Monday, 15 August 2011

Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt

 Unfortunately it's been that long since I've been motivated enough (or not distracted sufficiently) to attempt to deal with the once again steadily increasing backlog of paper currently causing my wife to slowly begin hating the sight of my face, that I've nearly forgotten just what it was I wanted to tell people about the late Tony Judt and his "thought-provoking polemic" (thanks Chris Patten c/o The Observer). I'm sure it was considered and erudite whilst lacking succinctness, as is most of the dribble currently blotting my online copy book.

Of course, temporal distance is not the only problem. For what Judt does in his collection of related essays (or is it one long essay? Damn those extra tequilas of my misbegotten youth and their brain-cell damaging fun) is basically moan about what's wrong in the world, harping on about developing a new discourse that allows Americans to join in the debate surrounding representative forms of governance and their impacts on society instead of making them poop their red-necked undies at the mere mention of phrases beginning with "social" and the accompanying but unintended pinko-commie imagery. Having read The Spirit Level very soon after, Judt's rather forlorn hope that social democracy (or Social Democracy - I can never remember) can transform the youth of this and subsequent generations into motivated and politicized participants in the debate (instead of the insipid turds he regards as polluting the representative governments in this "age of the [political] pygmies") just seems a bit like a fart in a chocolate teapot in comparison. God bless the missus for her stoic insistence that she not be divorced with children! Otherwise I'd be on the streets for continually trying her patience by regurgitating facts and figures illustrating points only half-remembered and completely inadequately expressed drawn from the pages of this astounding work. If you are presented with a choice between the two (unlikely, as most threatened high street book chains refuse to waste valuable shelf space on interesting and potentially world-changing political debate despite the pressing need for such) then Wilkinson and Pickett (sounds like a country duo) should get the nod. Sorry Tony. Whereas Judt resolutely defends outdated leftist ideology, Wilkinson and Pickett get stuck into some serious solution-focused stuff, thanks to years of dedicated research on the topic. Visit the website of the Equality Trust for more stuff on things, and for all the evidence you need to put an end to a solid relationship via boredom. They're also on Twitter so they are.



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