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REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

January 13, 2021

In this third podcast in the series Reason on Reason, I investigate the rise of questioning during the Enlightenment and the accompanying scepticism towards ecclesiastical, theological and political authority. The main part of the podcast is analysis and comment on Kant's newspaper article of 1784, What is Enlightenment? This article exposes a tension between the promise of the new questioning for knowledge and it application and the possible impacts this movement could have on social cohesion. Other dramatis personae include Voltaire, Hume, per-cursor, Locke, and Blake for the ensuing Romantic back-lash. [Free. 32 minutes.]

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

January 1, 2021

On New Year's Day 2021, we pause to look both backwards and forwards. We identify and discuss four themes: the defeat of Trump and what that means for the global right Internationale, the fragmentation of the left and signs in movements around the world of its incipient re-emergence, the intensifying struggle to control information and particularly the internet, the impact of certain technological developments such as AI and CRISPR. We indicate how these developments are interlocked and how that points towards what is to be done. [Free.  47 minutes.]

LABOUR’S CIVIL WAR, BREXIT, FRAGMENTATION - INTERESTING TIMES 17

LABOUR’S CIVIL WAR, BREXIT, FRAGMENTATION - INTERESTING TIMES 17

December 7, 2020

This episode of the current affairs series offers comment on the suspension of Jewish socialists and critical left voices in Constituency Parties from the Labour Party on very dubious grounds. I conclude that this isn't about anti-semitism or racism in general but a purge of the left from the party. The suspicion is compounded by the soliciting of funding from billionaires by party leadership. I go on to relate this fragmentation to the fragmentary forces expressing themselves through Brexit as the clock ticks down. On the hopeful side, I mention the world's biggest strike of farmers and workers in India which involved 250 million people! [Free. 36 minutes.]

 

POST TRUTH THIS WEEK - INTERESTING TIMES 16

POST TRUTH THIS WEEK - INTERESTING TIMES 16

November 19, 2020

In this edition of our Interesting Times series, I consider three different manifestations of the widespread disregard for truth which is now a feature of our public discourse. These are Trump's refusal to concede the US Presidential election, the suspension, re-instatement and fresh suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the UK Labour Party, and the increase in defence spending announced by UK PM Boris Johnson. [Free. 41 minutes.]

EHRC REPORT & CORBYN SUSPENSION - INTERESTING TIMES 13

EHRC REPORT & CORBYN SUSPENSION - INTERESTING TIMES 13

October 31, 2020

This episode of Interesting Times gives a close reading of the main features of The EHRC Report Investigation into Antisemitism in the Labour Party. I take issue with the epistemological lacunae in the report whilst concluding that should the Labour Party implement its legal requirements and recommendation, it will have unimpeachable complaints processes in place for dealing with complaints of antisemitism which may throw an unflattering light on the other UK parties. I note that the contents of the report are being grossly distorted in the MSM. I move on to discuss the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party. [Free. 1 hour 5 minutes.]

REVOLVING DOORS & COSY CABALS - INTERESTING TIMES 12

REVOLVING DOORS & COSY CABALS - INTERESTING TIMES 12

October 23, 2020

In this podcast, I examine some current examples of the entanglement of state, media and corporate power in the UK. I focus on questions asked in parliament of The Secretary of State for Health by Richard Burgon MP about the role of outsourcing corporation Serco in the COVID 19 pandemic [asked on 16/10/20]. I particularly light upon the Minister of Health's former role as 'Serco's chief spin doctor' which looks like a classic case of the revolving door.  I also draw attention to other examples of this phenomenon as well as drawing out the wide connections of  The Prime Minister's new press secretary which suggest that a rather cosy cabal sits at the heart of government. [Free. 28 minutes.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

October 6, 2020

In this podcast, I ask the question, "Are the US and UK fascist?" I attempt to address this question by checking if any of the features I identified in the first podcast of this series are observable in the current situations in the UK and the US. [I leave aside the matter of the economy for a future podcast.] I conclude that many of the elements of fascism are present and that some are venerable, others incipient and some are being actively cultivated. I suggest briefly what needs to be done about this dangerous situation. [Free. 1 hour 2 mins.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

October 2, 2020

In this first of a series on fascism, I identify eleven prominent features of the historical forms of fascism of Hitler's Germany  and Mussolini's Italy, describe them and show how they inter-relate.  I make the point that the features can give rise to varied surface appearances and that we shouldn't expect future manifestations of the 'syndrome' to look like Nazi Germany or fascist Italy. I propose to see, in future podcasts of this series, to see if we find any of the crucial feature incipient or actually present in the contemporary situation of the USA and the UK.  [Free. 54 minutes.]

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

COVIDIOCY: WHO BENEFITS? - INTERESTING TIMES 10

September 1, 2020

In this podcast, we analyse the covid-is-a-hoax movement which demonstrated recently in London, demanding the abandonment of all remedial measures against the global pandemic. We do so primarily by asking the question that we identified in a recent podcast [Grassroots and Astroturf] 'Who benefits from this movement?' The question proves revelatory of how this movement plays to the far right and upholds the status quo, whilst claiming the contrary. The involvement of far right parties in the loose coalition of new-agers, antivaxers, climate deniers, and adherents to fantastic conspiracy theories is not accidental. These elements are stitched together by irrationalism. [Free. 24 minutes.]

AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

AGAINST FLAG-SHAGGING - INTERESTING TIMES 9

August 28, 2020

In this podcast, we argue that patriotism is ideological, irrational, based on arbitrary boundaries, implicated in the weaponisation of history, employed by dead-cat culture wars, and rooted in a pathological narcissism. We suggest how those afflicted with it might return to health. [Free. 27 minutes.]

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