Saturday, 20 April 2013


I'm speaking at this event on the 11th of May at the Quaker Meeting House in Manchester. It should be dead good. North-westerners: please come doon.

Speakers include Andy Wilson, Esther Leslie, Aninda Ramamurthy, Ben Watson, Caspar Hewett, and stax more.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


"At Briggflatts Meetinghouse"

Boasts time mocks cumber Rome. Wren
set up his own monument.
Others watch fells dwindle, think
the sun's fires sink.

Stones indeed sift to sand, oak
blends with saint's bones.
Yet for a little longer here
stone and oak shelter

silence while we ask nothing
but silence. Look how clouds dance
under the wind's wing, and leaves
delight in transience.

- Basil Bunting (1975)

Monday, 15 April 2013


I (very quickly) wrote about this "football hooligan resurgence" thing for the Guardian.

Didn't have time to point to the obvious connections with Hillsborough, Thatcher, etc, unfortunately.

Monday, 8 April 2013


On this day I remember my mum, who died of breast cancer at the age of 56 in November 2005.

She was everything Margaret Thatcher, who surpassed her by some 30 years, was not.

As the daughter of Republican Irish Catholic immigrants living in post-war Britain, my mum grew up with an inherited belief in egalitarianism and political change, in a society where a tentative form of socialism was making those values more widespread and more potent than at any time before or since. Like many members of the so-called sixties generation, my mum regarded society and our collective improvement of it as the greatest good. For my mum, self-interest, competition, and greed were great evils that had to be combated with a political philosophy of altruism, cooperation, Love.

Margaret Thatcher believed that there is "no such thing as society". She believed that individuals are primarily motivated by self-interest, and that, because of this, they should not be supported in times of suffering by any means other than the largesse of the charitable rich. She was a friend of murderous tyrants and zealously racist political regimes. She delighted in the violence and theatricality of war. She worked hard to destroy the solidarity and unity of British working-class people, to take away their jobs, their communities, their pride.

My life has been dominated in very different ways by these two very different women. Now they are both gone, and I feel very forcefully that it is time for us all to decide whose children we are.