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It’s not the greatest gift, but it’s a good discussion–my friend Ben Sixsmith joins me for a discussion of his first volume of short stories, Noughties: Eleven Echoes of a Dismal Decade. We talk about the strange times at the beginning of the 21st century when it seemed like there would be a cultural rebirth in England. This proved not only short-lived but a deception–a self-deception for the English.
The most obvious sign is Tony Blair, who won three consecutive elections. He seemed first to resurrect Labour after Thatcher; and then to make Labour the only acceptable political party for cool, modern, intelligent Britons looking forward to a bright, global future. Yet, Blair has ended up loathed almost universally, Labour has collapsed, Brexit has happened, Britain’s Middle Eastern war-making alongside America was a catastrophe, and it’s harder and harder to say what the future might be, much less who can lead and who is inclined to follow in which direction.