Strategy

Removing Richard Leonard Won’t Solve Scottish Labour’s Woes

Photo Credit: Kevin Walsh As night follows day and as summer ebbs away into autumn, one facet of human existence  remains unaffected by the challenges of the novel Coronavirus. I am speaking, of course, about Scottish Labour’s ability to mire itself in yet another leadership crisis.  James Kelly kicked off proceedings by resigning as a justice spokesperson on the evening of the…

Starmerscepticism: An Unsentimental Approach

Photo Credit Keir Starmer’s election reflected the age we live in; a low key acceptance speech a day before Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care. This was not an atmosphere conducive to dramatic gestures by his internal opponents. Starmerscepticism has been born nonetheless, on Twitter, on Facebook and on the pages of mostly online outlets previously notable for their loyal support…

The UK’s Hi-Vis (but Invisible) Workforce 

(Picture Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bisgovuk/9191500878) After Boris Johnson’s address last week, my phone was vibrating endlessly with messages: ‘Looks like I’m back at work tomorrow then’  ‘Social distancing is over lads’  ‘Surely we’re not being sent back yet, there’s still thousands of people dying.’ The contradictions on show in these messages are damning. The Coronavirus crisis is by no means at an end, but the…

Left Reading Groups and Lockdown

Photo Credit: Rich Grundy  In 1792, a British army officer sent to assess the morale of potential troops in an imminent war against revolutionary France reported with horror that the workers of Sheffield did not only ‘read the most violent publications,’ they also ‘comment on them.’ In Halifax, a Methodist chapel had set up a debating society at which the town’s weavers…

Lansman’s Dilemma

“I think we made mistakes in the eighties. With hindsight, I don’t think we helped ourselves. We allowed ourselves to be marginalised; we were too unforgiving of people who some saw as betraying our principles and didn’t give them a way back. My view has always been that if you don’t take the mainstream of the Labour Party with you, you’re going…

Rethinking Adam Smith

People tend to have a story about the history of the state. It typically goes that it has grown unevenly, but more or less inexorably, since the end of the Western Roman Empire, only to retreat in recent decades. There is certainly truth to this: High Medieval states were often little more than a series of personal arrangements facilitating warmaking, and the…

An Open Hand

Keir Starmer has won the Labour leadership election, but it’s not yet clear what that will mean. Politics-as-usual has suspended for the moment anyway – will there be a conference this year? Will any of the things that normally mark a new leader’s tenure even happen? At this stage, it’s all deeply unclear. What is clear is that a variety of people…

Labour’s Legal Turn

Keir Starmer’s arrival as leader of the Labour Party will, of course, shift many of the political co-ordinates. Labour’s institutional setting will look different under a new leadership. But the case Labour has staked out in the last four years – opposing austerity, raising taxes on the richest, supporting a far wider role for the state in the economy – now, under…