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Donkin's World: Radical Thoughts

Richard Donkin says that radicalism is now driven by religion rather than politics.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Some of the arguments trotted out at the Battle of Ideas event in London were a little bit too complex for me. http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/

There were shades of the old left in a debate called "Radicalism then and now: the legacy of 1968." But that was a good thing. There isn't much "left and right" posturing in British politics anymore. Instead we all flounder around the gooey middle.

The idea was to hark back with nostalgia to the revolutionary fervour of the late 1960s. It didn't matter, I suppose, that not all the panel were there at the time. At least Tony Elliott, founder and chairman of the Time Out Group (founded in 1968) http://www.timeout.com/ was there and just to prove it he was wearing a flowery shirt.

I was there at that time, but only in short pants. I was making Airfix http://www.airfix.com/ models at the time. My radicalism was informed by reading the Beano http://www.airfix.com/ and watching the Likely Lads on TV. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Likely_Lads

But what was so radical about carrying a copy of the Little Red Book and wearing a Che Guevara tee shirt? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che_guavara The problem with British student protests in the late 1960s is that the issues were elsewhere. Our boys were not in Vietnam.

The stakes were far higher for those who enjoyed a brief taste of political freedom in the Prague Spring. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_Spring The Czechs really did have a cause.

Cushy radicalism

A lot of the British protest was what I would call "cushy radicalism" made possible by student grants, easy living and the knowledge that our policemen carried truncheons, not guns.

No, as Elliott argued, the late 60s in Britain were more about a revolution in fashions, ideas and attitudes. The swinging sixties were all about Mary Quant, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Quant the miniskirt, pop art and sexual freedom. Yes there were demonstrations led by Tariq Ali but if you wanted a real sense of radicalism you would have to have lived in Northern Ireland.

Thatcher, a true radical

I don't see much radicalism in British politics today either, nothing to match that of Margaret Thatcher. Now she was a true radical.

The real radicalism today exists outside politics in religion: in radical Islam, radical Christianity and radical Judaism. If radicalism is your bent today, forget politics and find God.


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