The Shock Doctrine of Brexit.

She’s not okay.

Theresa May is a politician on the edge. After two years of bungled negotiations, she has whipped out a deal that literally no one seems to like — not even her. She grimaces in defence of her own political legacy like a magician at a child’s birthday party, rummaging in their own top hat in the certain knowledge that the rabbit is already dead. None of this should surprise us. She’s spent her troubled premiership trying to fend off competing critics and appease vested interests with vague, contradictory promises impossible to actually deliver. The DUP…


A look at women’s work and witchcraft after fifty years of legal abortions.

Happy birthday, abortion.

The 1967 Abortion Act passed on October 27th — fifty years ago today. A truly transformative moment in the lives of many women, who could for the first time have sex unencumbered by the terror of having to choose between an illegal abortion and an unwanted child. But it’s hard to totally jubilate when the government is propped up by a frothing cabal of anti-abortion reactionaries known as the DUP, and the next favourite for leader has declared his total opposition to the practise…


“I look at the migrant crisis and like many I think… why are the people so complacent in the destruction of their identity? Why is noone standing up to this?[…] where are the lovers of western culture?” It is with these questions that alt-right journalist Lauren Southard introduces Europe’s new generation of rightwing identitarians; in coverage accompanied by gnarly splash-cut Go-Pro footage of hooded activists cat-leaping over rooftops, spray-painting pavements and alleyways with the name of their group: Defend Europe. It’s a catch-all organising banner for an alliance of far-right agitators from across Europe; the latest tumorous outgrowth of ‘Generation…


Flickr/ Michael Coghlan

A deft coil of metal winds its way between the unsteady legs of a deep-sea oil rig. It will perform routine inspections, even carry out basic maintenance. A regular craft could never do it — so designers took their lessons from the way eels and sea snakes navigate so effortlessly depths that would crush a human to a breathless pulp. Tasked with the enviable duty of designing the future, engineers may sometimes look for inspiration in the inscrutable horizons of science fiction. But when it comes to putting that utopianism into practise they look not ahead, but around them —…


Image via the BBC.

Doctor Who has never traded in the seriousness of ‘hard’ science fiction, often laden with po-faced predictions of humanity’s hand-spun fate at the mercy of the technologies and the politics it creates. It’s more a fairytale spacetime cabaret — an exploration of the gloriously impossible rather than merely the improbable, which celebrates a universe in which the world can be set to rights by kick-boxing space zombies into the next dimension with the Power of Love. But the show’s unremitting silliness the seriousness with which it’s treasured in the cryptic heart of the anglophone cultural imaginary. The wellspring of a…


Many accounts London’s first iconic inferno — the Great Fire of 1666 — marvel at the miraculous fact that so few died. Reports vary, but the settled number is six — only six — people perished as the flames ripped a path of desolation through the city. Most of them choked to death on the fumes. Some however, are casting doubt on that extraordinarily low toll. Though we know the names of only six people who died, the fire turned nearly a third of the city to a smouldering heap of ash and charred timber. According to some historians, it…


Fearmongerers let me tell you — London is fine.

I was stuck out last night, spilt from the guts of a festival where London was tens of thousands of young people, inexplicably both sunburnt and rain-drenched, cheerfully elbowing each other in the head to the tune of ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal’. London was people with glitter streaked across their cheekbones trying to mud-ski across the wasted fields on pairs of crushed Tyskie cans.

London was the packs of people crowded at the closed tube stop, clustered into corner shops for beer and strawberry laces. …


In Paris, in 1872, in the Hopital Pitié-Salpêtrière, a doctor named Jean-Martin Charcot peered at the bodies of women wracked with hysteria, and declared himself unable to find a ‘source’ for the nervous disease plaguing the female populations of the city. Where once the problem was thought to reside in a uterus that literally roved throughout the body, these doctors preffered to explain this peculiarly feminine distress as simply a morbid condition of the feminine body — which, unlike the masculine body, was forever locked in a precarious battle to stay healthy and sane. A colleague of his remarked that…


What do we talk about when we talk about fascism? At his inauguration speech, Donald Trump said: “We will bring back wealth. We will bring back dreams.” In two sentences, he pretty much sums up the double-promise that fascism makes to the citizens it deems acceptable. In my latest video for Novara Media, I take a closer look at the history of the idea - asking what it is, what looks like, and what it’s for.

Eleanor Penny

I tell stories. @eleanorkpenny / @byppoets / @novaramedia

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