Everything new is old again

The historic defeat of Theresa May’s proposed Brexit withdrawal deal sounds decisive, but the only other thing that 432 Westminster MPs agree on is that everyone else has it wrong. From the hard Brexiteers gearing up to jump joyfully off the cliff, through the various shades of an undefined ‘softer’ Brexit, to the Remainers who refuse to agree among themselves, consensus is what the ‘others’ refuse to come to.

In the broad view of history, that is, 2018 is an ellipsis stretching from Theresa May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ (without defining either term) to Arlene Foster’s ‘Ulster says NO. Now, what’s the question?’

Of flayed flesh and marble slabs. Jorge Luis Borges and language

Carol Ayres explores ‘a peculiar poem even for Borges and finds his remoteness of language at odds with the imagery, which references butchers and prostitutes (and witches)—the working class, that is, which is usually associated with plain speech not abstruse or rarefied language. This contrast—between form and content, as well as between the quotidian reality of the butchers and prostitutes and the language used to describe it—introduces one of the primary tensions of the poem.