Second Part

0:05:07 At the time I took over the editorship of Marxism Today there was a board that was largely sleeping and inert; it didn't even have people who were there to keep an eye on me; to be honest, I had no intention of doing much with it as I regarded it as a way in rather than the thing I wanted to do, but within the first couple of years the positions that I was associated with suffered a series of defeats; I had been elected to the Political Committee but was knocked off after two years as part of that process; I was left with no choice but to take the journal much more seriously; I realized very rapidly when I took the position that I had made a big mistake as the organization was unreformable, but it was only when I got on the inside that I saw this was the case; I'm not a quitter so decided to concentrate on Marxism Today, and the more I did so, the more I enjoyed it; I like acquiring new skills and realized over time that I was an extremely good editor; I really enjoy strategic thinking and began to see where to take  the journal; I learnt about the principles of publishing and design, the commercial aspects and advertising, all things I had never done before; it became absolutely fascinating; when I took it over it had a circulation of about 3000; I got it on sale in W.H. Smiths and it became a talking point, then the talking point for the Left; we broke the debates on Thatcherism where the term was first used in its pages; we were so innovative and good writers attract good writers; the two most important writers in Marxism Today in my view were Eric Hobsbawm and Stuart Hall - Eric mainly about the Left and the state of the Labour Party and Stuart Hall on Thatcherism; many others wrote some very important articles; we had to invent a new kind of writing; it was no use getting academics to write as academics as they don't know exactly what to write about or what the audience is, as they don't have a conception of audience; the other obvious writers are journalists but their problem is that they can't sustain an idea beyond 1000 words at the most; we had to find 3-6000 word articles which people learnt how to write whether they were academics, journalists, or something else; so we had to invent a new kind of writing which was a very interesting project; I started on my own with a secretary working three days a week who was in her mid-seventies, and another secretary who was eighty-one; we finished off with sales of 25,000 with ten full-time equivalents by the end; we organised huge events roughly every two years; the three major ideas were Thatcherism, the decline of the Left, and new times post-Fordism; I am very proud of what we achieved in that period, and it was for me one of the two most stimulating things I have ever done in my life, the other is writing the book on China; New Left Review had been started earlier and was much more esoteric and elitist; I thought that Marxism Today had to be conjunctural which the New Left Review was not; it had to address questions that were in peoples' minds now, had a significant and important audience, and never spoke simply to the Left but was of interest to anyone seriously interested in political debate; very early on we developed a real audience on the Radical Right; they used to read us because we were the best on Thatcherism; I got quite a few friends on the Right, and I liked to have Right-Wing people writing for Marxism Today once the magazine had established its reputation; it would have been impossible in the beginning, but the Communist Party had gone into decline while Marxism Today rose, so by the end there was Marxism Today and wasn't really a Communist Party; I remained a member of the Party but if I had not been Editor of Marxism Today I would have left much earlier; I finally left when I heard that they had accepted Soviet money until the mid-sixties; I took it very personally as I felt people had lied to me; that was after 1989; I closed Marxism Today at the end of 1991; I was exhausted by it and in the last four or so years I had become an in-demand columnist, so had other ways of making a living; for some time I was a columnist in the Sunday Times and the Times and did things for the BBC; by the end, I wanted to get out and I couldn't see how it was going to continue except in precipitous decline; one of the things about British culture that I hate is the way people won't bury something when it is time to do so; London is littered with these organizations; I thought we should close it and not spoil its achievements by limping on into oblivion, so I did so

12:04:19 I also co-started Demos, but I am not as proud of that as Marxism Today; we had thought we should try and set up a new magazine and also a think-tank because what Marxism Today was not good at was to explore what we should be doing - that is the job of a think-tank; we got involved in discussions with the Pearson Group and the Guardian, and eventually we went with the Guardian, but on condition that there should be a European partner; however, in the time scale that I gave them they never found anyone; I worked on the project for about a year and then abandoned it; the problem with Demos is that it wasn't so obviously of the Left as Marxism Today, and draws in people from a wider political viewpoint so that anyone who is really interested can get involved; I didn't want to do it myself as I was too tired after fourteen years with not much money, setting up setting something up  from scratch again; I got Geoff Mulgan who had collaborated on Marxism Today, a very bright man in his late twenties to take it on; but Demos went off in a direction I didn't really feel comfortable with; it became, in a way, and advance guard for Blair and that was not where I was; I knew Blair, and there was a short period when I was quite close to him, exploring things politically; Demos is still going but it is not something that I have any good feelings for - I feel queasy about it; after the event, I think Blair was a disaster; it was potentially a great moment for Labour in 1997 with a huge electoral victory; I thought wrongly at the time that John Smith couldn't have produced a Labour victory, but I think I was wrong; I think that people were so fed up with the Tories by then; Blair added to the icing on the cake when it came to the size of the majority; I had supported him for leader of the Labour Party because I felt that the main problem was to defeat the Conservatives and that he would give them a very hard time, but I wasn't sure what he would be like afterwards; I very rapidly felt that this talk of a project was empty; there was only one project in town and that was the Thatcherite project or neo-liberalism, and he bought that hook, line and sinker; his only project really was the defeat of the hard Left, but Neil Kinnock had really already done that; Blair didn't belong to the Labour Party, he was not of that culture; one of the things that attracted me about him originally was that he recognised that the culture was broken, indeed Marxism Today's argument, but he didn't belong to it at all; he was as close to a Conservative leader of the Labour Party as we have had since 1945; of course, Iraq, well......awful, it was a dreadful thing to do; I shall never take seriously something like the International Criminal Court while people like Bush and Blair go scot-free

19:33:14  I went on a trip to Japan in 1979 where I was giving my first public paper on Thatcherism; I had a tiny bit of time to look around and was very interested in what I saw; after giving up Marxism Today at the end of 1991, 1992 was Demos, then in 1993, going on holiday, I had never had any money or time before; I had a partner of long-standing (I had been married but that broke up in 1973) and I had no children; now with money and time, a friend who had just been to East Asia encouraged me to go to Hong Kong, Southern China, Singapore, ending on an island off Malaysia to enjoy the sun; it was a holiday that changed my life because no sooner had I arrived in Hong Kong I found myself intellectually fascinated by everything; I was bored writing about Britain and this was something completely new; right at the end, in Malaysia, I met my wife-to-be, Hari, with whom I fell in love at first sight - she was Indian-Malaysian - I had met my soul-mate, the person who for me was the meaning in my life; I was forty-seven and the greatest thing I have ever done is to have trusted my emotions at that point; my interest in her became bound up with my growing interest in East Asia; I met Hari on a Saturday, she left on Sunday, we went back to London on Tuesday and I couldn't get Hari out of my mind; I was starting a television programme for the BBC on the decline of politics and politicians and decided to interview Chris Patten who was then in Hong Kong; I found a way of going down to Malaysia for less than twenty-four hours and seeing her, and nothing seemed to happen; I phoned her later from Hong Kong to thank her for hosting me and to say goodbye - she said she was missing me, and then I knew that our feelings were mutual; I didn't see her again until Christmas in Hong Kong by which time my long-term relationship had broken down; the following September Hari came to live in London, before which I had gone to see her in Malaysia a couple of times; that personal story is part and parcel of what happened to me; I had finally met the person I had always wanted to meet; we had Ravi in August 1998 just before we went to live in Hong Kong

27:23:21 In 1993 I was making a television programme for the BBC and writing a column for the Sunday Times; then I got offered the job of Deputy Editor of the Independent when Whittam Smith was going; I accepted, with Ian Hargreaves, then Deputy Editor of the Financial Times, as Editor; this was about the time that Hari came to live in England; it was a horrible job, as it was like a senior management job and there was not much editing at all; worst of all the paper was in an atrocious mess, the shareholders were in conflict with each other, we had to make half the staff redundant within a year, so it was very unhappy; I resigned at the beginning of 1996 and did some free-lance writing; then Neil Ferguson suggested I write a book on the television series I had worked on called 'The End of the Western World' about the rise of East Asia; I had never been attracted by the idea of writing a book but found it increasing interesting as a project; I had found all sorts of excuses to go to the East, then Hari got a job with Lovells, an international law firm in London and it was suggested to her  that she take a secondment in one of their Asian offices as a step to becoming a partner; we agreed to do so just about the same time as she got pregnant; we went to Hong Kong in November 1998 and I started the book; fourteen months later Hari died in hospital in Hong Kong; it was a catastrophe - I am tough and resilient, but it is the only thing that I knew I would never be able to cope with; Ravi was just sixteen months; it was five years before I could work again - it took two and a half years before I could write a newspaper article; Hari had suffered a lot of racial discrimination in Hong Kong and her death was clearly the result of negligence; she had told me what was going on as she spoke good Cantonese; after a bit I made a little money from writing, we got a small pension from Hari's policy at work, and I had quite a lot of savings because one of the advantages of learning to live on the extremely low income from Marxism Today was that when my income rose I did not know how to spend it; we lived very simply as I had no desire to go out; it changed me as a person because I became very introverted, which I had never been; however, never having been like this I realized that they were very good attributes for writing a book; I was always interested in lots of things and it is difficult to do a serious piece of writing when you are not concentrating on the one idea

34:37:07 There are two themes in 'When China Rules the World'; the first part of the book is a discussion about how the West invented and made modernity its own, historically and in a contemporary sense, and how we should understand modernity in its contemporary sense as pluralistic rather than singular, in other words those countries which since the 1950s that are in the process of modernizing are not going to become simply clones of the West; this is a very interesting period because, apart from Japan, all the previous countries have been Western-style countries that had successfully modernized; my argument is that we are moving into a period of contested modernity where competition will be broadly on the basis of capitalism, with different political, cultural, and to a certain extent, economic systems, representing different types of modernity; the second part of the book is an argument to do with China which is a discussion about the rise of China, the economic trends, and what China will be like as a modern country; my argument is that China will definitely not be a clone of the West, but if we want to understand what China will be like in the future we have to look at its history; my major arguments in this context are, firstly that it is not primarily a nation state but a civilization with vast implications which flow from that; its attitude towards lots of things - its own sense of unity, stability, notion of race, the state as an institution, its relationship to society - are all profoundly different to the Western assumption because it is a civilization state rather than a nation state; secondly, the fact that for thousands of years in East Asia where China was dominant in that region, it was organized on the basis of tributary states; the characteristics of that system came to an end about 1900 since when it has been a colonial/Westphalian system, but the rise of China has meant that the region has become China-centric once more, and we are bound to see the relationships in that region bearing echoes once more of the tributary states; exactly how and to what extent, that is a complicated question, most of which we can't answer at the moment; thirdly, in some ways I think the best chapter in the book is one that hasn't been discussed very much, on the Middle Kingdom mentality, which is my attempt to explore the construction of ethnicity in China, and how it is that such a vast country over 90% of the population think of themselves as the same race, which is extraordinary; what the effects of that have been, and what the implications are in the long run; I think the book is very sympathetic to China, and is an attempt to see the world through Chinese eyes rather than seeing China through Western eyes; my concern is this Chinese sense of superiority and how that is going to effect its relations with other peoples in a world which is naturally defined by its diversity; a fourth major difference is the attitude towards the state, which in a way is the starkest difference; we have a certain notion of state and society in the West and China doesn't conform to it; we have a view that the legitimacy of the state is based fundamentally on democracy which in our terms does not exist in China, yet I argue that the state enjoys more legitimacy in China than it does in the West, so what are the sources of the legitimacy of the Chinese state; the state is a very sophisticated institution in China even though it is a poor developing country, this is the home of statecraft; the book is ambitious, an attempt to explain why the world is actually tilting on its axis in the period that we are living in, so it is historical, contemporary, and also looking very much into the future as well, and trying to think through what the world will be like when China is the dominant power

42:46:00 We don't know what that world will be like; if we did we would either be more disturbed or reassured, uncertainty itself can be a disturbance; I think that in one sense we should be embracing what is happening; the reason I say that is because ever since the British industrial revolution until now, the world has been dominated and run by such a small sliver of humanity; this has been an extremely undemocratic world; because the West enjoyed such disproportionate economic power and great demographic countries like China and India were so weak, they had so little voice; the Western discourse about democracy has been about democracy within nation states not about the international system which during the period of Western domination has been extremely authoritarian; it seems to me that the rise of China and India, 38% of the world's population, plus Brazil and so on, means that in very rough and ready terms that it is the most important act of democratization that the world has seen since the British industrial revolution; I think that is why this is a good thing, of course it is going to produce all sorts of new problems, environmental problems not being the least, but these people will now have a voice in the world; who listened to China thirty years ago? No one except people who had been around in that region; if China becomes the dominant country in the world, how it will behave is very difficult to answer; a lot of the Western reaction to the rise of China is, I think, based on arrogance and ignorance; the arrogance is that its got to be worse as its not us any more, and ignorance because people, including intellectuals, think that other cultures have no wisdom, that we have the monopoly; I think that all cultures, whatever their level of development, have wisdom; they have had to cope with their own circumstances, geographical, climatic, political, whatever they are; in particular, China is a great civilization, we have so much to learn from this, so the idea that its just going to be brutal and negative, its not going to be like that; it is very interesting that the rise of China has not been characterized as the rise of the Soviet Union was with a desire to engage in a military standoff, the Chinese have put very little hitherto into their military expenditure; even today they are just completing their first aircraft carrier; I think we need to adopt a much more worldly attitude; I love this thing in Cohen's book 'Rediscovering Chinese History', that the West thinks of itself as cosmopolitan but in many way it is the most parochial, because whereas other cultures have been obliged to turn themselves inside out in their engagement with the West, principally through colonialism, but not only; the West has never ever been obliged to rethink itself because it has never been forced to by its relationship with the those with which it has enjoyed a dominant relationship; I think this is a very important insight into what our mental problem is about addressing these kinds of questions; for me personally it is hugely the most interesting thing I have ever had to think about

48:38:21 I think that we need to interrogate this Communist period and the Confucian period and thereby escape from a very strong way of thinking, which is clearly influenced by the Cold War, where the two are completely estranged and that there are no powerful lines of continuity between them; I think there are; in the book I was trying to argue against a mistaken, but extremely, influential, position, which is that this period is an aberration, which is not the case; I think the Maoist tradition is clearly part of the Chinese tradition; Confucianism is much more influential that any Communist tradition in the long run in shaping Chinese attitudes, to the family, the state, the nature of education, and so on; those things are still very powerful in China and they will be enjoined when China gets stronger by, in some senses, a return to the past; the difficulty China has had since 1978 and the Deng Xiao-Ping dictum of lie low, is that they have deliberately not allowed to think about these questions; but when they do think about what China is I think there will be a debate about what they were, where does it come from, where is it going, what does it offer the world, these are the things they are going to have to sort out in their minds; the haven't sorted out where Mao is in their pantheon as he is still hugely more popular that Deng Xiao-Ping; I think the main reason for Mao's popularity is because he reunified the country, and any emperor who does that will always be a semi-deity in China; also he reconstructed the state, and the state is the most important institution apart from the family in China; none of what's happened under Deng Xiao-Ping would have been possible without the achievements under Mao; however, Mao could not have done what Deng did because he was also crazy

54:41:04 Ravi is just thirteen now, and a little taller than me; he kept me going so I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't had him; we are very close and I've been a very dedicated father, to my great enjoyment; he's his own character and looks just like his mum