The May plan for Brexit

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In a little over 70 pages, Theresa May has confirmed the worst nightmare for Remainers. Not only is Britain leaving the EU, we are leaving the single market and the customs union too. This may mean immigration controls are being placed before economic growth. The political is being put before the economic. This is what she meant when she engaged in such sloganeering as “red, white and blue Brexit”. Speaking at Lancaster House, May deployed the language of internationalism, Theresa May laid out the contours of the plan for Britain to leave the EU and become a “great, global trading nation”. … Continue reading

Did Castro hold back Cuba?

Cuban sign reading: 'To fight against the impossible and win.'

Alongside his depiction as a “brutal dictator”, negative reflections on Fidel Castro since his death on November 25 have focused on his “mismanagement” of the Cuban economy and the consequent “extremes of poverty” suffered by ordinary Cubans. This caricature is problematic – not only because it ignores the devastating economic impact of the United States embargo over 55 years, but also because it is premised on neoclassical economic assumptions. This means that by stressing economic policy over economic restraints, critics can shift responsibility for Cuba’s alleged poverty on to Castro without implicating successive US administrations that have imposed the suffocating … Continue reading

All Watched Over By Adam Curtis

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Sitting in front of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, it is easy to let the brilliance of the style wash over you. Illustrated with dazzling imagery, one big idea morphs seamlessly into another, while Curtis’s hypnotic narration smoothes away any cognitive bumps. Like attending a lecture by firebrand philosopher Slavoj Zizek, one comes away feeling overwhelmed and inspired by the relentless pace and mesmerising variety of idea. But there remains a niggling feeling you may have been bamboozled, a feeling that if you stopped and thought about the big themes, they would collapse into a pile of … Continue reading