Bob Light

Trumbo

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If you trace the so-called principles of the Labour MPs who voted to bomb Iraq — and who will no doubt soon vote to renew Trident — their slug-trail invariably leads to Washington. Right-wing Labour MPs are brand ambassadors for US imperialism. They simply take it for granted that in any situation America will be the good guys. The Labour right really does believe that America is the “land of the free”.

This month a new movie and newly published book help to remind us just what total piffle this view of America is.

Pasolini

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Here is a film made by Abel Ferrara, the enfant terrible of New York cinema (the auteur behind Driller Killer and Bad Lieutenant), about Pier-Paolo Pasolini, the enfant terrible of 60s and 70s Italian cinema (whose genitalia-fest Salo is still banned throughout most of the world). When enfants get it together like this the results are usually both infantile and terrible. Yet against all expectations this is a rich and masterly movie.

The Hook: a real contender

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This is in so many ways a remarkable and important play. It is after all a world premiere of a major play, staged to mark the centenary of Arthur Miller, one of the great playwrights of the last century. It is also Miller’s most directly political script from his early career.

Miller and Elia Kazan (two of the tyros of left wing American theatre) became interested in the matted politics of New York dockland in the late 1940s.

Up the Auntie?

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While we do not know yet who will win the May election, it is already clear that among the biggest losers will surely be the BBC. Whatever government we have, it is certain that the BBC will be mangled and probably dismembered. When a disease-carrying rat like Jeremy Clarkson abandons the Good Ship BBC (and please do not tell me that the “fracas” was anything but a stage-managed exit strategy), it is clear that we are in a Titanic and iceberg moment.

The Ruling Class

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One of the shittier aspects of the world we live in is that our rulers want us to like them. It is no longer enough that this is their world (while we just live in it). Now they want to be liked, even loved. Films such as The King’s Speech and TV shows like Made in Chelsea and Downtown Abcess are all part of a Smarm Offensive by the 1 percent. When the global ruling class gathered for their annual Rich Boys Beano at Davos they hired in children’s entertainer Emma Watson and in-the-news-again Prince Andrew solely to generate the Toff Love vibes.

Too poor to die

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Buried in the woods. A pauper's grave.

It is common knowledge that the cost of living is going through the roof, but it is only when you are faced with the death of someone close that you bump into another of the scandals of Tory austerity Britain — the cost of dying.

The average cost of a funeral in 2014 was a staggering £7,600. That represents an 80 percent rise over the past decade, and it went up yet again on 1 January. Some of this is the usual profiteering by undertakers — who have a standard mark-up of 200 percent on all coffins — but a large slice of the expense of dying is government and council taxes.

He's a right royal knockout

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10 September. Write that date in your diary NOW. If you can afford it, book a holiday; if you can't, stock up with sick-bags. You will need them because on that day the Invictus Games will begin. You have been warned.

If you believe the hype, these "Games" were the brainchild of Prince Harry, but in reality they are a copy of the "Warrior Games" held in Colorado last year. Men - there are no female "heroes" apparently - who have been mutilated in the NeoCons' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have a run around and a kick about.

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