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on 17 February 2010
The Broken Compass is a disquieting book which I am not surprised to see ignored by the liberal left establishment which now encompasses most of the print and broadcast media, the legal system and the three main British political parties. Yes, there is such a thing as conspiracy-as experienced journalist and former Marxist Hitchens writes, given that a conspiracy is basically 2 or more people working quietly behind the scenes to achieve something they'd prefer not to openly tell the rest of us about, the astonishing thing would be if there were no conspiracies. This conspiracy is so big, and grew so gradually and with such sleight of hand, we don't ordinarily notice it.

He writes about the many deals done quietly between journalists and politicians over lunches, the deals which decide which stories are reported, which stories are killed, who rises, who falls. He has seen it at first hand.

He explains why the 'Conservative' party unexpectedly (and as I thought at the time, insanely) elected the wealthy, smooth-tongued Liberal David Cameron as leader over the much more popular centre-right David Davies. I remember where I was when I heard about this stunning decision. So does Peter Hitchens-he was at the conference where it happened. He explains why he believes that it was a done deal, with the BBC Guardianista opinion-formers, the people who decide which news is fit to feed us and how we shall interpret it, and their fellow travellers realising that the post-60s permissive revolution would be safe in the hands of David Cameron (Blair mark 2). You'll have to read the book for the details.

He writes a lot about the lies, selfishness and hypocrisy of socialists who have pulled the ladder up after themselves, especially as regards grammar schools. As a bright kid from a poor family who benefited from the chance to go to a grammar school 40 years ago, I related to this. He explains why our state education has been degraded for political ideological reasons, schools used for social engineering rather than education, to the harm of poor bright kids and others, with the ruling elite-as ever-seeing themselves and their children all right by the usual back channels.

A revelation which supports much else in the book concerned the singing of 'The Internationale' by assembled new Labour dignitaries at Donald Dewar's-a senior Labour figure- funeral. The Internationale is an explicit, hard line Marxist revolutionary anthem, and apparently they all knew the words and sang it heartily. He provides detailed evidence to support his assertion that Labour is a Marxist wolf in Social Democrat's sheep's clothing and is now effectively farther to the left than at any time in its history, determined to make its social and economic revolution irreversible by completing the de-Christianisation of Britain and creating a client state where almost everybody is employed directly or indirectly by the government and our thought is controlled by Politically Correct (more accurately called Received Left) machinery which has increasingly taken over our lives and made us less free to speak our minds than we were during the Hitler war.

The reason why he sometimes rants and raves is that he can see this-he used to be a revolutionary Marxist, which is why he knows so much- and wonders why the rest of us mugs don't see it. But the book contains too many hard facts and carefuly reasoned arguments to be fairly dismissed as a rant.

Anyone who reads Hitchen's blog knows that he hopes the present 'Conservative' ('Blue Labour') party will lose the election and then self destruct, opening the way for the possibility of a new centre right (he hasn't used this term but I think he means Christian Democrat) political party representing the values which today's Tories have abandoned. This book provides the facts and reasoning which support this view.

I fear that it is too late, too many of us are too befuddled and dependent, but-for the present-at least we can inform ourselves and scream.
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on 29 August 2014
This book is one of the most eye opening books I have read. Peter Hitchens writes with superb clarity, intelligence and wisdom, arguing how the mainstream political parties have grown farther away from there core voters beliefs and affiliations to such an extent that they represent them in name only. He delves into the collaborations with the media and politicians, the erosion of education in the fall of meritocracy, and even gives an autobiographical entry of his time as a foreign correspondent in the last days of the soviet union and his time spent working as a socialist industrial journalist, plus how he gradually changed his mind to the views he held back in the 60s/70s to what he holds today.
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on 2 June 2009
Peter Hitchens has an unrivalled talent for reading the politial and social crosswinds that have led us to, and will eventually send us over the edge of, the abyss.

Given that in Broken Compass, he spares no criticism of lazy, pliant journalists, don't expect to see many glowing reviews of this book in the press, but do take the effort to read it. It gives plenty of food for thought for the free-thinker.
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on 30 October 2009
A very stimulating book...what is refreshing is how the author shows that much of the left's ideas of the 1960s and 1970s started off in the right way (eg on racialism,sexism etc) but ended up in the monstrous PC dogma of the modern era.What is more....most of the right seem to have adopted them too! The chapter on the railways is also very illuminating...something for modern Tories to think about.
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on 13 April 2013
I think this is a book everyone in Great Britain should read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it almost in one sitting. Peter Hitchens is not afraid to swim against the tide and I admire him greatly for speaking out about issues that really matter and give opinions which are not popular but which really need to be said.
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on 23 April 2014
Another moving indictment of modern politics and the degeneration and social decay of modern Britain. I wish Hitch would get positively, practically involved.
God bless thee,
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
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on 23 November 2010
Got the book yesterday and devoured it in a day. The print is rather large and the message brief and oft' repeated. (There's a gnat's hair between Labour and Conservatives, that's the message). Lots of examples to ram home the point, but it's still the same point.
Lists of journos and politicos who commit the cardinal sin of saying one thing when they mean another, (big surprise). Examples galore.
It's not a patch on Peter Oborne's 'The Triumph of the Political Class.' or his 'The Rise of Political Lying.' Martin Bell's 'The Truth That Sticks.' or Hitchens' own 'The Abolition of Liberty.' Kampfner's 'Blair's Wars.'
In short, good but not great. The others I've mentioned above, along with several more I've read would merit four or five stars.
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on 5 August 2013
Refreshing to read a book that is both honest and balanced.
Peter is often criticised for his view of life or are people afraid of the truth?
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on 15 April 2012
While not the most broad ranging of political analyses, The Broad Compass is written with a superb poetic prose which demonstrates Mr Hitchens's superb master of oratory, and astute political analysis.
The Broken Compass essentially contends that both major parties in Britain have lost their way, and the current trajectory of British politics and social dynamics is headed in a self defeating path.
While a watershed moment in this is difficult to discern, Hitchens mainly contends that the End of the Cold War, the creation of New Labour, and the general movement of the Conservatives to the center, in effect, as Hitchens puts it, Cameron becoming the heir of Blair, are the defining moments of the loss of meaning for British politics.
A former member of the left, Hitchens recalls his growing disillusionment with the movement of which he was once a member. This ranges from factors such as the stupidity of the trade union movement and the pointless and crippling strikes that were driving the country to its knees, and the large presence of Marxists and Trotskyists within the Labour movement, who were slavishly apologetic toward the Soviet system. A key moment Hitchens identifies is the general reluctance amongst the majority of the Union movement to support the Solidarity campaign in Poland, a gross betrayal of principle.
The book contains some decent analyses of the comprehensive education system, the politically inflicted wounds on Britain's beleaguered public transport system, and the Left's uneasy embrace of the war on terror, and the journalistic editing and deception necessary to support this conversion.
Hitchens also includes, at some length, some of his more socially conservative viewpoints, such as issues of relationships and the status of women in society, and while I do not necessarily share his opinions on such matters, they are nonetheless eloquently argued.
The general theme is that the legacies of most successive governments are seemingly irreversible, and each successive party has molded itself to such legacies, making genuine change, and in turn choice, difficult to realize.
While the town of the book is rather pessimistic, portraying a rather hopeless trajectory for the course of the nation (a hopelessness that this reviewer does not share), there is nonetheless no detracting from the eloquence and deep sighted analysis Hitchens lends to his work, and as such one is bequeathed with a thought provoking, and highly stimulating read. An essential book for even the mildest enthusiast of British politics.
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on 21 April 2015
Read and weep for Britain
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