‘There are words nobody likes to be associated with in public, such as racism and imperialism. On the other hand, there are others for which everyone is anxious to demonstrate enthusiasm, such as mothers and the environment. Democracy is one of these.’ So writes Eric Hobsbawm, who has spent much of his long and distinguished life circumscribed by the title ‘Marxist historian’.
It seemed a bit cocky back in 1989 when Francis Fukuyama postulated that Communism’s collapse meant that, ideologically speaking, the world had ‘reached the end of history’. And it would be surprising if Professor Hobsbawm had now, upon his ninetieth birthday, suddenly concluded that liberal democrats had indeed won the