Places and Parity: Processing Horrors

The leafy squares of Bloomsbury are a world away from the vibrant, bustling public squares of the Levant.  The farmer’s market that springs up every Thursday in Torrington Square is little like the markets of Damascus (even in happier, more peaceful days), though we can recognise common patterns.     The squares are suffused with layers of history, and though their physical landscapes cannot intersect, … Continue reading Places and Parity: Processing Horrors

Waves, Floods, and Tears: Welcoming Refugees in Context

Sometimes, familiarity has a way of masking small differences. Everyday trivia has a way of distracting us from the complexity and immediacy of events that happen at a level of abstraction just beyond our own experience. Julian Jackson has said as much in lectures on Occupied France: one’s history can be dominated by tooth-ache or a lost cat, even as the world falls to pieces … Continue reading Waves, Floods, and Tears: Welcoming Refugees in Context

Choosing a Leader: Thinking in Ink

I’ve been thinking a lot about political messages recently, about hope, about change, and about all that comes between them. As the ballot for the Labour leadership draws ever closer, it’s challenging to really pin down who I support. I’m a long-standing Labour member, and not a recent sign-up or affiliate, though I’ll admit I’ve not been much of an activist lately. I voted for … Continue reading Choosing a Leader: Thinking in Ink

Myths, Battle & Rail: Two Stories About Waterloo Station

UPDATE: Here’s a video of me talking to The Independent about Waterloo and its contemporary importance On the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, it makes sense to think about myths, about legends and about national identity. To be honest, you’ll struggle to avoid these things. There are 2 key myths surrounding Waterloo station that relate to the battle, both of which it seems are pretty much false. … Continue reading Myths, Battle & Rail: Two Stories About Waterloo Station

Echo Chambers and Exit Polls

I’m still stumped, I suppose. It’s tough for me to get my head round what happened, and so I’m writing this partly as a way of digesting the events of Thursday night and Friday morning. Polling stayed locked in a dance of minute intricacy, a slow suite building towards crescendo. Steady numbers, fluctuating almost imperceptibly, seemed to establish a digestible narrative that convinced us all … Continue reading Echo Chambers and Exit Polls