History and Strategy

Liberalism and Social Democracy

Political history doesn’t start in 1945. Most accounts of the post-war consensus pay tribute to the liberal influences of Keynes and Beveridge, and increasingly to the role of national and imperial sentiment in the myth of “Old Labour”. But more should be made of the UK’s largely forgotten first social democratic government; a government that united liberals and social democrats in finding,…

The very real limits of Chris Leslie’s non-ideological ideology

If we’re to move entirely past the rather ideologically bankrupt centre-left consensus that emerged in the aftermath of 2008, we need to get into what the defining issues of that consensus are — its main tenets and its main flaws. A good case study of this is a pamphlet authored by former Shadow Chancellor and notable opponent of the hard left, whoever they are,…

Left Monarchism?

As parliament returns from recess and the regular news cycle finally trickles back towards to normality, we have been given a welcome reprieve from one element of the discourse which gripped the political classes over Christmas. Namely, the seemingly perennial and exhausting argument over whether the Left should make the abolition of the monarchy a priority as an incoming government. I’m no…

Our Times

Mark Fisher’s Ghosts of My Life is an exceptional collection of cultural criticism. As I read it over the Christmas period, I couldn’t think of another writer better able to synthesise so many disparate sources into an overarching argument about our times. The whole book, with its theme of hauntology, had me thinking about ways in which the left interacts with time,…

Back to the Statist Quo

The British state has been starved since 2010: methodically and deliberately. We were told that this was because the crash of 2008 devastated public finances. By now, it is clear this was merely an excuse to justify the ideologically-driven austerity agenda of George Osborne, who hacked away at the state with almost pathological zeal. The damage his actions have done to our…

Stay and Fight – for what?

After Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015, Frank Field – who had nominated Corbyn – explained why his candidate had won the contest, and why UNISON leader Dave Prentiss had been wrong to suggest that Labour members had witnessed a “great debate” during the leadership campaign. “We had no such debate,” Field told Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan. “I…