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Writer, editor and internet arguer.

Mosley needed a personal army to silence his detractors. Imagine how convenient he’d have found a block button and an unassailable stage.

Almost 87 years ago, Sir Oswald Mosley, then the leader of the British Union of Fascists, took the stage at the London Olympia. The Guardian called it “Mosley’s circus at Olympia” and wrote:


The Jehovah’s Witnesses promised Armageddon for decades. That “The Storm” failed to arrive won’t stop QAnon’s most committed.

Predicting that ‘the end is nigh’ has been a favoured trick of zealots and cult leaders throughout history. A good example is the sterling work of The Watchtower, the Jehovah’s Witness magazine, which has been predicting the coming of the four horsemen on and off since the 1870s, when the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was formed.

Charles Taze Russell, the society’s co-founder, thought of himself as a “mouthpiece” of God and it turned out that God liked to predict impending doom without actually, you know, going through with it. …


Don’t you love brands pretending to have ‘values’ beyond ‘sell more stuff’?

Unilever disavows the behaviour of this particular ‘Anarchy’ AXE bodyspray.

When a can of AXE body spray (it’s known as Lynx in the UK and other countries) was found in the debris left after the Capitol invasion, the brand managers at Unilever couldn’t stand idle. What if people decided that the fabled ‘Lynx Effect’ was actually a white supremacist radicalisation tactic? Thank god that my teenage years spent in changing rooms with atmospheres of approximately 60% Lynx Africa rendered me immune to this devious ruse.

Years ago, I briefly had a freelance job ghostwriting responses for a senior phone company executive during a Twitter Q+A. I sat in a…


On any given day, many of the most popular articles on Medium will be articles about how to make money on Medium. The entire system is a grift.

Long before Charlie Brooker became The ‘Black Mirror’ Guy, he was The ‘TV Go Home’ Guy, the writer/creator of a pseudo-anonymous satirical TV listings site. It was the origin of a phrase I often recall when I’m most scrabbling at making a living as a freelance journalist and writer — “wanking for coins”.

In a piece for The Guardian, while he was still writing the Screen Burn column for that paper, Brooker explained the origin of the phrase:


The secret of writing is… writing. It’s sitting down day after day and lining up words in surprising ways. Do it enough and you’ll get better at it.

There are things that you can do to make it easier on yourself (and others) and bad habits that you can gain that make it harder:

Drinking helps some people, sometimes — it can unlock things when everything feels stuck — but only in moderation.

Drugs make you think you’re writing better but it would probably come out better and more quickly if you weren’t out of your gourd.

Writing for a…


People who want to quietly get on with making money, going to brunch, and ignoring the bloody business of sustaining the system might tell you that the Biden years will be less ‘political’. That’s bullshit.

I think there are two major categories of public behaviours — those that have explicitly political content and those that have implicitly political content. People who airily dismiss their actions or even their entire selves as ‘apolitical’ are making a political choice, they simply do not want to own that political choice honestly. Instead, they prefer to abrogate that responsibility and leave the big questions of right, wrong, and policy to others.

The Trump-era was uncomfortable for the abrogators because they could not lean on their beloved ‘norms’, the unwritten but seemingly ironclad rules, that ensured that all the bloody…


As the conclusion of the 2020 US Presidential election drags on, the usual suspects pressed publish on the columns they had ready regardless of whoever won.

It’s Choose-Your-Own-Shitty-Adventure for right-wing columnists:

or

The amassed columnists of the right have basically one column in 2020 and it’s about how the young are too woke, identity politics is everything, and the culture war is apparently being won by the Left, despite the left-wing in both the UK and the US having absolutely no access to the levers of political power. …


Trump should not say he’s won, judges should not fix the election for him, police should protect people and not murder them…

As the 2020 US Presidential election stumbles onwards, resolutely refusing to provide a clear winner, you’ll hear a lot from pundits, pollsters, and other assorted pillocks telling you what should happen. The problem is that in the past 10 years, we’ve increasingly seen things that should happen fail to arrive.

Hilary Clinton should’ve won in 2016 according to almost every pollster. Remain should’ve won the Brexit referendum in the same way. Brexit should’ve been stopped somehow by parliamentary shenanigans and Boris Johnson should not have been able to screw around with Britain’s unwritten constitution in various previously unthinkable ways.

Donald…


A new interview with the venture capital firm’s ‘Editor-in-Chief’ soft soaps the reality of a media operation run by one of the world’s most powerful Venture Capital (VC) firms.

Andreessen Horowitz (aka A16z) is a hugely influential VC outfit. Its funds have backed Facebook, Airbnb, Twitter, Stripe, Roblox and Medium, the very platform where I’m writing this criticism of the company. There are not many Silicon Valley success stories that are not touched by A16z’s influence, either directly or indirectly.

While it is already influential and powerful, A16z understands that it must maintain that power and influence. That’s why — 6 years ago — the company plucked Sonal Chokshi, then a senior editor at Wired running the magazine’s op-ed section, to become editor-in-chief of the VC firm’s own in-house…


Pick a side or you risk falling between the gaps.

The House of Commons is divided in two — the government on one side and the opposition parties on the other. Votes are called by the ringing of the Division Bell. Labour is (meant to be) Red, while the Tories are blue. If there is no division, there is no difference and without difference, you are left with the illusion of choice.

I think that is where we are right now, with Sir Keir Starmer pushing the Labour Party back to the managerialism of the Blair years and Boris Johnson acting as Chairman of the Board over a corporatist…

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