Eliane Glaser

15 February 2024

Necessity or Compulsion?

I have never owned a smartphone. The man in the shop couldn’t understand my refusal. ‘You get one free with your plan,’ he told me. I share the objections on questions of principle – the ubiquity of harmful content; the erosion of the social fabric – but more than that my response was visceral. I just didn’t want the thing in my hand. So I have a brick, and live in the 1990s.

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13 May 2022

I am not a robot

On trains, futile reminders to ‘keep your belongings with you at all times’ and totalitarianism-lite security announcements are repeated at a nonsensical, intolerable frequency. In supermarkets, the faux friendliness of self-checkouts compounds the irritation of forgetting once again that the bagging area is on the left. Being misinformed that ‘your call is important to us’ is increasingly superseded by the even more infuriating chatbots.

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8 October 2019

After the End of History

In the thirty years since Francis Fukuyama declared that history had ‘ended’ with the decisive victory of Western liberal democracy over all other ideologies, his thesis has been mocked as facile, triumphalist or just plain wrong; but it has never quite gone away. This year it could even be said to be having a moment.

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8 May 2019

Beyond the Duck Houses

From coffee spoons to dog food, many of the items claimed for were small enough for it to seem as if we were paying for MPs’ weekly shop. Mark Oaten was pilloried for claiming £5 for oven gloves. Other claims – for duck houses and moat cleaning, chandeliers and swimming pools – exposed a gulf between them and us.

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8 March 2019

Labour and Antisemitism

I’m an opinionated Jew with a PhD in the history of antisemitism, but I find it daunting to weigh in on the debate about antisemitism in the Labour Party. To describe the accusations as disproportionate is to risk being branded an antisemite. But while genuine instances of antisemitism should be tackled, there is no more of it in Labour than in other parties. The sustained offensive by the Labour right and by Conservatives is not only unfairly damaging the party and the left in general, it also unthinkingly reinforces antisemitic motifs.

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