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January 03, 2006

Rich is Beautiful, Decadence, Anti-Totalitarianism and Neoconservatism - more media coverage over Christmas

Posted by Michael Mosbacher

While the Social Affairs Unit's offices have been closed over Christmas our books have continued to receive press attention. A piece by Richard D. North - the author of Rich is Beautiful: A Very Personal Defence of Mass Affluence - on one of the themes of his book appeared in The Times on 29th December: Consumerism is virtuous. Richard D. North has also appeared on a number of radio and TV programmes over Christmas to discuss the themes of Rich is Beautiful.

On the other hand, Polly Toynbee in The Guardian (30th December 2005) took a dislike to a rather different Social Affairs Unit book, Decadence (ed. Digby Anderson): Let's celebrate the utter bloody goodness of the world today.

Sir Samuel Brittan also discussed the book Decadence - alongside a discussion of both the American journal New Criterion, whose London launch the Social Affairs Unit hosted and with whom the Social Affairs Unit has held a series of joint conferences, and of Douglas Murray's Neoconservatism: Why We Need It - in the Financial Times: We are not all that decadent. (The piece can also be read on Sir Samuel Brittan's own website).

Oliver Kamm's Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy did not escape the notice of Andrew Murray, chairman of Britain's major anti-Iraq war umbrella organisation the Stop The War Coalition and leading light in the Communist Party of Britain. A 3,500 word review by Andrew Murray of Oliver Kamm's book was serialised over 3 days (28th, 29th, 30th December) in the communist Morning Star, "Britain's only socialist daily". The review is now available online at What Next?, "a discussion journal aimed at those who are interested in the development of Marxism as a guide to action": Demolishing the 'Left-wing' Case for War.

Those with an undiminished interest in far-left esoterica can turn to the Daily Telegraph. Both Oliver Kamm's Anti-Totalitarianism and Douglas Murray's Neoconservatism were - unfavourably - reviewed in the Daily Telegraph (31st December 2005) by Neil Clark. (The review can also be read on Neil Clark's blog). Neil Clark describes himself - on his blog - thus:

I am strongly opposed to the neo-conservative war agenda - and believe in the urgent necessity of a left-right anti-war coalition.
On domestic politics Neil Clark says he supports:
renationalisation of the railways and public utilities, a new top rate of income tax on the very wealthy, free care for the elderly, a free National Health Service including the restoration of NHS dentistry, protection of the Green Belt and the countryside, and the restoration of capital punishment.
"Unreconstructed socialist" Neil Clark is perhaps best known for his outspoken defence of Slobodan Milosevic - "whose worst crime was to carry on being a socialist" - published in the New Statesman (9th February 2002): Milosevic, prisoner of conscience.

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