Patrick Keiller: Robinson in London (1994)

The opening of Patrick Keiller’s London (1994) goes: Dirty old Blighty, under-educated, economically backward, bizarre. A catalogue of modern miseries with its fake traditions, its Irish war, its militarism and secrecy, its silly old judges, its hatred of intellectuals, its ill-health and bad food, its sexual repression, its hypocrisy and racism and its indolence. It’s so exotic… so home-made. Enjoy the segment on the atmosphere of the UK 1992 election results. At the time, the press foresaw a split result, possibly a minority government, or even a coalition, yet John Major prevailed. The Conservatives won a 21 seat majority, the slightest … Continue reading

American Europe

On a visit to Washington DC in 2012 Barack Obama and David Cameron spoke as one. The ‘special relationship’ (a term only used in the UK) was on show. Still, the terms were glowing. President Obama portrayed a “rock-solid alliance” as constant in an ever-changing world. Prime Minister Cameron went further to describe the relationship as “the United States of Liberty and Enterprise”. It was obvious the two men shared more than just speech notes. In many ways, David Cameron is the most American of British Prime Ministers. He’s a cultural liberal and fiscal conservative, to take the US phraseology. … Continue reading

Early ’90s flashback

The pub was packed to the gills with people, who had just finished work, but wanted to jeer at the ultimate blood-sport. My pal and I assessed the odds: I settled on an inky stout, he bought a large whiskey. The first exit poll conducted by Ipsos Mori was announced at 10 PM on Thursday night. The results came as a shock to seasoned observers, who had been expecting a close race. The night was filled with encounters of engorged Tories, disgruntled Lib Dems and one teary-eyed Labourite. By Friday morning, the worst was practically confirmed and the exit poll … Continue reading