Jeremy Corbyn, ‘Holy Fool’

Jeremy Corbyn’s serene countenance during the election campaign drew frequent parallels with that of a Buddhist monk, Corbyn himself at one point referring to his efforts to attune himself to a Zen mindframe. But Corbyn’s unaffected homily at Glastonbury suggests a comparison with another spiritual archetype might be more appropriate.

Scotland’s lost architectural futures

Owen Hopkins’s book Lost Futures surveys the rise, fall and rise again of the reputation of British post-war architectural modernism, including iconic Scottish projects such as Glasgow’s Red Roads Flat and Hutchenstown C, the Cockenzie Power Station and St Peter’s Seminary.

David Bowie, devout sceptic

Like millions of other Bowie fans I find myself listening to his music more than ever since he died a year ago today….it continues to offer consolation, not only for the hard fact that we shall hear no more from him, but for the particular challenges of my own life. Why should this music, so often abstract, glacial, detached, obscure and mockingly ironic, hold such a powerful emotional appeal?

2017 and the idea of utopia

Billed as a year of imagination and possibility to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, 2016 didn’t quite work out that way. 2017, the centenary of the Russian Revolution, offers another opportunity to consider the meaning and value of the idea of utopia.

Zionism, anti-semitism and the Left

“Rich navigates this exceptionally fraught and emotionally charged terrain with great sensitivity. But on occasion his focus on making plain the nature of leftist anti-Semitism leads him to understate or omit some important elements of the Israeli-Palestine conflict that motivate Israel’s critics.”

So what’s so bad about being a Trotskyist?

Though there is fierce disagreement about the extent of any Marxist revolutionary incursion into Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour there is less dispute – for both his supporters and opponents – that it is bad news. For most, it seems, Trotskyists are simply beyond the pale, distinguished by an unmistakeable whiff of sulphur. But why, exactly?