Book Review #3

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

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It may be because I am a natural contrarian (or a pedantic, middle-aged git) but I am always suspicious when everyone seems to agree on something. Hence my dislike for ‘national treasures’ like Bruce Forsyth (hint, so was Jimmy Savile) and the fawning sycophancy meted out to the deeply ordinary and talentless Winsor- Mountbatten clan – news exclusive in the Daily Mail and Daily Express, Kate Middleton wears clothes. Whilst I would have probably (and reluctantly) voted to remain in the European Union if I still lived in the UK, the fact that all the main political parties, the entire media Establishment and most of the ‘celebrities’ who represent public opinion in modern Britain were on the Remain side made me very sceptical. But my contrarianism (is this even a word?) pales into insignificance compared to the great iconoclastic historian Niall Ferguson. Continue reading “Book Review #3”

Joyless, Angry, Judgemental

Freedom of speech is not in anyone’s gift

I will admit to being a fairly cynical person. Anyone who reads this blog will know I’m pretty sure that those who rule us are determined to keep their privileged positions in our society by whatever means necessary. I studied History at undergraduate level and as a postgraduate and have taught the subject for a quarter of a century. I am unpersuaded by the Whig interpretation that sees History as progress towards democracy and liberalism. I like Marxist methodology and some Marxist economics but, again, I am not persuaded that History will culminate in some classless society. Still less am I convinced by the eschatological delusions of the various Abrahamic religions. However, compared to some of the cynicism I read online, I am a wild optimist of the Professor Pangloss variety. Continue reading “Joyless, Angry, Judgemental”