22 March 2003
MANY YEARS ago when the benefits of parliamentary democracy were shared by very few of the world's population, the Russian revolutionary Lenin pointed to a fundamental problem. He argued that "hidden beneath the polished exterior of modern democracy are deceit, violence, corruption, mendacity, hypocrisy and oppression of the poor". Tony Blair's New Labour has managed to illustrate each one of them in six short years. One measure of the outcome is the declining number of people who vote in elections.
22 June 2002
THE SIEGE, by Helen Dunmore, is a novel set in the winter-long blockade of Leningrad in Russia by Nazi forces during the Second World War. It has just come out in paperback. It follows the story of a young woman, Anna. Her mother died in childbirth. Now Anna works in a nursery, and cares for her five year old brother and ageing father.
08 June 2002
THE RICH and powerful always want to put us off the idea of revolution. They have consciously promoted the argument that in Russia the revolution led to terror and dictatorship, that Lenin led to Stalin. This idea has been encouraged for decades and by a wide range of people. Writers who supported the old Stalinist rulers of Russia continually promoted the argument that Lenin led to Stalin.