On the road again

How swiftly taboos have been broken in Britain. In the space of a year banned ideas of socialism, revolution and radical state intervention in the economy have forced themselves into the public imagination and the media. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party,  has put full-employment back on the agenda and the political class and the academy cannot dodge the issue. Continue reading

Wild is the wind

The High Court in London will hand down a judgment of more than passing interest today. Mr Justice Foskett’s interpretation of a Labour Party rule will decide whether Jeremy Corbyn remains leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Westminster. Democracy hangs on the decision. The political elite – and the mainstream media – would like nothing better than to see the back of a man who threatens a comfortable consensus. Continue reading

Beethoven from Palestine

It sounds like a small thing – the removal within 24 hours of a House of Lord’s Library briefing. But given that it heralded a debate about the living conditions of Palestinian children, Lord Warner’s request for an explanation seems reasonable. He began with a quotation: “Israeli thinkers have right from the beginning judged that the injustice to the Palestinians perpetrated by the establishment of their state can never in truth be rectified for those who were displaced.” Continue reading

Plan B

Some years ago I shared a platform in the House of Commons with then Secretary for International Development, Clare Short. “Hold the fort, I’ll be back”, she said as she suddenly left to vote on a contentious motion. And so unable to address the remarks she had yet to make on helping poor Africans, I spoke about the genesis of Black Consciousness in South Africa. I suggested there was also a pressing need for psychological emancipation, for shrugging off deference in this class-ridden society. The response was polite. Continue reading

Referendum(2): It’s now or never

There is a persuasive view that for a broad section of the British population, especially the working class, a vote to leave the EU is a way of complaining about being short-changed by their rulers. In these heady days of zero-hours contracts the establishment appears to have forgotten that the natives -unlike recent immigrants – have been loyal to British imperialism for over a century. In short a Brexit vote is a reminder that an understanding has been breached. It is an appeal for more food parcels, not a menace to profit-taking. Continue reading