Below you can find a selection of articles and appearances. For a fuller list of written pieces see my profiles at The New Statesman and The Guardian.

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What the end of Sweden’s political “togetherness” reveals about our post-democratic age

Like the Northern Lights, the rise of Sweden’s far-right may appear late and fleeting": that could make it the biggest warning sign yet… 


Intelligent Life Magazine (1843)

IN 1970 THE great novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was putting the finishing touches to what he called “the chief artistic design of my life”. Its title, “August 1914”, was intended to convey to readers everything they needed to know about the content, even if they had never heard of the Battle of Tannenberg, the actual focus of the narrative, or read “The Guns of August”, the Pulitzer prize-winning account of the start of the first world war. This was the book with which Solzhenitsyn hoped finally to outdo his literary nemesis, Tolstoy, by blending history and fiction in a manner so “urgent…so hectic and choppy,” wrote his translator, Michael Glenny, that, “at times it almost leaves you breathless”. Alas, breathlessness can be tiresome over 6,000 pages …

Castro-Guevara: Faux Semblables (TV5 Documentary)

Un film de Anne-Charlotte Gourraud. Quel plus beau couple de révolutionnaires que celui formé par Fidel Castro et Ernesto "Che" Guevara ? 
Pendant 12 ans, jusqu’à la mort du Che, les deux amis, vont traverser des événements majeurs du XXème siècle. Mais, contrairement à la légende, leur relation n’a pas été sans accrocs. Che Guevara, le penseur radical, a-t-il filé vers une mort certaine en Bolivie ? Ou bien Fidel Castro, l’animal politique, a-t-il progressivement lâché son frère de guérilla, devenu trop dangereux, pour se maintenir au pouvoir ? De la naissance d’une amitié révolutionnaire au Mexique, à la fabrication d’une icône à la Havane, ce duel est une passionnante partie d’échecs, où les mensonges et les manipulations ont transformé les règles du jeu.

5-Part Series on the history of development (The Guardian)

At the end of the second world war, the western allies shared an understandable desire to cement lasting international peace after a conflict that had cost so many lives. One of the most effective ways of achieving this, it was believed, was to ensure the economic growth of all countries. The ideas of US economic historian Walt W Rostow, particularly those in his 1960 book, The Stages of Economic Growth, represented one of the most influential attempts to systematise these thoughts.

Beyond Madness (London Review of Books)

The judges presiding over the trial of Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo are due to give their verdict tomorrow. It is likely, though by no means certain, that Breivik will be judged to have been criminally insane when he murdered 77 people last year, and sentenced to compulsory psychiatric treatment. The only other possible outcome is that he be judged criminally responsible for his acts and condemned to life imprisonment. The difference between the two verdicts is in all practical senses minimal: in neither case is he likely ever to walk free again. But in symbolic terms the difference is huge. It represents, in effect, a judgment as to whether Breivik’s actions have political meaning or not.

Still Small Voice of Calm (New Statesman)

Throughout the cold and wet weekend that followed Anders Behring Breivik's murderous rampage, Norwegians gathered at the site of the bombing in Oslo and in the mainland town nearest to Utøya to pay their own tributes to the victims. On the beaches and on the streets, candles flickered in jars. In Oslo's grand old domkirke, the cathedral, their flames mixed with the light streaming through the windows, which were damaged in the blast. On Monday, however, the perfume of sweet-smelling wax inside the domkirke was replaced with the scent of freshly cut roses. The previous day's mourning had given way to a national procession, with 150,000 marching not just for "democracy, unity and tolerance" but "to hold one another near".

India vs. Novartis (New Internationalist)

For six years Swiss drug company Novartis has been trying to get Indians to pay market price for one of its patented drugs, Glivec – a life-saving anti-cancer medicine. Like other Big Pharma, Novartis believes that middle-income countries such as India and Brazil are no longer dirt poor and should now be paying their way for medicines. It argues that India should button up and follow the 40 other countries that already recognize the patent on Glivec. This is rather like saying it thinks India should jump under a bus on the grounds that others have been coaxed into doing so. And it sidesteps what is really at stake in today’s case. Because India may well be a lucrative market and Glivec a blockbuster drug – with a price tag of around 10 times the generic equivalent. But the tenacity with which Novartis has clawed its way through the Indian legal system to bring its case before the Supreme Court belies a far more significant pay off.

To Brush Aside Torture is to Condone It (The Independent)

Despite repeated attempts to sidestep the issue, the British government is facing a number of very serious accusations about possible complicity in torture. The case of Jamil Rahman, whose lawyers announced last week they are to file a damages claim against the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith – alleging her complicity in his arrest and breaches of human rights legislation during his detention – has joined former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed's legal struggle in the High Court to obtain evidence from the government pertaining to its knowledge of his imprisonment and torture in Pakistan and Morocco between 2002 and 2004. It is not hard to imagine why the Government might be unwilling to let these cases see the light of day. 


The Dark Heart of Scandinavia (Delayed Gratification)

‘On the dark Norway Pine / On that dark heart of mine / Fell their soft splendour’ (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Skeleton in Armour). They were images that shocked the world and would haunt Scandinavia: footage shot from a helicopter above Utøya showed an island strewn with bodies and one man calmly strolling amongst them. The 69 bodies were those of students and volunteers at a Labour Party Youth (AUF) Camp. The man was Anders Behring Breivik and he had just committed a massacre.

What Can We Learn from Scandinavia about Equality? (The New Statesman)

Anyone who has read The Spirit Level - Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett's statistical bestseller explaining why greater equality results in happier, safer and generally nicer societies - will know that many of the charts the authors produce plot income inequality from low to high along the x-axis, and some other health or social variable, such as teenage births or educational performance, along the y-axis. And they will know that, on such charts, the Scandinavian countries almost always keep themselves out of trouble in the bottom left-hand corner of the graph. They have relatively low levels of inequality, and accordingly they are less afflicted by the problems to which Wilkinson and Pickett draw attention.

Arven Etter Thatcher (Dagbladet)

Margaret Thatcher er utvilsomt den britiske politiker i nyere tid som har forårsaket størst splittelse. Blant sine tilhengere (og egne øyne") var hun ‘jernladyen’, en standhaftig leder som nektet å endre kurs. Blant sine motstandere var hun snarere ‘det helsikes kvinnfolket eller som popgruppa Madness formulerte det, ‘det blåhuda beistet. For ikke å snakke om de noe kraftigere skjellsordene som må ha blitt henne til del i Liverpools arbeiderforeninger eller på havna i Newcastle. Likevel vant Thatcher tre parlamentsvalg på rad, hver gang med økt velgeroppslutning.