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We desperately need a new narrative for 2017...

The plot against Europe: Part Three – The fightback

Probably the least convincing part of Roth’s ‘The Plot Against America’ is the denouement. Lindbergh’s widow appeals for a turn away from KKK-led violence; Roosevelt is reelected; equilibrium (and the ‘American way’) is restored. In the epilogue, it is explained quite plausibly that it was a Nazi plot all along. I await Mrs Trump’s corresponding

Cohen left us with 'you want it darker?' but we need to create new hallelujah's

The US/UK plot against Europe: Part Two – ’you want it darker?’

  On October 21st 2016, Leonard Cohen released his last album – ‘You want it darker’. He passed away on November 7th, a day before Trump’s extreme kind of darkness descended on the US. ‘You want it darker’ reconfirms his 1992 analysis of the US as a laboratory where confrontations between race, class, gender, sexual

Will 'The Plot against America' play out as the 'Manchurian Candidate'?

The US/UK plot against Europe: Part One – Coup d’etat

In 2014 I read Philip Roth’s ‘The plot against America’. My memories of its political backdrop are of Charles Lindbergh – the famous aviator (and populist ‘hero’ of his day) becoming an unlikely Republican presidential candidate. He beats Roosevelt in the 1940 election on an America-First, anti-war, anti-semitism ticket. As President he signs non-aggression pacts

Nissan, CETA, Heathrow and the BREXIT virus…

I hate to start a piece with a cliche, but ‘we live in extraordinary times’. With a rampant BREXIT virus it is almost impossible to make any sense of the feverish narratives of post-referendum Britain. This piece considers three ‘decisions’ last week – the Nissan announcement of new investment in Sunderland; the signing of the

What is the ‘Sunderland question’? And how might the May Government and local leadership teams answer it?

I can’t help thinking that Sunderland’s pace of counting votes will henceforth come to be seen as a massive millstone around this proud city’s neck. As Sunderland delivered its BREXIT referendum victory shortly after the polls closed on June 23rd, a first highly symbolic indicator of the national BREXIT upset became apparent.   Over subsequent