‘That bloody poster’: exploring Austerity Nostalgia

It’s now some seven years since the notorious ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ sign appeared. Owen Hatherley’s The Ministry of Nostalgia is a witty, exasperated and ferociously well-read exploration of the ‘Austerity Nostalgia’ phenomenon and its politicisation, with parties of both left and right drawing upon competing mythologies of wartime Britain to support their respective positions towards today’s austerity.

Onwards and upwards: the hubris of hope

What is hope? What would it mean to wish that 2016 will be any better than 2015? As we enter the New Year the latest book by the prolific Terry Eagleton, Hope Without Optimism, offers a brief but wide-ranging meditation on the meaning of a seemingly simple concept that escapes easy definition.

Politics, poetry, imagination: a life of Shelley

In an age ever more obsessed with the importance of crafting effective political ‘stories’ and ‘narratives’, Jacqueline Mulhallen’s Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poet and Revolutionary is a timely review of the life and work of a poet writing 200 years ago acutely aware of the vital role the imagination plays in extending the horizons of political possibility.

A Very British Coup, revisited

A Very British Coup, Chris Mullin’s 1982 thriller about a radical Labour leader brought down by a fearful establishment makes for fascinating re-reading in light of Jeremy Corbyn’s unexpected success in this year’s leadership campaign.