Martin Bright

Cage offered ‘Radical Chic’ to modern liberals

In the 1970s it was called ‘Radical Chic’: the toe-curling tendency of well-heeled liberals to consort with revolutionaries in the hope that the glamour of violence would rub off. The phrase was coined by the journalist Tom Wolfe in a satirical article he wrote for New York magazine about a fundraising party hosted for the Black

Cameron has reached the tipping point

The combination of complacency and incompetence that seems to have afflicted the Conservative Party is a wonder to behold. Janet Daley wrote at the weekend of her frustration at David Cameron saying he is ‘relaxed’ about the situation. She is right that welfare, education and the criminal justice system are in need of reform, although

Maria Miller and Britain’s creative industries need to talk

Everyone seems to like talking about the ‘creative industries’ these days. For arts folk, it gives the impression that what they do is hard-edged and economically viable, it makes geeky people like programmers and software designers sound more interesting and it allows ministers to talk about rather slippery and intangible elements of the economy in

The Iraq fury still burns, fuelled by unanswered questions

I was fascinated to read the reaction to Nick Cohen’s article expressing his view that after 10 years he still believed the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. The heart of Nick’s argument is this: ‘I regret much: the disbanding of the Iraqi army; a de-Ba’athification programme that became a sectarian purge

There is nothing new about Islamism in Africa

The Algerian hostage crisis is over and the Prime Minister has warned that the focus of the al-Qaeda’s franchise has shifted westwards. In his statement on the situation, he was channelling Tony Blair, which at least makes a change from channelling the Foreign Office. But the initial reaction from Downing Street was deeply unimpressive. The

In defence of Suzanne Moore

Tell me if you have heard this already but it appears that Suzanne Moore has offended the trans-gender lobby. She did this by writing an essay about women’s anger for a Waterstone’s collection of essays, which was then republished by the New Statesman. The following sentence caused deep offence (is there any other kind?): ‘We

The Big Society and the problem of faith-based policy making

The real problem with the Big Society (and I speak as someone who has written in favour of the idea) is that it was a vaguely-defined description that was turned into a vaguely-defined aspiration. As with so much of the Conservative Party’s agenda it turned out the project was infused with a nostalgic right-wing utopianism.

The Dalkey Archive Press responds

Following my last post about the Dalkey Archive Press advert for unpaid interns I received an email from publisher John O’Brien. I think it sheds some interesting light on the issue so here it is in full: ‘What started out as an announcement of two hires and then hoped-for interns who would become hires (putting

Will 2013 bring an end to unpaid internships?

It’s a bit early for predictions for 2013. But my feeling is that it could be the year of the unpaid intern, or rather, the year of the paid intern if the campaign to pay people a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work continues to gather pace. Hazel Blears did well to secure

How to improve the Work Programme

Everyone who has been involved in the Work Programme has been warning ministers for some time that there were serious problems with this flagship policy. As this is the opposite of a listening government nobody took any notice. Big homelessness charities have warned that the system doesn’t work for people on the streets, small work

Hopeless in Gaza

I have already tweeted my feeling of utter despondency at the situation in Gaza. I feel hopeless, both in the sense of having no hope and in the sense of being useless to help. Compared to the misery of what is happening on the ground my soul-searching is a mere pimple of suffering and I

The paedophile equivalent of 7/7

I was looking through an old contacts book the other day (something that sad ageing hacks find themselves doing) and found that a number of people I used to call are now in prison. There was old Abu Qatada’s mobile number: I’d interviewed him in 1999 for The Observer when he was first named as

The government needs good news from the Work Programme

You know a government is in trouble when the ‘week from hell’ moves beyond cliché to become the normal state of affairs. We already had a slew of pieces around the time of party conference asking if things could get any worse (I believe I even wrote one myself). And then they did. The Mail