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‘The Directive’, The Edinburgh Review, 139 (2014), 111-121

Extract:

It being springtime, there was bunting on some of the streets as I walked to the office.

The newsstands had headlines which seemed, as always, to have a tone of excitement and fake dread about the probable war ahead. I have been reading some essays by Mr O—- recently (having seen in a leftist magazine that the Mr Madge has recommended Mr O—- as the writer for our times) and I have become properly sensitized to the loudhailer voice of the press.

There were an unusual number of ships entering the port today, and the tide favoured morning docking. It was a busy morning and I noticed little outside my work. Before lunch I had time to tally some of the figures for the last week’s shipping. In the past few months I have occasionally looked through the ledger books to see if some pattern presaging war can be discerned from the movements of merchant vessels. I feel strongly that the authorities know more than the public about what the future holds.

The remainder of the day was devoid of any political nuance.

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