This week the world seemed to be well down the road to hell in a handbasket. There is, I think, no need to recap the events that have been flooding social media and news feeds. If this is the shape of where things are going, I despair for the world. What’s going on? What the … More Is the world is going to hell in a handbasket?
I spotted some protestors a while back in central Wellington. “Aha,” I said to myself, “the people’s revolution is happening a century too late.” But it wasn’t. It was a group of public servants wanting a pay rise. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the western world was riven by upheaval; the radical … More The illusions of revolution – how Karl Marx misled historians…and the world…
I don’t ‘do’ politics – I have totally no interest in it, not even if somebody wanted to revive the McGillicuddy Serious Party and promise free beer and French taunter insults every Friday night. Still, every so often something pops up that draws interest, as the other week when I discovered that the deputy leader … More About not getting bogged down in politics
One of the ways that George Orwell exposed the reality of authoritarian dictatorship in his novel 1984 was through the way his Big Brother authorities twisted the truth. They didn’t just lie in blatantly transparent ways – they demanded that their ‘alternative facts’ be taken as gospel, irrespective of any evidence to the contrary. If … More Orwell’s ‘1984’ and the alternative truth
When I was at primary school in Napier, New Zealand, all the kids – including me – were terrified of a particular teacher, the ‘go to’ disciplinarian who was invoked when other teachers wanted a kid especially punished. This bellowing drill-sergeant of a teacher demanded total submission to his power, even down to punishing kids … More How authoritarian bullies get away with it
It’s ANZAC Day this week in New Zealand – 25 April, our equivalent of Memorial Day in the US or Armistice Day in Britain. It’s iconoclastic. Most nations remember their military dead on days when a war ended – typically, for Commonwealth countries, 11 November, when the guns fell silent over the Western Front in 1918. … More ANZAC Day 2013: remembering why we fought
Former British PM Margaret Thatcher’s death this week has not, it seems, provoked a sense in Britain or even around the world that the deceased can do no wrong. The ‘Iron Lady’ steered Britain away from a failed post-war course. But the cost was division, bitterness and dispossession. She polarised; and the bitterness re-emerged this … More Does Thatcher’s death mean the 80s are really over?