Writing By Candlelight. E.P. Thomson

canfleightThe essays in this book were, with one exception, written between 1979 and 1980. They concern such matters as the miners’ strike of 1972; Sir Harold Wilson’s apologetics and the referendum about “going into Europe”; the ABC Official Secrets Trial of 1978 and the current attack on the jury system. The last two essays restate the case for policies of active neutrality. The essays vary in style and give scope for the author’s talent for satire and polemic as well as for measured political analysis. All are concerned with the means employed today to manufacture what is then offered as a consensus of “public opinion”. They are also concerned with the increasingly authoritarian measures and ideology of the British state. As Thompson writes: “For two decades the state, whether under Conservative or Labour administrations, has been taking liberties, and these liberties were ours”.

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