Are Statues So Naïve?

The re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter as a cultural force means the usual divisive stories are again dominating the headlines. They amount to a screaming match going on around the so-called “cancellation of white culture”. Classic movies such as Gone With The Wind are being withdrawn so producers can give them more historical context […]

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Events in Bristol

You probably saw that the Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol yesterday escalated to people dragging down the statue of a seventeenth-century slave trader, Edward Colston, and dumping it in the harbour. Among the many hills that people would be wise not to die on, this is surely one of the tallest. That’s not, however, […]

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House of Not-So-Common Sense

Sometimes it takes a pandemic to change our behaviour. Other times it’s the sight of something so outrageously idiotic that makes you realise that things haven’t been good for a long time. Take the lamentable sight of MPs snaking around Westminster this week. Could there be a more convincing argument about reforming a system that’s […]

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A World for Literalists

Words can be terribly slippery. William Empson in his seminal work on ambiguity from 1930 described the effect of these semantic slips as being either “witty or deceitful”; you can look on the effect of ambiguity as providing interpretive freedom but also the chance they’ll simply steer you in the wrong direction. Poetic language pivots […]

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