THE ACID TEST OF ‘BRITISHNESS’: DEFERENCE TO POLITICAL ELITES OR DEFENCE OF DEMOCRACY?

by Sarah Edgcumbe 

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continues to have disastrous consequences for many people around the globe who have lost loved ones, or who are struggling to cope financially due to livelihood disruption. Domestic violence rates have increased at a staggering rate, whilst loneliness and uncertainty are having a negative effect on many people’s mental health. It is amidst these turbulent times that once again, much like the train-wreck of Brexit, the acid test of “Britishness” seems to be qualified by how deferential people can be to the political elite, as opposed to how willing they are to defend democracy and the welfare of Britain’s citizens and residents.

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COLONIALISM, CORRUPTION & CHAOS: THE DISILLUSIONMENT OF IRAQI YOUTH

by Sarah Edgcumbe

During early October 2019, in the space of just nine days, Iraqi state forces killed over one hundred young people and injured thousands more. Thousands. In just nine days. As anti-corruption protests broke out, the state deployed live ammunition almost immediately. In some places, snipers positioned themselves on rooftops, picking off young Iraqi citizens who had nothing left to lose except the hope that they would one day experience a government that provides for their basic needs rather than greedily shovelling oil revenue into its own pockets.

The catalyst for these protests was the sacking of Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, who led the fight against ISIS as part of Iraq’s elite counter terrorism unit, and who was widely acknowledged as the liberator of Mosul. As soon as his transfer to an administrative role was made public, speculation arose that ‘his refusal to back a specific political party made him unpopular among officials in Baghdad’, and that he was ‘removed from his post because he broke sectarian barriers in Mosul.’ The sacking of al-Saadi was widely perceived as emblematic of the corruption that has characterized successive post-U.S invasion administrations, resulting in widespread protests against corruption, unemployment and poor public services. Continue Reading

A DARK CHAPTER OF BRITISH HISTORY EXPOSED – ‘WHITE HIGHLANDS’ by JOHN MCGHIE

by Tom McGhie

Over the last two years, “Brexit” – a word which instils both confusion and annoyance in most, has surgically torn political parties, families and friendships alike.
Ever since its first appearance on the horizon, pro-Brexit politicians have backed the concept through playing on the fears of the public and eulogising about the past days of the British Empire. “Remember when we used to be great? We don’t need Europe, we could be great again!”

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FOOL BRITANNIA: LET’S ALL HAVE A DISCO

By Jonathan Lee
Content warning: minor instances of crude language and a mention of blackface (all used for satirical effect)

Oyez! Oyez! It has been announced by our most beneficent leader, Theresa Mary May, that on this two hundred and twenty second year of our Lord, a fayre of Britannic proportions shall be held, on every pleasant village green and suburban cul-de-sac, throughout this land of the South East of England.

The Tories have pulled another joker from the pack, this time with months to go until B-Day, and announced with much bravado a post-Brexit ‘Festival of Britain’. Or to everyone north of Grantham and west of Bristol: Festival of the Home Counties. The glorified Sunday fête will aim to replicate the Labour Party’s event of 1951, which celebrated the successes of the post-war consensus, growing internationalism, and an era of rebuilding and growth through social democracy.Continue Reading

THE GREEN PARTY DEPUTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS 2018: ANDREW COOPER

The Norwich Radical aims to offer wide and fair coverage of both national and international politics, including elections, campaigns, and movements affecting local and wider scale policies. In light of this, we have contacted all the candidates standing in both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections for The Green Party of England and Wales, asking them to explain their vision for the Party and the country. We will be publishing their responses over the week leading up to the elections.

by Andrew Cooper

Political parties are increasingly viewed with contempt by many people. Though you don’t have to have abhorrent sexist and racist views to be in the Conservative Party it is the Party where this is most tolerated. In Government the Conservatives have largely been fronted by ‘characters’ or probably more accurate to say cartoon-like caricatures. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and William Gove. The point is that they are often so bizarre in behaviour as well as their politics that they are completely unrelatable to by millions of people.Continue Reading

THE GREEN PARTY DEPUTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS 2018: JONATHAN CHILVERS

The Norwich Radical aims to offer wide and fair coverage of both national and international politics, including elections, campaigns, and movements affecting local and wider scale policies. In light of this, we have contacted all the candidates standing in both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections for The Green Party of England and Wales, asking them to explain their vision for the Party and the country. We will be publishing their responses over the week leading up to the elections.

by Jonathan Chilvers

My favourite part of Question of Sport used to be ‘What Happens Next?’ A piece of recorded sporting action would be paused and the teams would guess what amusing blunder was about to happen before it was revealed by the presenter.

In British politics at the moment nobody knows what is going to happen next. Politics is always unpredictable, but in UK even the most powerful players just don’t know what Brexit deal will happen or what that will mean for the country. This is before we all try and predict the impact of Trump, Russia and Climate Change. This is deeply unsettling for most of the public. What most people want whether they voted leave or remain is for politicians to get on and sort it out. To protect stability, prosperity and a general sense of everyone rubbing along without being too upset.

But the scale of the challenges we face as a nation don’t allow for the status quo. Change is going to continue to come and the Green party is well placed to make a significant positive era to a new political and economic settlement.Continue Reading

THE GREEN PARTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS 2018: LESLIE ROWE

The Norwich Radical aims to offer wide and fair coverage of both national and international politics, including elections, campaigns, and movements affecting local and wider scale policies. In light of this, we have contacted all the candidates standing in both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections for The Green Party of England and Wales, asking them to explain their vision for the Party and the country. We will be publishing their responses over the week leading up to the elections.

by Leslie Rowe

I am deeply disappointed at the current state of British politics. For too long we have allowed a Tory minority to undermine our NHS, social services, local government, emergency services and indeed the full plethora of public services. The Conservative policy of forcing up the costs of services by privatisation and then cutting those services in the name of austerity, is a fraud being perpetrated on the British people, which the mass media have singularly failed to call out.Continue Reading

THE GREEN PARTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS 2018: SHAHRAR ALI

The Norwich Radical aims to offer wide and fair coverage of both national and international politics, including elections, campaigns, and movements affecting local and wider scale policies. In light of this, we have contacted all the candidates standing in both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections for The Green Party of England and Wales, asking them to explain their vision for the Party and the country. We will be publishing their responses over the week leading up to the elections.

by Shahrar Ali

I’m standing for Green Party Leader to help forge a unique and urgent political contract with the people – that extends not just to our contemporaries but to our children, our children’s children and other animals alike. Continue Reading

THE GREEN PARTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS 2018: SIAN BERRY & JONATHAN BARTLEY

The Norwich Radical aims to offer wide and fair coverage of both national and international politics, including elections, campaigns, and movements affecting local and wider scale policies. In light of this, we have contacted all the candidates standing in both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections for The Green Party of England and Wales, asking them to explain their vision for the Party and the country. We will be publishing their responses over the week leading up to the elections.

by Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley

The Green Party’s recent local election success around the country shows the impact we can have when we get our politics and strategy right. We took seats from both Conservatives and Labour with our clear message that having a Green on your council holding them to account benefits everyone. We won votes from across the spectrum by showing our councillors are effective, principled and hard-working.Continue Reading

WE STAND ON A PRECIPICE – THE SNAP GENERAL ELECTION

world votes radical

by Chris Jarvis

With Theresa May having all but called an early General Election, on June 8th, the UK will go to the polls for yet another vote that will have long-reaching consequences for the future of the nation, the third in as many years. For the people of Scotland and Wales it will be the fourth – and those living in Northern Ireland will face their fifth. Right now, our political leaders can’t seem to get enough of sending people trudging out to schools, churches and community centres to scribble little pencil crosses in printed boxes.Continue Reading

LOOKING BEHIND THE NUMBERS – RICHARD MURPHY

By Olivia Hanks

Richard Murphy is in some ways an unlikely figure. A tax expert and former accountant, his views are resolutely anti-establishment: asked on air in 2012 to name the greatest threats to democracy, he responded “Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and Ernst & Young”. Yet despite having some vociferous critics (as you would expect for someone whose raison d’être is forcing the wealthy to pay their share of tax), his influence is now being felt: as the architect of country-by-country reporting, which requires corporations to publish figures for every country in which they operate so that it is clear when profit has been moved into low-tax jurisdictions, he has helped to create a framework for taxation transparency worldwide. Country-by-country reporting has now been adopted by the OECD and the EU.Continue Reading

SQUALOR, OVERCROWDING, EVICTIONS – THE TORIES HAVE NO ANSWERS ON THE HOUSING CRISIS

by Olivia Hanks

“Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see. Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford.” Sajid Javid’s words, in his speech launching the government’s latest white paper on housing, were rather unfortunate. The sight we’ve all been seeing on high streets this winter is the clusters of sleeping bags in doorways, the faces those of people failed so badly by society that they no longer have anywhere to live at all. This lack of understanding of what the housing crisis really is – not just thwarted aspirations of ownership, but squalor, overcrowding, evictions – sets the tone for this misfiring, misleading, self-contradicting paper.Continue Reading

OUR DEMOCRACY REQUIRES WE MAKE 2017 THE YEAR OF THE EXPERT

by Olivia Hanks

All people are of equal value. The same is not true of opinions – and the conflation of the two is leading us down a dark path to ignorance and authoritarian rule.

2016 was not a good year for experts. Michael Gove (that straight-talking man of the people) declared that the British public had “had enough” of them. On the face of it, it seems he was right: in voting to leave the European Union, 17.4 million people defied the advice of specialists in every field from finance to ecology to social cohesion. A few months later, in the best Anglo-Saxon tradition of oneupmanship, the United States voted to be led by a man whose approach to policy is to say things at random and see which gets the biggest cheer.

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POST-TRUTH POLITICS AND THE WAR ON INTELLECT

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by Robyn Banks

Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or engineer.”- Mikhail Bakunin

There’s a new buzzword in the air. We are now living, it is claimed, in a post-factual or post-truth society, where facts no longer matter to the general public. At face value it seems like a bizarre claim. But while politicians and the media have always lied to the public, if you consider the audacity of the lies of the last decade in contrast to the sheer number of tools available to us to find out the truth, you begin to see the point.Continue Reading

BRITAIN’S FUTURE PROSPERITY REQUIRES REVOLUTION. A RENEWABLES REVOLUTION.

By Natasha Senior

It’s high time we talked about our future. Forget about border control or the free market, they offer no insight. If we want this tumultuous, divisive year to mean something, we need to think bigger, bolder and shape our decisions around our vision. Let’s talk about an end to the draconian sweatshop conditions, imposed by the likes of Sports Direct, who have exploited free movement of labour to keep profits high and wages low. Immigration control is a quick fix and a distraction. They will always find a way to exploit and profit. What if instead we did away with these common low-skilled low-wage jobs, altogether. What if we put our faith in British industry again, but instead of labourers going down into the stuffy pits, lining their lungs with coal dust, they were breathing the cool, crisp air on the surface on a wind farm. I am talking about creating a thriving, prosperous renewable energy industry.Continue Reading

ALLIANCES, AMBITIONS AND ARGUMENTS: WHY WE DON’T HAVE WIDESPREAD ELECTORAL PACTS

by James Anthony

The concept of progressive political parties working together in some form to beat right-wing parties in elections sounds like a great, simple idea – and it certainly isn’t a new one. Standing down in a constituency to avoid ‘splitting the vote’ has been thought about and even practiced formally as early as 1903 in British politics in the hope of bringing down Tory majorities in elections. With the current Tory administration enjoying a majority in the Commons and very promising polling data, progressive forces on the left have again started talking about entering into some sort of alliance. However, it rarely seems to get put into practice, at least not nationally.Continue Reading

AFTER TRUMP AND BREXIT, THE LEFT NEEDS TO REDISCOVER CLASS ANGER

By Robyn Banks

I’m in the break room at work choking on my out of date sandwich. I’ve just been informed by two of my colleagues- good, down to earth working class people who probably think I bang on about my degree too much- that Boris Johnson is a “lad”, and I have no idea what to say. But none of us have any money, I want to shout. And he wants us to have less! Before I can respond, the conversation moves on to laughing about his hair, which is much more tolerable. Later, as I complain about Trumps victory, I am told that all I want is for “everyone to sit in a circle and hold hands”.

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HOW SUSTAINABLE WILL BRITAIN BE POST-BREXIT?

By Faizal Nor Izham

With negotiations for Brexit to be finally executed come March 2017, as announced by Theresa May last week, a burning question yet to be properly tackled by the Conservative Party is: what exactly is their overarching plan to ensure future economic sustainability and prosperity for the country? Now that a major source of economic strength has been cut off (read: migrants), a fully laid-out plan to outline Britain’s steps towards continued economic growth in their absence has yet to be tabled.

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WE NEED MORE THAN TALK IF WE’RE TO TAKE ON THE TORIES

by Olivia Hanks

“I will never campaign on anything with the Tories! Not Europe, not anything!” Marina Prentoulis’s passionate declaration summed up why we were all there, as did the title of the panel discussion: ‘Taking the Fight to the Tories’.

The event, organised jointly by UEA Greens and Momentum UEA, brought Greens, Labour and the People’s Assembly together to discuss how the left might co-operate to get the Tories out of power.

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TODAY’S POLITICS: SPEAKING IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

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by Chris Jarvis 

Britain’s EU Referendum was a messy, unpleasant affair. Events that took place, the way campaigns were run, the rhetoric of certain advocates on both sides taught many lessons about the state of Britain. The referendum, and its subsequent result, have served as an amplifier for some unsettling and disturbing aspects of our politics and society – from racism and xenophobia, to the desperation and disaffection felt by people and communities across the country. All of these have had substantial coverage and comment in the press, as politicians and columnists have lined up to blame anyone and everyone – the political class, migrants, the Leave campaign, Jean Claude Juncker, Tony Blair.Continue Reading

SOCIAL EQUALITY, NOT SOCIAL MOBILITY

by Olivia Hanks

Theresa May’s indication earlier this month that she will reintroduce selective schooling has reignited the debate on ‘social mobility’. Tory backbenchers believe the secondary modern system (or the grammar school system, as they insist on calling it) was good for social mobility, but various reports support the opposite view, that selective schooling entrenches inequality. Of the tiny percentage of children from working class backgrounds who attended the old grammar schools, two-thirds did not manage to achieve three O-levels.Continue Reading

WE GET THE POLITICIANS WE DESERVE

by Robyn Banks

Since the day the Labour party shot itself in the foot and used the turmoil in the Conservative party as an opportunity to break its own ranks, a great divide seems to have appeared among the left. While Corbyn’s election as Labour leader swelled its membership with young and idealistic newcomers, many worry that he is still not electable. After he was deemed too left wing by the PLP and his opposition deemed too right wing for the membership, it became clear that what was needed was a new face- to package Corbyn’s ideas in to a smoother, less radical and more electable politician.

Enter Owen Smith. Despite there being no dramatic differences between Corbyn and Smith’s publicly professed politics, the left wing of the internet has spiralled in to bickering about nuances and rumours from the past, dividing itself in to the radicals and the Blairites, the entryists and the game theorists. What was once a political discussion has now become some kind of complex emotional entanglement.Continue Reading

CORBYN CAN ONLY BE PM IF HE LEARNS FROM SMITH

by Natasha Senior

We have now entered the world of post-truth politics where satire has died because reality is beyond farcical. Remember a while back when that cabinet minister half-arsed her job? Instead of spending taxpayers’ money on something worthwhile she rolled out some vans with ‘go home‘ billboards, in a completely misguided attempt to get ‘illegal’ immigrants to leave. She then quickly had to reel them back in after realising it actually looked a little xenophobic (and also because it was the stupidest idea ever).

Despite this and numerous other examples of May’s sheer incompetence in government, she assumed the role of Prime Minister on a technicality and the ineptitude of her opponents. I suppose I am thankful she got the job rather than them (but only in the sense I’d be thankful if I’d lost only all my extremities to frostbite instead of succumbing to hypothermia). Despite this and her complete lack of a vision for the future of Britain, other than the fact that “Brexit means Brexit”, and given her party has absolutely no mandate to carry out anything at this point, the Conservatives still sit 16 points ahead of Labour in the polls. That is a terrifying reality.

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CONFESSIONS OF A CORBYNITE: WHY I’M VOTING FOR OWEN SMITH

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by Elliot Folan

Six years ago, as a baby-faced 16-year old, I remember sitting in two different meetings within a few months of one another. In one of them, a youth magazine I was working on was told that its funding was being cancelled because of the incoming government’s spending cuts. In the other, I sat in my first local Green Party meeting as activists, fresh from losing overwhelmingly in their target ward, talked about traffic lights and solar panels. The contrast between the two meetings — one a reminder of the impact of politics on everyday life, the other a completely oblivious talking shop — strikes me to this day. Though the party initially struck me as directionless, I stayed until 2014 regardless: I believed in the Green Party’s vision, and I hopped around my city (and the country) looking for ways I could help. I explained away inefficiency, poor practice and a frustrating lack of strategy because I believed in the cause. But at the end of it all, the Green Party ended up gaining no seats in 2015.

I relate this story because, as a 22-year old who’s now in the Labour Party, I see numerous people doing exactly the same thing that I did in my teenage years; except rather than doing it with a party, they are doing it with a single man — Jeremy Corbyn.Continue Reading

WE ARE NOT NUMBERS: NORWICH SPEAKS OUT ON BREXIT

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by Hannah Rose

Norwich residents came together last month to show support for migrants after a Romanian shop was set fire to. On the same evening Norwich held a rally in favour of staying in the EU. The division was palpable that night. But the reality is that there are no two clear sides to the debate—there never was, even if the mainstream press had us believe it.

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OUR GREENS IN THE NORTH

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by Martie Warin

I was born and raised in the pit village of Easington, close to the North East coast in County Durham. The Colliery was thriving and a great place to live when I was a growing up. There were plenty of jobs at the pit and everyone looked out for each other. It was (and still is in a lot of ways) a safe and caring community. Sadly, our way of life was turned on its head in 1993 when the wheel stopped turning, and despite a community rending period of strike action, the pits were closed. People suffered then, and continue to suffer the effects now. The cuts of recent years continue to rub salt into the wounds of these once proud people. Now I know coal mining is certainly not Green, but compassion and justice are!Continue Reading

KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THE GREEN PARTY’S SOUL

By Shahrar Ali 

I love this party. That’s not a phrase I’m afraid to use about it. Because every institution has a soul and that’s something, if you re-elect me, I would like us to keep in touch with.

It’s very important for us Greens, you see, because we go into politics not as a career but as a vocation. And although our critics might accuse us of idealism – by which they mean naivety – we’re nothing of the sort. We’re objective. We understand that we’re at the last chance saloon. If we don’t get a grip of sleepwalking into climate change oblivion then who else will?

So let’s be bold. Let’s not sell ourselves short.

ElectShahrar_NeedtoBeGreen_midres.jpg

This buzzword, “progressive alliance”, we’ve been doing it all the time. We have always been campaigning politicians, looking beyond narrow political confines, that’s what we’re about. We will always look beyond those party political divisions.But let’s not sell ourselves short at the same time. Because last time I checked nobody else was saying those things in that holistic way with the ambition of root and branch change of the economic system.

So what will you get with me? Accountability. That’s an important word and we’ve got to practice what we preach.

When Jo Cox was murdered we were the last people to say we weren’t standing in the by-election. Why is that? Because we’ve got accountability. We had to wait. It wasn’t just the leadership team saying “no we weren’t going to”. We had to wait for the local party to say that. And that’s very important.

Let’s avoid governance by press release. Let’s make sure however tempting it might be to issue something suddenly that we respect the grassroots of this party. One person, one vote.

And if you elect me as Deputy Leader again you can be sure that I’ll be raising that voice, not as a sycophant, but as somebody who is diligent and respects my fellow leadership companions, as an equal.

And I will lead by example, as one amongst equals.


Shahrar Ali is standing for Deputy Leader of the Green Party. He is currently one of two deputy leaders of the party and, in 2014, became in the process the first BME deputy of a UK parliamentary party. He is author of Why Vote Green 2015 and narrowly missed out on winning a seat on the London Assembly in 2016.

You can find out more about his campaign here.


Every Green Party member receives a vote in the forthcoming Deputy Leadership election, which will take place from the 25th of July to the 25th of August. The Norwich Radical have invited all candidates for Leader and Deputy Leader to submit one article to us on their campaign.

Header image via Bradford District Green Party.

CAN THE GREEN PARTY PROGRESS A PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE?

by Andrew Cooper

I got back from the Green Party’s Deputy Leadership campaign trail yesterday and it’s been great to see so many Green Party activists at each of the 8 hustings I attended. I was fortunate enough to manage to get to them all.

What has become clear is that there are many questions that still remain to be answered about the Progressive Alliance being suggested by Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley. My own view is that it’s certainly worth trying but there are major obstacles to overcome.Continue Reading

GREENS NEED TO BE AT THE FRONT OF THE FIGHT FOR A PROGRESSIVE BREXIT

by Amelia Womack

Like almost half of the country,  I woke up pretty devastated on June 24th. It’s now been a month since the result was announced, and we’re only just beginning to get hints of the ramifications – whether it’s the collapse in funding to research, or the threat of EU nationals here potentially being kicked out as they’re used as a bargaining chip for the Brexit negotiations.

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DEMOCRACY AND REPRESENTATION

by Simon Ashley Cross

Never was it more important to have common sense for the common good in politics. The Green Party is having it’s biannual leadership contest and very much against the grain of the unscheduled bun fights of the other large parties there is no infighting, no bullying and no bricks thrown. The party will continue to respect our members and offer them a fair choice.

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BRITAIN NEEDS A PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE

by Jonathan Bartley & Caroline Lucas

This week’s House of Commons vote to renew Trident and the scrapping of the Department for Energy and Climate Change are the latest reminders of the scale of the task we face together as progressives.

The future looks far more dangerous and insecure even than it did just a few weeks ago. The UN has found our welfare system seriously wanting. Over a million people still rely on food banks. And hate crime is on the rise.

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NO LIMITS TO THE GREEN PARTY’S GROWTH

By Clive Lord

I almost invented the Green Party. Well, I only re-invented it a few months after it had been founded circa Christmas 1972. I attended a meeting as an enquirer in March 1973, at which I agreed with every word of the four actual founder members: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had just published Limits to Growth, which explained that indiscriminate economic growth could not go on for ever on a finite planet. It got one important fact wrong, and missed one other, but the gist was and is correct, and according  to the latest research by James Hansen, could be coming home to roost sooner than expected.

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UNITY ON THE LEFT

by Kat Boettge

Whatever the future holds we must work together for unity. After this dreadful referendum and the Brexit vote we must all pull together. The country appears divided, the young vs the older generations, the north vs the south, the “leavers” vs “remainers”. Such divisions, promoted by the wealthy and powerful, have helped them to avoid responsibility for their economic crimes and allowed the 1% to prosper at the expense of the 99%. Meanwhile the left is facing turmoil.

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FIVE WAYS TO MAKE THE GREEN PARTY BETTER

by Alan Borgars

We, the people of Britain, currently face a difficult and uncertain future, especially in light of the recent decision to vote to leave the EU by a margin of 3.78%, or just over one million votes. The United Kingdom still suffers from a self-serving, cold-hearted, money-loving government whose main intent is to keep themselves in power indefinitely by any means they can and continually oppress everyone who is not rich and powerful.Continue Reading

GREEN PARTY, LET’S GET SERIOUS ABOUT ECONOMICS

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by David Malone

We need to have a serious debate in the party, first and foremost, about finance and economics. It seems to me that one of the defining facts of our times is that around the world the established political parties have surrendered to the idea that economics and finance no longer need to be under democratic control. This is wrong and dangerous.

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5 WAYS WE CAN REALLY TAKE BACK CONTROL AFTER BREXIT

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By Olivia Hanks

When a vote to ‘take back control’ has given us a new Prime Minister elected by no one – not even by her own party, let alone the country – it’s tempting to give up on it all in despair and just run around collecting imaginary monsters instead. Those, at least, we can control.Continue Reading

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE IRAQ WAR

by Julian Canlas

Content warning: mentions sexual abuse, torture, Islamophobia

On 15 February 2003, the now-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke out to the largest anti-war demonstration in British political history. In front of two million people at Hyde Park, London, he exclaimed,  ‘Stop now or pay the political price!’ He was warning about the consequences of attacking Iraq.Continue Reading

SOME WORRIES, MATE: THE ONGOING AUSTRALIAN ELECTION

by Zoe Harding

Who’s the Australian prime minister?

Don’t worry if you don’t know. In addition to Australia being very far away, it’s rarely covered by either the British or American media unless someone’s found an entertaining new way of being killed by the wildlife. Even in the digital age, Australia is culturally and politically isolated from the Anglophone western world, marginalised by the sensationalised nightmare of American politics and Anglo-American cultural dominance.

The other reason you might not know is because Australian politics is a turbulent sea of leadership challenges and political manoeuvring. Since 2007 five different prime ministers have been in office — Labor’s Kevin Rudd from 2007 to 2010, was deposed by Julia Gillard, who led a different Labor government until 2013 when Rudd pushed her out again. The infighting was one of the reasons for the rise of the infamous Tony Abbot later in 2013, who ruled for two years before being booted out of office by Malcom Turnbull, the current Liberal Prime Minister, in September 2015.

Last week, a federal election began across the country to elect all 226 members of the Australian parliament.Continue Reading

CORBYN OR REVOLUTION

by Robyn Banks

They said he was unelectable. Throughout Corbyn’s rise to labour leader, those of us who supported him were continually told not to. Conservative commentators watched in angst, and told us it would never happen, and the right wing of the labour party begged members to vote for somebody more moderate, more appealing to the wider electorate, more ‘electable’. But, still, he garnered 59.5% of votes in the 2015 Labour leadership election. 87,000 people joined the labour party after his victory, and more than half of labour members this January had joined since the last election, with many signing up in order to vote for him in the leadership race. 13,000 more have joined this week to support him. It’s clear that he offers something that many people want.Continue Reading

BREXIT — THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES STARTS NOW

by Josh Wilson

For all those who voted and campaigned to leave the European Union I would like say congratulations, we may have had a difference of opinion but that shouldn’t leave any animosity between us. For all of those that voted and campaigned to remain within the EU, like myself, it is okay to cry. It is okay to feel upset, angry and disappointed. It is not easy to let go of something you believed in so passionately. The future is scary; it is uncertain what direction the country will now head in, whether we will enter into another period of recession and who our next Prime Minister will be now David Cameron has said he will resign. But this is exactly why we must come to terms with the fact that Brexit is going to happen, and the fight has only just begun.

The referendum was largely fought between different sides of the right-wing of British politics, but the opportunity now lies with the Left. I truly believe everyone on the Left, whatever your party affiliation and which ever way you voted must unite and galvanise around a campaign for a progressive exit from the EU. This view was recently aired by Paul Mason in the Guardian, although in fear of being a hipster, I thought of this before it was ‘cool’ (You can read Paul’s more eloquent article here). In this article I want to cover another angle and lay out some of the biggest battles that are going to be thrown our way in the very near future.Continue Reading

VOTE LEAVE: BREXIT AND THE CRISIS OF THE ESTABLISHMENT

by Anonymous

For a long time, I have been a strong supporter of a so called ‘#Lexit’ from the EU, rejecting both the capitalist stance of Cameron, and the mainstream xenophobic leave campaigns. Nearly all discourse surrounding a Left Exit of the EU is dominated by Liberal Remainers, who ignore the genuine voices of the working class which is tired of decreasing living standards and austerity measures across Europe.Continue Reading

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: NORFOLK’S MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS

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by Hannah Rose

Last week I met with two mental health campaigners following an RSA-hosted event at St Michael’s Church called: ‘Combating Norfolk’s Growing Mental Health Problem.’ The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA), Manufactures and Commerce is a fellowship-led organisation, whose aim is to encourage “the sharing of powerful ideas to deliver a 21st century enlightenment.” I’d gone in the hope of being enlightened.

Sadly, I was not.

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THERE IS NO THIRD BOX TO TICK: ‘LEXIT’ IS NOT AN OPTION

by Elliot Folan

So. The referendum is nearly upon us. And the reactionary Leave campaign rolls on, with Farage unveiling his latest piece of racist propaganda and Leave.EU exploiting the homophobic murder of 49 LGBT+ people for political gain. The leaflets that keep dropping through my door from the official Vote Leave campaign, meanwhile, tell me that we must take back ‘control of our borders’ and rid ourselves of EU regulations that protect workers’ rights. The campaign to leave the EU has had no left-wing voices in it, despite the hopes of lapsed Lexiter Aaron Bastani (who has flipped, and will now vote to Remain). Yet some activists, and a handful of Labour MPs, continue to push the narrative that an exit from the EU will be a triumph for progressive politics.

I understand this view. I don’t want to pretend that I find it incomprehensible, or that it’s without any rational basis. The European Union is an institution weighted towards transnational capital, its decisions are made in backroom committees far from public scrutiny or understanding, and the only directly elected institution — the European Parliament — lacks the formal powers of a proper Parliament. The left-wing critiques of the European Union are not without foundation.Continue Reading

IS ANOTHER EUROPE POSSIBLE? – AN INTERVIEW WITH NATALIE BENNETT

by Rowan Gavin

With just four days until polling day, the EU referendum continues to dominate news headlines and pub conversations. Like many, I have been exhausted by the fearmongering, unconvincing and generally depressing arguments churned out by the mainstream campaigns on both sides. So when The Norwich Radical asked me to interview Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, about the positive Green case for staying in the EU, I was excited to hear some refreshing ideas on the topic. I also got the chance to speak to David Raby, a Green Party City Councillor in Norwich.

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HAS CAROLINE LUCAS KILLED THE GREEN LEADERSHIP ELECTION?

by Olivia Hanks

The Green Party has come a long way in the last few years. When Natalie Bennett took over from Caroline Lucas as leader in 2012, the party had 13,000 members and  won just over a quarter of a million votes in the 2010 general election. In 2015, that rose to more than one million votes, while membership shot up to 60,000. The party is now embarking on its first leadership election under these drastically changed conditions. With Bennett announcing last month that she would not be re-standing for the leadership, the stage was set for an exciting contest for the votes of this vastly increased electorate, with many hoping for a debate on the direction of the party and anticipating the emergence of new voices.

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4 REASONS WHY NATALIE BENNETT HAS BEEN A GREAT GREEN PARTY LEADER

by Chris Jarvis

On Sunday evening, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett announced that she would not be standing for re-election in the forthcoming Leadership Election. After four years at the helm of what is now the third largest political party in England and Wales, the media and followers of politics have begun to reflect on her time in office and the legacy she is leaving behind.

Unsurprisingly, a substantial proportion of the coverage has focussed on the Australian born leader’s shortcomings, reminding us of her ‘brain fade’ in an LBC interview with Nick Ferrari or the time she seemed to support decriminalising membership of organisations such as ISIS in an unforgiving clash with Andrew Neil on The Sunday Politics. Those things notwithstanding, it is clear to that Bennett has undoubtedly been an effective and successful Leader, who will be remembered more for her long list of achievements, rather than by her failures. Here are just four of them.Continue Reading

LOCAL ELECTIONS REVEAL A LOW TURNOUT AND A DELICATE HARMONY

by Hannah Rose

Norwich strengthened its status as a Labour hold council at the local elections on May 5th, winning four seats from the Greens in Mancroft, Nelson, Town Close and Wensum. With this the case, it might seem surprising that the role of Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner went to Conservative Lorne Green, who quite comfortably beat Labour’s Chris Jones. Looking at the city result you quickly see that Jones was the preferred choice – by a 10,000-vote strong margin. So Norwich wanted Labour – but Norfolk didn’t. This result is a stark reminder of the difference in political opinion between the city and the rest of the county – a county where UKIP and Conservative have half the seats.

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THE POLLS AREN’T WRONG: SADIQ KHAN WILL BE LONDON’S NEXT MAYOR

by Elliot Folan

With the London Mayoral election nearly upon us, opinion polls for the contest are finally beginning to emerge in force. And each one of them tells the same story: Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate, is in the lead.

He wasn’t always. Back when the race for the Mayoral nominations began, Khan and the Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, were much closer – at one point Goldsmith had an 8-point lead. But as the race began in earnest, Khan opened up a large lead that hasn’t gone away. Currently, a simple average of polls in the last month (7th March-7th April, when the last poll was conducted) puts Khan on 54% to Goldsmith’s 46%.

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NO PLATFORM AND THE AMPLIFICATION OF THE STUDENT VOICE

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by Cherry Somersby

NUS’ ‘No-Platform’ policy is the refusal to allow ‘racists or fascists’ to speak at NUS events or alongside NUS representatives. Bearing in mind that this policy is often conflated with attempts by individual Students’ Unions to ban certain speakers from their campuses, it has been dubbed by many as an attack on free speech, and further confirmation that the ‘intolerant student left’ have become more concerned with hiding in their progressive echo-chambers than with serious, healthy debate.

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THE MORALITY OF TAX

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by Olivia Hanks

I’m writing this because I’m unhappy about small businesses not paying tax.

Yes, you read that right.

We all know about the coffee chains and technology giants that are siphoning off society’s wealth and making no contribution; I’m talking about the small, local businesses that are the real lifeblood of every town’s economy.Continue Reading

THE EU REFERENDUM – WHAT IS BEING OFFERED TO US?

by George Laver

Amidst the giants of British politics, there is an ever-growing rift that threatens to split central parties in all directions. Even though the stereotypical dichotomy of the right-wing representing anti-EU camp – playfully dubbed ‘Brexit’ – and the left-wing representing the pro-EU camp tend to stand up to truth, there are subdivisions within the parties that make this a more complicated matter. In particular, the main figures on both sides having differed opinions over the matter.

For example, Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that he believes Britain should remain in the European Union (EU), whilst London Mayor Boris Johnson – an associate and old Eaton friend of Cameron’s – is thoroughly backing the ‘Brexit’ campaign. If anything, it shows that this point of contention can trigger big differences amongst the closest of allies. It is not just these individuals that we must consider, but also the collateral damage that their campaigning has: those who see their efforts will more often than not draw inspiration from them, casting an influence over their vote when the day arrives.Continue Reading

“I WOULD DESCRIBE MYSELF AS AN ECONOMIC LIBERAL” – AN INTERVIEW WITH CHARLIE KINGSBURY, LIBERAL YOUTH CO-CHAIR

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by Chris Jarvis

It’s no secret that the Liberal Democrats are far from the most popular political party in Britain today. After the General Election, they were left with just 8 MPs, and were ousted from their position as junior coalition partners in Government. For the preceding years, they attracted mockery, ire, and ridicule in equal measure, not least from young people and students, a group who once made up a significant proportion of their voter base – especially in the dizzy days of Cleggmania.

I’m still fascinated, then, by the fact that they have managed to maintain a sizeable membership through this time, including among young people. Why would a young person join the Liberal Democrats, and why would they remain active in the party? This intrigue is what led to me interviewing Charlie Kingsbury, current co-chair of Liberal Youth, as part of a series of interviews focusing of the role of young people in shaping British politics.Continue Reading

THE NEW GENERATION – AN INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH CLARE, CO-CHAIR OF THE YOUNG GREENS

By Chris Jarvis

Hannah Clare is part of the first wave of ‘new Greens’ in the 21st century. Preceding the ‘Green surge’ of last year, these are members of the Green party, predominantly young members, who joined up some time following the Iraq war and before 2013. Many were frustrated by the drab political landscape in other parties, and by the seeming betrayal of the parties they might otherwise have supported – first the Labour Party over Iraq and subsequently the Liberal Democrats over tuition fees and the coalition government. They place political emphasis on radical social justice to compliment the strong environmental concerns of the Green Party while simultaneously acknowledging that the systematic and societal oppression of different groups of people is  intrinsically linked to other political concerns. They often therefore call for an intersectional approach to tackling political issues. Over the last two years in particular, this generation of Greens has begun to have a more significant influence within the party, proposing and winning policy debates and having increased success in internal elections.

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UK FLOODING: THE NEW NORMAL IN A CHANGED CLIMATE

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By Natasha Senior

Storms have mercilessly battered Britain, one after the other over this festive period, bringing with them severe and unrelenting floods. The scale of damage and devastation was unprecedented, but it was not unpredictable. We’ve seen these storms growing with intensity every year. And, whilst a few might naively blame El Niño for this recent bout, we know that climate change is the driving factor. The government and general public appear to have accepted this, but even so, whenever a frank discussion about the consequences of climate change is put forward, it seems to be met with some underlying scepticism. This systematic dismissal of the difficult questions leaves us wholly unprepared for what’s to come and the recent floods have served as a sobering reminder of this.

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YES, AN ELECTORAL PACT WOULD BENEFIT LABOUR AND THE GREENS

By Elliot Folan

Once again, talk of a Green-Labour electoral pact has come back into the public eye, thanks to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn daring to not express outright hatred for Caroline Lucas, a position taken as suggesting a possible pact. Regardless of Corbyn’s actual intentions, the news item has gotten people discussing the possibility of a pact once again. As I suspected would happen, when I first wrote a piece on this issue earlier this year, there’s been a sceptical and sometimes angry reaction from some elements within the Green Party. One member, in particular, outlined their position in a Bright Green article, saying that “there are no guarantees, no accurate statistics, that suggest ‘Lefty’ electoral pacts will win seats”. I’d like to respond to anti-pact sentiments, and to that article in particular.Continue Reading

DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL? – AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN ROBB OF GOLDBLADE

by Chris Jarvis

For twenty years, Goldblade have been tearing up the British punk scene. Notorious for their anthemic, straight up punk rock with the odd bits and pieces borrowed from rockabilly, hardcore and street punk, the Manchester based band are infamous among fans for their energetic and powerful live performances (I once described them to a friend when I was fifteen as the best live band on the planet after seeing them open for Misfits on their 30th anniversary tour). But like many in the punk scene, Goldblade are also known for their political and social conscience, and so we decided to talk with their frontman John Robb about his political outlook, the relationship it has to his music and how he views it in a wider political context as part of our series Music That Matters.

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THE 10 BIGGEST POLITICAL LOSERS OF 2015

By Chris Jarvis

2015 has been a tumultuous year for politics. From the rise of the SNP to the shock victory of the Conservatives in the General Election and from the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party to the decimation of the Liberal Democrats, it has been a year like no other. As the year draws to a close, our Co-Editor, Chris Jarvis offers analysis as to who are the 10 biggest political losers of 2015.

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THE 10 BIGGEST POLITICAL WINNERS OF 2015

By Chris Jarvis

2015 has been a tumultuous year for politics. From the rise of the SNP to the shock victory of the Conservatives in the General Election and from the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party to the decimation of the Liberal Democrats, it has been a year like no other. As the year draws to a close, our Co-Editor Chris Jarvis offers analysis as to who are the 10 biggest political winners of 2015.

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THE POPPY IS A SYMBOL OF WAR

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by Robyn Banks

If I believe something, does that make it true? If you believe that the poppy is a symbol of peace and remembrance, does that mean you’re right and I’m wrong? Is the meaning of a cultural symbol decided by its creators, by the powers that be who would use it, or by the culture at large who see and understand the symbol? Or, is it simply enough to repeat something over again until it means what you want it to mean?

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MOMENTUM IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER

By Chris Jarvis

I’ve been a member of the Green Party of England and Wales for five and half years, and as such, I’m often criticised for sticking my oar into the internal affairs of other political parties, particularly in relation to my views on the Labour Party and its electoral and political strategies. But when it comes to the Labour Party, I just can’t help myself.

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HOW DO YOU STOP A WAR THAT HAS ALREADY STARTED?

By Jack Brindelli

“More than 1,000 people have taken part in a rally in central London to protest against the Government’s decision to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria.” That was how Sky News began their coverage of the latest Stop the War march on the 13th of December. Now I appreciate Sky have form when it comes to underestimating demonstrations, but a demo that can’t have been larger than 3000 gave them ample to chance to do so this time. Even so, the grandiose phrasing seems almost to pity what is a comatose giant of an organisation. Let’s just go over that again; “More than 1,000 people” from an organisation that once boasted a mobilisation of more than a million.

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UNITING THE FIGHTS – JUNIOR DOCTORS, AUSTERITY AND WAR

By Jack Brindelli

The world is in turmoil at home and abroad, and with rows over the savage autumn budget, and the ominously impending vote to bomb Syria, still taking up the majority of campaigners energies, it is easy for good news to fall through the cracks. Still, when a victory, or even a temporary stay of execution, is won, it is important not only to enjoy the moment, but also to ask why. This week the Junior Doctors stopped the government in their tracks, and goodness knows we could all use a formula for that.

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WITH LABOUR IN OPEN REVOLT AGAINST CORBYN, I’M STICKING WITH THE GREENS

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By Josiah Mortimer

It’s now three months since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party. For Greens, it’s posed some interesting questions.

For a start, Greens didn’t really know how to respond to the new political context. The party positioned itself as the left party for so long (and rightly), but few had thought about what might happen if the Labour Party actually turned left. Suddenly, the political space for the Greens appeared to shrink dramatically. And for a while, there was silence.Continue Reading

THE CHANGING FACE OF POVERTY IN LONDON

By Natasha Senior

I often hear that too many Westminster policies only benefit London. This part is technically true. London is not only the financial capital of the UK but the financial capital of the world—a fact reflected in how disproportionately powerful and wealthy it is compared to the rest of the UK. The country’s government and national media are both based in London which invariably means that the issues discussed will tend to be skewed towards the area (something I only realised when I moved away). But for all the ways you could describe the city’s privileged position—even if your personal choice of adjective is less than favourable (crowded, impersonal, selfish… etc.)—try to bear in mind what exactly you’re describing. Is it the City of London or the citizens of London? Because the distinction between them represents two profoundly different worlds, divided by wealth, housing and opportunity. This is a divide that deepens every year at an alarming rate.

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HUMAN RIGHTS FOR SALE

By Gunnar Eigener

“The State shall protect human rights in accordance with the Sharia”
Article 26, The Basic Law of Governance, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia have been let onto the UN Human Rights Council. Who thought this would be a good idea? Well, apparently the UK and US governments do. The US State Department welcomed the news, while the recently exposed deal between the UK and Saudi Arabia leaves us with little doubt over how the government feels about this appointment. David Cameron’s inability to justify the secretive deal in an interview with Jon Snow shows just how hollow any beliefs he proclaims to have in defending human rights are.

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CAMERON WOULD RATHER GO TO WAR THAN HELP A REFUGEE

by Natasha Senior

A photograph of a single refugee, a toddler in a red t-shirt, a lone and lifeless body washed up ashore, face down in the sand. This is what it took for the citizens of Europe to see the refugees for what they are, not as groups of migrants, scroungers and opportunists, but as human beings facing unimaginable horrors. But even the righteous indignation that has followed, galvanising citizens and governments across Europe into opening up their borders, their homes and their hearts, is not enough for this government and they remain as cold and ruthless as the waters that have claimed the lives of thousands of refugees’. Refusing to participate in an EU-wide quota system, David Cameron has instead thrown in a token gesture of accepting just 20,000 over the next 5 years, offering asylum only to those who have yet to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

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OUR POLITICAL WELFARE STATE: GREED AND IGNORANCE IN WESTMINSTER

by Gunnar Eigener


“Whenever governments adopt a moral tone- as opposed to an ethical one – you know something is wrong.”
John Ralston Saul

MPs and politicians talk about getting people off benefits and out of the welfare culture. Perhaps they should lead by example and get off the gravy train, courtesy of the taxpayer.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis has claimed around £31,000 in London hotel stays despite owning a home in Essex. Andrew Lansley, MP for South Cambridgeshire, has previously claimed £5950 in London hotel stays despite owning a flat about 1 mile from Parliament. Speaker John Bercow claimed £367 for travelling to Luton – to talk about the MPs expenses scandal. Richard Benyon MP, worth £110 million, received about £120,000 in housing benefits, largely from immigrant tenants in his properties. Yet he stated: “Labour want benefits to go up to more than the earnings of people in work. It isn’t fair and we will not let them bring back their something for nothing culture.”Continue Reading

COUNTRYSIDE SOCIALISM

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by Matilda Carter

Before I came to Norwich as a student and became properly involved in party politics, I grew up in Arundel & South Downs: one of the safest Tory majorities in the country. It might have been tempting to have painted my left wing politics as the product of rebelliousness or a rejection of the suffocatingly middle-class surroundings I grew up in, but the reality is something very different. My left wing views are not a rejection of a stale, middle-class, conservative environment, but a product of a very different kind of English socialism that was in abundance where I grew up. It is this countryside socialism which the Green party must tap into if the left are ever to win in Britain again.
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THE GATHERING STORM OF AUSTERITY

by Natasha Senior

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity national End Austerity demonstration takes place on Saturday 20th June. Assemble: 12pm, Bank of England (Queen Victoria Street). March to: Parliament Square. 

Like a storm in the sea sending a tidal surge our way, the past 5 years under austerity tell us of looming devastation.  We saw it gather momentum on the horizon, as the waves of cuts started to roll in — pay freezes for the public sector, caps on benefits and cuts to social housing. This left in its wake a falling GDP per capita, a decline in affordable housing, and the rise of food banks. And now that those responsible for this have been re-elected, we are shamelessly informed that the storm is not over, the worst is yet to come and we will not be rescued.Continue Reading

FIGHT AUSTERITY – MARCH ON THE STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT

by Hannah Sketchley, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

The State Opening of Parliament is a frankly bizarre occasion.  In the heat of the sun, lots of people wearing ludicrous uniforms parade around Parliament Square and the surrounding area, do a bit of figure marching and fence the public out of their roads to make way for the Queen.  Following the poor woman being wheeled around in what looks to be a terribly uncomfortable gilded coach for several hours, in and out of the figure marching furry hats, she toddles into Westminster, reads a speech someone shoves in front of her and bang!  The new government is consecrated, official and running the country for the next five years.

This year, the State Opening of Parliament is on Wednesday, May 27, and the Tories will have their government legitimised by every flavour of pomp and circumstance going.  They will do so with just 37% of the vote, and with the consent of 24% of eligible voters in the UK.Continue Reading

TIM FARRON COULD SAVE THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

by Chris Jarvis

Media outlets are covering the Labour Leadership election to the point of saturation, with countless people both within and outside of the party throwing around suggestions as to why Labour lost the election, and therefore who would be best place to succeed Ed Miliband. On the one side, there have been bitter New Labourites, such as Peter Mandelson and Dan Hodges who have been clamouring that Labour’s problem is that it has spent the last five years purporting some form of utopian Marxism, that is so radically unelectable that the party must lurch rightwards in order to appeal to the mythical floating, ‘centrist’ voter and in doing so, select a Blairite leadership candidate.

Likewise, many on the left, including ten of the 2015 intake of Labour MPs have argued instead that to emerge from their election defeat in one piece and to reconnect to the five million voters who left Labour since 1997, the party must oppose austerity, must challenge, rather than pander to, big business, and reject the recent neoliberal past. Resulting from the election and this subsequent debate, commentators have suggested that Labour is going through a process of ‘pasokification’ or else that is unable to effectively define what its purpose is, viewpoints not solely confined to the left – Channel 4’s Paul Mason has suggested that Labour is facing an existential crisis.Continue Reading

A NATION DIVIDED: TIME TO REBUILD THE FIGHT

by Chris Jarvis

We’re now set for five more years of Tory government. It will be vicious, it will be brutal, it will be hard. Cameron will govern without caution, without concern for electoral prospects and without hiding the ideological agenda which has driven the direction he has taken the country since 2010.

Since 2010 we have seen the decimation of the welfare state, creeping privatisation of the NHS and education, and the hollowing out of the public sector. From now on, this is only set to get worse. What has been touted by the Tories as economic prudence and getting the country in order will be accelerated. The shrinking of the state will begin in earnest.

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THE MASQUE OF APATHY

by Jack Brindelli

Last week, legendary British director Mike Leigh announced his next film project was to be a dramatisation of the events surrounding the Peterloo Massacre. Leigh reportedly plans to begin in 2017, two years before the massacre’s second centenary, and cited its “universal political significance” as to why it was such an important story to re-tell now. That universal significance, the political mainstream would have you believe, was as a fable to remind us of the importance of using our right to vote. People died fighting for your vote after all.

The slaughter itself took place on St Peter’s Field, Manchester on the 16th of August 1819, when a crowd of up to 80,000 ordinary people gathered to demand that they be represented by parliament. When local magistrates called for the arrest of radical orator Henry Hunt, an armed cavalry charge sent to capture him and disperse the crowd murdered 15 civilians in cold blood, and wounded as many as 700 — an act of ‘heroism’ that seems to inspire the London Metropolitan police to this day.

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COMMON PEOPLE

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by Jack Brindelli

May 2015 is a landmark in modern British culture, and it just so happens to coincide with a general election where, more and more, being seen as ‘one of us’ is adjudged more important than actually helping us. Next month, it will have two whole decades since the original release of Pulp’s tragically timeless ‘Common People’. The song — which is broadly recognised as one of the defining anthems of Britpop, reached number 2 in the charts 20 years ago — was kept from the supposedly prestigious top spot by the caterwauling Robson-and-bloody-Jerome.

But while Unchained Melody limped on for another 5 years thanks to a cringing Gareth Gates cover, only Pulp’s music can truly be said to have stood the test of time; misinterpreted as it is to this very day by the crowd of preening, self-obsessed hipsters who regularly grace St Benedict’s Street on a Saturday night. And I have to ask before I get bogged down in polemic, if any of our readers might happen to be amongst the number whooping and prancing about in the Birdcage to this, how can you not see that this song is a howling stab of rage directed at poverty tourists like you?

Have you quaffed so much craft ale that the world is just a tweed-patterned blur at this stage, or is your fashionably unkempt lumberjack beard just growing upwards into your brain?Continue Reading

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS IN THE AUSTERITY ELECTION

by David Peel

When you think of anti-austerity movements changing the face of national and international politics, you don’t think of Britain.

Greece and Spain, yes. Ireland to an extent. Portugal, Italy, and of course Iceland, where the people ousted the government, put the corrupt bankers in jail, and then rewrote the constitution. But here? Well, this is a country that once beheaded its king, and during the civil war produced movements and ideas of freedom and social justice far, far ahead of its times.

Has there been a mass character transplant of the British people in all its diversity and wondrous multi-culturalism? Have we become lambs to the slaughter?
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