep deprivation. If you ached for an end to five years of government by the rich, for the rich, then what you are feeling today is a blow to the soul. Stay with that for a while, before the pundits and the candidates in the coming leadership...

Let’s Get This Party Started!


I spoke to Claire on Skype last night. She’d just done an interview with Jon Snow on Channel 4 News. It’s strange to be in touch again: until last month, I hadn’t heard from her in 20 years, not since we were kids knocking about in small-town County Durham, back when Major was prime minister and my idea of political engagement was marker-penning the anarchy symbol on the back of my German army...

The Fairly Big Society


The Tories did not simply invent a half-baked cover story, they took other people’s ideas for a joyride, then smashed them into the dead end of their own ideology. The challenge now is to salvage what is worth saving of those ideas from the wreckage.

In the Future, Everyone Will Be Powerful for 15 Minutes


Published in Despatches From the Invisible Revolution (PediaPress).  1. Rioters smash the windows of banks, the drum beats towards war with Iran, protests fuelled by social media take over the streets of another capital city. As 2011 reached its endgame, the cinematic surface of Mike Bartlett’s play, 13, could have been taken from the next day’s headlines. Into its dark, refractive world...