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Book Review: Hope Without Optimism by Terry Eagleton

Yale, £18.999780300217124

Writing about the state of the Labour Party in the wake of Margaret Thatcher’s third general election victory in 1987, the historian Eric Hobsbawm asked: “Has it got the future in its bones?” What Labour needed, he thought, was not yet another restatement of “eternal” verities, but an account of its “aims and values now” and of how they might be realised in what he called, quaintly though not un-presciently, the “micro-chip economy.”

To borrow a distinction from Terry Eagleton’s new book, you might say that Hobsbawm…

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