God knows everyone who offers opinion for a living should swear off opening debate with the ‘what has happened to our society when….’ (shift-F3 on the keyboard) type of question. But what has happened to our society when someone can a) not only go on a television game show disguised as a reality show when her father is known to be dying, but b) make a pact with her family not to be informed of his death?
Even for a place which produces more history than it can consume locally, today was a bit of a corker on the island of Ireland, with an election in the Republic, and the swearing in of the Northern Ireland assembly at Stormont, and the hitherto unimaginable -- except in the mind of a sitcom writer -- vision of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness becoming first and deputy ministers respectively.
Given the love-in between the going…going…going…PM Tony Blair and his co-conspirators in the Coalition of the Willing, you could be forgiven for thinking that the New Labour apparatchiks weren’t particularly interested in solidarity with the global labour movement.
Like your average grouchy post-Marxist, I don’t have a huge amount of time for the post-modern idea that there are no facts, only interpretations – but the situation in Iraq would be enough to test even the strongest faith in the idea of an objective reality.
Noel Pearson’s triple-whammy last week – getting excerpts of his Griffith Review essay in three major papers – brought back some memories.
These days you can see the rivets popping and beams buckling in Surry Hills as – following the failure of Howard’s numbers to improve after the Budget – the good ship News changes course.
By Tuesday evening over here, Gordon Brown was well on track for a coronation when Labour meets to elect a new leader in June. With the deadline for nominations closing on Thursday, he’s got 282 names signed up, with challenger John McDonnell currently stuck on 27, and needing 45.
Iraq is strife torn. Afghanistan too. Yet nothing reveals the bogus nature of the war on terror more explicitly than the attention, or lack of it, being paid to Pakistan at the moment -- a country that has an actual nuclear arsenal and is having fire-fights in the centre of its largest city. Is it because we have no way to fit into the security narrative of the 'war on terror'?
The McCanns’ tragedy strikes a chord with many because it represents, in ghastly form, the collapse of public meaning in so many lives.
If the Blair decade has any defence, it is in the twin claims to running a prosperous economy and to have introduced a range of concrete policies that improved everyday life. But what of the social policy?