In a world in which what's happening is analyzed and dissected, chewed up and spat out, before it even happens, there is, in fact, a surprising amount of surprise.
Consider recent days. With the U.S. poised to strike Syria for its government's alleged and apparent use of chemical weapons, suddenly we learn that the British House of Commons has denied the British government authorization to join the U.S. in the strike, a virtually unheard of event. No one, at least on this side of the pond, seems to have told the Obama administration that a possibility was actually a probability.
Both as a movie buff and a veteran leftie, I've been waiting to see The Iron Lady so I could write about it. I even re-read Thatcher's memoirs The Downing Street Years to refresh my memory.
Having now seen the movie, I have to admit that I'm perplexed as to what to say and advise, other than that you should definitely see it and make up your own mind.
Like 99.9 per cent of the critics, it must be said loud and clear that Meryl Streep's performance as Thatcher is magnificent, so much so as to justify seeing the movie for that alone. Above all, Streep is utterly compelling as an old and demented Thatcher, carrying on conversations with her dead husband Denis who is, for her, still present.
There have been times in the past when there was a call for the NDP to move left: from the Waffle 40 plus years ago, to the New Politics Initiative in the more recent past. The times today, however, are different, perhaps radically so. Let us look forward rather than backward, uncertain as the exercise inherently is.
On the one hand, while unemployment and inequality are hardly new, these are truly tough times for far too many people. To paraphrase the great economist John Maynard Keynes, capitalism, never a thing of beauty, is no longer delivering the goods to most people.
Plus, compared even to 10 years ago, there is fresh evidence almost daily of the frightening consequences of climate change.
The 60s were already in trouble, Richard Nixon having been elected president of the United States and leader of the free world in 1968. Here at home, by 1972 the NDP establishment, an alliance of party and trade union brass, was unwilling to tolerate the Waffle talk inside and outside the party.