Strategy

People Like Us: Our Leaders and the Politics of Ordinariness

In contemporary Britain, political leaders are sewn into our cultural fabric and their attempts to don a guise of demotic accessibility seem commonplace and expected. Perhaps most explicitly, and contradictorily, Boris Johnson has used this strategy of appearing as ‘one of us’ to gain the trust of large swathes of his electorate, claiming to represent the apathetic sentiment of anti-Establishment politics which…

The Social Review Podcast Episode 62: Left Out of This Land

Joe, Lines and Julia meet to discuss two big new books about Corbyn’s Labour Party: ‘This Land: The Story of a Movement’ by Owen Jones, and ‘Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn’ by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire. The team discuss the book’s different conclusions, whether it casts new light on Corbyn’s Labour or not, the importance of interpersonal…

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…