History and Strategy

Reflections on Tiananmen

Thirty years ago, the students of a bygone generation mourned the death of a reformer.  Hu Yaobang was a political survivor and a veteran of the Civil War who’d become Deng Xiaoping’s right-hand man. Unfortunately, his enemies successfully pinned the 1986 student demonstrations on his lax attitude and he was forced out of power, dying in relative obscurity not long afterwards. Eventually,…

Aussie Rules: Trade Unions and Capitalist Realism

Capitalist realism maintains its cold, grey grip over Australian society. Australia’s conservative parties managed to barely win a majority at the federal election on May 18. The result was generally seen as a surprise with the election reported as Labor’s to lose. The conservatives lacked vision, were internally divided and putting the third parliamentary leader of their  six-year term of government to…

Go Local: the American Left and Tea Party

It is difficult to question that American leftism is enjoying prominence unparalleled in recent years. No longer is left-wing politics viewed as a vote-splitting sideshow, represented by third-party figures such as Ralph Nader or Jill Stein. Much of the Democratic Party, inspired by its activist base and the 2016 primary campaign of Bernie Sanders, has come to accept many ideas previously seen…

European Elections: the East Midlands

Debating what should and should not be classed as the East Midlands is a contentious affair. The definition used by the UK government includes the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire as well as most of my home county of Lincolnshire (the rest is in Yorkshire and the Humber, for some reason.) The politics of the region are varied, making…

European Elections: Scotland

In a couple of weeks, Scots will go to the polls for the first time in two years. It’s been a long breather by recent standards: the last European elections in 2014 kicked off a dizzying three-year period which saw two Westminster elections, one Holyrood election, a council election and two separate referendums. (Labour members north of the border also managed to…

Brexit: The Need For Compromise

With election results, it is tempting to find an easy story to tell. The inevitable ambiguity and complexity that accompany them create a demand for narratives to join up the dots. Such narratives crave heroes and villains, exulting winners and humiliated losers. On that account, the winners in the local elections on Thursday were the Liberal Democrats and Greens, who respectively doubled…