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Eric Hobsbawm

Historian, former policy advisor to British prime minister Tony Blair, self-described as 'an unrepentant Marxist', author of The Age of Extremes: the Short Twentieth Century (1994)

By the century's end, large numbers of citizens were withdrawing from politics, leaving the affairs of state to the 'political class' -- the phrase seems to have originated in Italy -- who read each others' speeches and editorials. ... Between 1960 and 1988 the proportion of blue-collar workers who cast their vote in American presidential elections fell by one third. ... For most people even the collective identification with their country now came more easily through the national sports, teams and non-political symbols than through the institutions of the state.

1994 - from Age of Extremes: the Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991