THE MORNING AFTER #GE2019

The Norwich Radical Editorial Team

By now you’ve seen the headlines. There’s no easy way to say this: in the coming months and years, many in this country and elsewhere will suffer under a Tory government led by a racist liar. Social services will be dismembered. Workers’ rights will be eroded. Vulnerable people will face violence at the hands of increasingly aggressive immigration authorities and police. All of which will be sanctioned, incited, and protected by the country’s highest authorities and institutions.Continue Reading

DR ANDREW BOSWELL, GREEN PARTY BROADLAND CANDIDATE #GE2019

The Norwich Radical editorial team has asked candidates for the constituencies of Norwich South, Norwich North, and Broadland, Norfolk to contribute a short piece regarding the upcoming General Election on 12th December 2019. We have contacted all candidates belonging to parties that reflect or adhere to our values as seen in our Founding Statement, highlighting what role they see their candidacy playing in the coming years in a changing political landscape, their vision of what Norwich’s role should be, and how they will approach that in practice. These are the responses from the candidates who replied.

Dr Andrew Boswell

We are living in dangerous times, dark times.  The country is deeply divided over our place in the world – the Brexit crisis – whether we align with Europe or we align with Donald Trump’s US.

And we face a Climate and Ecological Emergency, our young people desperately calling for action to literally save the planet and save their futures.  They are literally showing the leadership that political leaders have failed to grasp for decades. On both issues, people feel that democracy has failed.  Trust in politicians is eroded.

This is the most important election for a generation, and the result of the election could shape the future for many generations if we miss the opportunity to take radical action on climate change and influence the world to do so too.  Continue Reading

KAREN DAVIS, LABOUR PARTY NORWICH NORTH CANDIDATE #GE2019

The Norwich Radical editorial team has asked candidates for the constituencies of Norwich South, Norwich North, and Broadland, Norfolk to contribute a short piece regarding the upcoming General Election on 12th December 2019. We have contacted all candidates belonging to parties that reflect or adhere to our values as seen in our Founding Statement, highlighting what role they see their candidacy playing in the coming years in a changing political landscape, their vision of what Norwich’s role should be, and how they will approach that in practice. These are the responses from the candidates who replied.

Karen Davis

People are fed up with career politicians who’ve never had to struggle to get by. I know exactly what that’s like and will never forget where I’ve come from. I believe the place and the people who put you in Parliament should always come first. I grew up in Norfolk and have lived in Norwich for 20 years. Most of my jobs have been insecure and low paid and I did my teaching degree at UEA juggling childcare and studies.Continue Reading

ADRIAN HOLMES, GREEN PARTY NORWICH NORTH CANDIDATE #GE2019

The Norwich Radical editorial team has asked candidates for the constituencies of Norwich South, Norwich North, and Broadland, Norfolk to contribute a short piece regarding the upcoming General Election on 12th December 2019. We have contacted all candidates belonging to parties that reflect or adhere to our values as seen in our Founding Statement, highlighting what role they see their candidacy playing in the coming years in a changing political landscape, their vision of what Norwich’s role should be, and how they will approach that in practice. These are the responses from the candidates who replied.

Adrian Holmes

As a Green Party candidate at this election and in previous elections, I see my role as standard-bearer for a movement away from a competitive and environmentally damaging way of life to a genuinely sustainable society. By sustainable I mean one that is concerned with environmental and social justice. An end to consumerism and towards a circular economy where waste is radically reduced by making goods made to last that can be upgraded or reused. I want to see a fundamental change in the way politics is practised from the bottom up. I believe that the political landscape today is far too top-down oriented. I want to see the creation of Citizens assemblies as a forum for continuing political discussion and decision-making at the local level. I want to see citizens assemblies feeding into to a reformed Parliament which is based on proportional representation. The job of the MP would be listening to and reporting back from citizens assemblies as well as still voting as informed individuals on matters of conscience.Continue Reading

DR CATHERINE ROWETT, GREEN PARTY NORWICH SOUTH CANDIDATE #GE2019

The Norwich Radical editorial team has asked candidates for the constituencies of Norwich South, Norwich North, and Broadland, Norfolk to contribute a short piece regarding the upcoming General Election on 12th December 2019. We have contacted all candidates belonging to parties that reflect or adhere to our values as seen in our Founding Statement, highlighting what role they see their candidacy playing in the coming years in a changing political landscape, their vision of what Norwich’s role should be, and how they will approach that in practice. These are the responses from the candidates who replied.

Dr Catherine Rowett

I have been serving as the Green Party MEP for the East of England since May last year. Most impressive in that election were the rise in Green Party representation (up from three to seven MEPs) and the spectacular result in Norwich, where the Green vote outstripped all other parties—with a lead of over 3,000 votes over the Labour Party.

Norwich has always known that voting Green is a serious option. Under proportional representation, and in local elections, voting Green gets results. In the Vote for Policies websites, Green policies score highly. One of our key policies—perhaps the most important reason to vote Green, next after the climate—is voting reform. Had this country had Proportional Representation by 2015, we would not be in the pickle we are now in, I submit. And if we don’t get PR now, much more is at risk: the unity of the United Kingdom, for instance; even our representative democracy as such.Continue Reading

GENERAL ELECTION: A JEWISH LEFTIST’S THOUGHTS

by Tamar Moshkovitz

This was originally posted as a personal reflection, but the editorial team approached me after reading, and we thought it might find a different, perhaps wider audience on The Norwich Radical. 

I’ve been finding it harder and harder to stay silent on the lead up to this general election. Not only because I feel that it’ll be a major defining moment in the history of the UK – which it will; for anyone who’s not registered to vote yet, please do so here – but because every time I think about saying what I think I get hopelessly tangled up in the mess of being both Jewish and a leftist.Continue Reading

THIS ELECTION IS THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES – HERE’S HOW WE CAN WIN IT

By Bradley Allsop

The world is on the brink. A shattered environment, gargantuan inequality, a burgeoning mental health crisis, fascism openly spreading across Europe, public services at breaking point… but also the possibility of more radical and progressive change than we’ve seen in decades. Higher education specifically also faces two radically different paths ahead of it: continued marketisation, eroding academic integrity, burdening a generation with enormous debt, crushing academics under enormous workloads, increasingly insecure employment and workplace stress – or publicly funded higher education that opens up space to imagine and create a different sort of campus.

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2017: THE YEAR OF THE YOUTHQUAKE?

by Bradley Allsop

Youth voter turnout has long been a topic of debate, controversy and worry in British politics. Always below the national average, it has plunged even more than other age-groups’ dovetailing turnout in recent decades, sparking expressions of concern (although comparatively little policy change) from political parties. This seemed to have changed last June, with sites such as Yougov and NME reporting large increases in the youth vote for the 2017 general election, with the figures suggesting the largest rise in youth turnout in British political history.

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PARTY CONFERENCE SEASON RECAP

by Chris Jarvis

Political punditry’s busiest time of the year has come to a close, as most of Britain’s political parties have wrapped up their annual festivals of spin, spectacle and speculation – only Plaid Cymru and the Scottish Greens remain un-conferenced. What a season it has been.

Typically speaking, party conferences go mostly  unnoticed, change little in the political landscape, and are quickly forgotten as the cogs of history whirr on unshaken. 2017 will be more than an aberration to that pattern. True, the ‘smaller’ parties failed to make a mark this time round too. Little of note came out of the SNP or Green Party of England and Wales conferences. The sole memorable moment of the Liberal Democrat soiree was the laughable assertions trotted out to the press time and again, that Vince Cable could soon be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. UKIP’s will only be recalled as the final subdued howl of Little England defiance as it casts itself into electoral and political irrelevance. That notwithstanding, this year was a bumper crop.Continue Reading

JUNE 8TH, 2017: THE DAY JEREMY CORBYN SAVED THE LABOUR PARTY (PART 2)

by Elliot Folan

It’s hard now to remember just a few months ago, when Labour was being written off entirely and was hovering at around 25% in opinion polls. As I outlined in the first part of this article, heading into the 2017 general election Labour faced enormous challenges – some of them recent, but most of them deep-rooted. To overcome them, Jeremy Corbyn needed to lead the Labour Party to the sort of popular vote swing achieved only once by Labour since WW2, and to gain nearly 100 seats, a figure only managed by one Labour leader since Attlee.

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JUNE 8TH, 2017: THE DAY JEREMY CORBYN SAVED THE LABOUR PARTY (PART 1)

by Elliot Folan

It was perhaps naïve, but I had hoped that the 2017 general election result had settled the argument about Jeremy Corbyn’s electability. It certainly settled it for me. However, a shrinking minority of critics continue to insist that he must go, insisting that as he lost the 2017 election, he will lose the next. In these two articles I’d like to avoid personalising the issue and simply demonstrate two things:

  1. Firstly, that winning the 2017 election outright was a Herculean task under any leadership – after devastating losses in 2010 and 2015, a minority government would have been the best possible result, and even then it was incredibly unlikely;
  1. And secondly, that Corbyn’s performance in June 2017 has all but guaranteed that the next government will be led by the Labour Party, either as a majority or minority government. I’ll examine this in Part 2.

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THE RIGHT ARE RUNNING SCARED – A RESPONSE TO TOM WELSH

by Lewis Martin

In the midst of right-wing confusion about Jeremy Corbyn’s continuing support amongst the young, following a supposed u-turn on his flagship policy to scrap student debt, Tom Welsh of the Telegraph has unveiled a new thesis: the left will continue its resurgence so long as too many go to university*. His argument is as ridiculous as the title makes it sound, and his article is full of claims that are absurd, patronising and completely unsupported.

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LIBERALISM HAS NEVER BEEN STRONGER, LET’S KEEP IT THAT WAY

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by Sunetra Senior

A few days after Trump’s Presidential win, an article by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz – entitled Under President Trump Radical Hope is Our Best Weapon published in The New Yorker – went viral. In it, the Dominican writer called out Trump as a ‘misogynist’ and ‘racial demagogue’, and principally defended multiculturalism stating that in order to recuperate: ‘we need to bear witness to what we have lost: our safety, our sense of belonging, our vision of our country’. He further argued that the best way to do this was to employ a concept called ‘Radical Hope’.

This, according to the creator of the philosophy Jonathan Lear, is a determined sort of hope that tackles mass trauma by being “directed toward a future goodness which transcends the current ability to understand what it is.” Here, I would like to highlight the British Labour Party’s recent parliamentary progress as not only encapsulating this, but also expanding Díaz’ original proposed vision. Corbyn and his recently more socially democratic party so successfully delivered Radical Hope that it not only revived the liberal spirit, but the possibility of a truly equitable world.Continue Reading

CLIVE LEWIS MUST FIRMLY AND RESOLUTELY REPRESENT PROGRESSIVE NORWICH

by Joe Burns

Clive Lewis must enforce the views of his progressive Norwich voters in this time of social crisis and DUP invasion. Our capital city has suffered in the weeks since the election, more clearly defining the need for a fully committed left-wing Government to begin to enact real change and progress.

After both the local election in May and the general election earlier this month, Labour is now absolutely the most popular party in Norwich. Clive Lewis, Norwich South Labour MP, did far more than just hold on to his seat – he doubled his majority in the constituency with 61 percent of the vote. He blatantly took Green and Liberal Democrat votes as both parties suffered substantial losses, especially Norwich Green Party which suffered a drop of 11 percent. In Norwich North, Chloe Smith barely held her seat in Westminster. The Conservative MP took just 507 more votes than Labour’s Chris Jones.

It wasn’t a good election for those hoping for a future in which many parties contest seats and work together to represent communities, but with obviously increasing support from young and old liberals, Clive Lewis must absolutely continue fighting for strong and aggressive liberalism from Norwich when he’s in Parliament.Continue Reading

UKIP: THE ORIGINAL RADICALS

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by James Anthony

Following the recent elections both locally in Norfolk and nationally at Westminster, many of us will have been enjoying the demise of the entity we all know as ‘UKIP’ – the United Kingdom Independence Party. With many realising that their main objective of leaving the European Union has been all but completed, the electorate have decisively rejected their flimsy, populist, far right manifesto and consigned the party to the history books.

It’s hard to believe that they were ever a considerable electoral force, this year picking up just under 2% of the vote, losing all of their incumbent 145 local councillors and their only seat in parliament less than twelve months after their referendum victory. UKIP campaigners were keen to talk about voters returning to them, but this clearly didn’t materialise.Continue Reading

THE LEFT HAS DEFIED THE ODDS. NOW WE NEED TO SHAPE HISTORY.

by Bradley Allsop

For the third time in a year an earthquake has rocked the political establishment, upsetting polls, pundits and precedent alike. Yet this time, unlike the division and isolation of Brexit, or the utter horror of Trump, we instead have hope. Snatching insurgence from the jaws of implosion, Labour and the broader left have risen to the edge of power. Yet whilst the election result was an excellent start, surviving the challenges our society faces will require much more. We need to build a movement which aims for nothing less than a complete transformation of our society. It is crucial now that we do not succumb to hubris or allow ourselves to be absorbed by the internal Conservative party debates – we need to use the time granted by their division to plan, organise and mobilise the movement that will transform Britain.

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YOUNG ONES, PULL UP A CHAIR! HERE’S THE STORY OF HOW YOU SAVED US ALL.

by Natasha Senior

I was considered a youth once, only a few years ago in fact. Yes, I remember those days. Casting my first ballot in 2010 in favour of the Liberal Democrats; the Hung Parliament that resulted; the slight guilt I felt for being complicit in hanging said Parliament. But never fear, I thought, the politicians know what they’re doing. It’s fine. The Lib-Dems have partnered up with the Tories.

But it wasn’t fine, because that whole tuition-fee-£9000-a-year-wtf palaver happened. This is when I felt political disappointment for the first time, and I have most other times subsequently.Continue Reading

WHO ARE THE DUP?

by Zoe Harding

Content warning: article mentions terrorism, (anti) abortion, homophobia, racism

So, the election was fun, right? Even if you didn’t vote Labour (and fair enough if you didn’t), watching Theresa May fall from an unassailable lead in the polls all the way to a humiliatingly hung Parliament, in a blizzard of vague soundbites, invasive and inadequate policies and flailing attempts to smear the opposition, was still rather viscerally satisfying in its own way. Early Friday morning saw a weird sense of relief from many who expected a Tory landslide.

Unfortunately, early Friday morning turned to mid-Friday morning, and then suddenly dove back into the bad old days, with the announcement that a desperate May government had decided to form a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order to form a government.Continue Reading

THE 2017 GENERAL ELECTION – LEFT US HANGING

by The Norwich Radical

The following piece was created, compiled and co-written by a number of Norwich Radical contributors, across a number of locations, devices, and even countries. We followed the exit polls, the first counts, the calculations and predictions as they became available across the media. We do not have any inside information, but have combined our experience and information during the night to produce this article in time for the morning readers.

There is no final result confirmed at the time of publication, but it has been confirmed that we have a hung parliament, as it is mathematically impossible for any party to claim an overall majority.

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A BEGINNING, NOT THE END – THE 2017 GENERAL ELECTION

by Chris Jarvis

In a couple of hours, polling stations will close, and the fate of the United Kingdom will have been decided. Throughout the night the gentle trickling of results will sprinkle their way in, as the aftermath of the most fascinating election for a generation will begin to unravel. Psephologists will debate the relative merits of their predictions, political spin-artists will argue their respective parties have actually done quite a lot better than they expected, and the hacks (myself included), will drift further into the early hours, wearing out their laptop keys.

Right now, we know that the election campaign has been riddled with ups and with downs. We’ve seen Labour climb steadily in the polls, narrowing the Tory lead from over 20 points to single figures; two atrocities claimed the lives of 34 people; campaigning was suspended twice; the Tories launched a manifesto into a whirlwind of negativity; UKIP’s support collapsed; and Labour proposed a political programme further to the left of any Government in four decades. Any one of those alone would make this election remarkable. Combined they make it unique.

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THE PARADOX OF TORY EDUCATION POLICY – STUDENTS AND THE ELECTION #7

by Alex Powell

In the midst of multiple crises faced by students, universities and schools, the outcome of the snap general election will be a major indicator of the future of the UK education sector. Each week until the vote we are featuring perspectives from our regular contributors and guests on what the election could mean for students.

There is a severe dissonance between the conception of higher education that the Conservatives purport to support and the policies presented in their 2017 manifesto. In order to show this I have to work from within the Tory understanding of the purpose of higher education, and the role international students play within achieving that. Despite my adoption of this form of argumentation, I wish to make it clear that I do not subscribe to the idea that higher education is purely about reputation, financial stability, or the production of an effective workforce. Further, I do not accept the idea that international students are valuable only in terms of what they can offer to either educational institutions or the UK more generally. The current treatment of international students, and the blatant disregard shown for their welfare, is one of the most indefensible aspects of modern higher education policy.

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THE DECISION FOR PROGRESSIVES IN NORWICH SOUTH

world votes radical

by Joe Burns

Progressives in the constituency of Norwich South have a difficult decision to make tomorrow. It is a decision that has come up many times before. Do you vote for the party that you most strongly align with or do you tactically vote to keep Conservatives out? It might be that few in Norwich want a Conservative government in power, but is voting for a weak opponent to the Tories a risk worth taking? Aren’t Labour popular enough in the city to win without the support of Green Party or Liberal Democrat voters? Weighing those odds is tricky.

In many constituencies around the country the decision is relatively easy. There are dozens of websites that can quickly and straightforwardly tell you which party to vote for in your area if you want to vote for the party with the greatest chance of keeping the Tories out. This is the case in zones where Tory and Labour candidates score closely and no other party comes close to matching them. If you’re a small party voter then your vote makes little difference to the outcome anyway.Continue Reading

IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN? – STUDENTS AND THE ELECTION #6

from a member of UEA Labour Students

In the midst of multiple crises faced by students, universities and schools, the outcome of the snap general election will be a major indicator of the future of the UK education sector. Each week until the vote we are featuring perspectives from our regular contributors and guests on what the election could mean for students.

Having resolved to sit down today and write this article, I’m struck by the appropriateness of my day. I caught the bus to UEA from outside one of the few remaining Sure Start centres, a public service provided by the last Labour government which has been decimated by the Conservatives (and Liberal Democrats) since 2010. My bus was 40 minutes late, the consequence of a privatised, under-funded service – and even the previously UEA-hosted launderette I went to had been privatised since I last used it. It served as a strong reminder of the power of Labour government to change lives for the better, which contrasts with the crumbling services and privatisation festival that has characterised the last 7 years of Conservative and ConDem government.

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DON’T JUST VOTE

by Will Durant

There is a particular and widespread attitude to voting that is well meaning but ultimately futile. It goes something like this: “I don’t care how you vote, just vote!” We find a typical example of this attitude from a 2015 Mirror article. What are these reasons? (1) It helps your credit rating, (2) young people vote far less than older people, (3) people fought and died to win for you to vote and (4) non-voters can change the outcome of an election. These reasons do indeed hold true for our election in 2017. In fact, as I write, the YouGov polls giving Labour a vote surge rely heavily on a big turnout from the young.

There is, however, something very strange about this attitude to voting. Although it tells you that it is possible, it gives no reason for why you would want to change the outcome of the election, it is simply something to do. Without advocating any particular outcome, this rationale for voting manages to make it apolitical.Continue Reading

REVIEW: STATE AND SOCIETY, BY MARTIN PUGH

by Toby Gill

When Theresa May announced her snap election, I was travelling across Japan. At the time I was spending a lot of time on a variety of very slow trains (the famous bullet trains were somewhat beyond our budget). This gave me a lot of down-time to ponder my electoral choices, and consider which way I should vote. It also gave me a lot of time to read the latest tome of modern history I had picked up: Martin Pugh’s State and Society; a social and political history of Britain since 1870. It is not a politicised book; it markets itself as a rigorous work of academic history, designed to introduce new undergraduates to the period – a task it performs superbly.

However, this is a politicised book review.Continue Reading

FROM ADRIAN HOLMES, GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR NORWICH NORTH

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by Adrian Holmes, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Norwich North

Having lived in Norwich since 1990 I’ve seen what Chloe Smith and the Tories have done to the North of the city over the last 7 years. The effects that she’s had on the north of the city and the surrounding areas are devastating and potentially ever-lasting. I’m running as Norwich North candidate for the Green Party because I believe that this doesn’t have to be the case. I believe that we can build a better, safer and greener future by unseating Chloe Smith and the rest of the Tories up and down the country.

Having been a part of the save Wensum valley campaign I have witnessed the effects that have taken place on the Norwich and Norfolk countryside. Under continued threat from those who believe that these places can easily be replaced, I have campaigned for the ending of building on Marritott’s Way as well as the expansion of the Northern Distributor Road through the area, which has and will destroy much of the natural wildlife in the area, as well as coming in at millions of pounds over budget.Continue Reading

A RAY OF HOPE – STUDENTS AND THE ELECTION #5

by the UEA Young Greens

In the midst of multiple crises faced by students, universities and schools, the outcome of the snap general election will be a major indicator of the future of the UK education sector. Each week until the vote we are featuring perspectives from our regular contributors and guests on what the election could mean for students.

On June the 8th the country will head to the polls for Mrs May’s snap election. This election has been called because, in a remarkable display of hubris, May and her Tory cohort expect to win a huge majority so she can continue to pursue her campaign of cuts whilst also pushing for a Hard Brexit. If they’re right, the future looks rather grim.

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VOTE PROGRESSIVE, VOTE FOR OUR FUTURE – STUDENTS AND THE ELECTION #4

by Lewis Martin

In the midst of multiple crises faced by students, universities and schools, the outcome of the snap general election will be a major indicator of the future of the UK education sector. Each week until the vote we are featuring perspectives from our regular contributors and guests on what the election could mean for students.

There is a lot of fear about the morning of June 9th. Will we wake up to a Tory super-majority that will see them stay in charge for the next 15 years? To a renewed age of cuts that hurt the poorest and most vulnerable in society, that disembowel the education system from primary to higher, and that destroy the environmental protections (or ‘Green Crap’) that will ensure that we have a safer and more secure future for our world? Or will the sun rise on something else? With the polls getting closer and closer, a miraculous Labour Party win isn’t off the table just yet.

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FROM RICHARD BEARMAN, GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR NORWICH SOUTH

world votes radical

by Richard Bearman, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Norwich South

I have been member of the Green Party (GPEW) since 2003 and was elected as a Green Party county councillor for Mancroft ward in 2009, and again in 2013. In that time I, alongside the other county councillors in the green group, have managed to pass motions and lead campaigns that have benefited the city of Norwich as well as the Wider Norfolk Community. Our biggest success was the reversal of the decision to pursue devolution in East Anglia, something I heavily campaigned against.

I’m running in Norwich South for a number of reasons. Norwich is a fine city that I have lived in for over 30 years and I believe it needs the strongest possible leadership in parliament for it. This is something I believe I can do.Continue Reading

CREATIVE & PROGRESSIVE VOICES – STUDENTS AND THE ELECTION #3

by Laura Potts

In the midst of multiple crises faced by students, universities and schools, the outcome of the snap general election will be a major indicator of the future of the UK education sector. Each week until the vote we are featuring perspectives from our regular contributors and guests on what the election could mean for students.

The snap election. The vote looming over the future. We in the UK have the privilege of affecting the result. As students, young people and members of a fast changing world, voting in a western country like ours means more than just influencing your own future. Electing certain policies through parties can drastically alter how Britain relates to the rest of the world. How the next generation develop, what they value, and the state of the planet they will live on are all on the line. It is crucially important, therefore, for us each to familiarise ourselves with each party’s policies and plans. Not only is it vital to consider how these policies will affect broader issues such as the environment or foreign relations, it is also vital to be sure that the party you vote for stands to protect what you value in your country.

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EVERY VOTE COUNTS – STUDENTS AND THE ELECTION #2

by Alex Powell

In the midst of multiple crises faced by students, universities and schools, the outcome of the snap general election will be a major indicator of the future of the UK education sector. Each week until the vote we are featuring perspectives from our regular contributors and guests on what the election could mean for students.

I can’t be the only one growing a little exhausted with all these elections, right? Nonetheless, tired as we are, it has never been more important that we all get out and vote. In the local elections we saw something of a decimation of left leaning parties, to the benefit of the Tories. What’s more, those elections featured some astoundingly low turnout figures, many below 30%. As a result of this, I feel it is incumbent on me to encourage anyone reading this to ensure that they get out and vote in the general election on June 8th.

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STUDENTS NEED A REVOLUTION – STUDENTS AND THE ELECTION #1

by Bradley Allsop

In the midst of multiple crises faced by students, universities and schools, the outcome of the snap general election will be a major indicator of the future of the UK education sector. Each week until the vote we are featuring perspectives from our regular contributors and guests on what the election could mean for students.

Students have been at the forefront of progressive politics and change throughout the centuries. We were engaged in the 1848 revolutions that shook Europe, and front and centre of a wave of radical protest that shook the world in 1968. We played a part in challenging apartheid in South Africa and the continued Israeli abuse of the Palestinian people. Most recently we are leading the way on fossil fuel divestment.

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NORWICH GOES BLINDLY TO RED

by Joe Burns

In the county council elections that took place last week, Labour unquestionably took Norwich. They won twelve of the thirteen wards in the city. Although it is good news that the Conservatives continue to play no part of governance in the city, it is a sad day for true progressives. Voter turnout was a shameful 34.51 percent and the voting system we have means that even though more people voted against the Tories than for them in the county, they won the most seats. Obviously, as Richard Bearman (Norwich Green Party) says, we need a proportional representation system, but that is a matter for another time.

At county level, the Conservatives had a predictably great day at the expense of UKIP, whose past supporters seem to favour the dishonesty and intolerance of the current Tory government. Indeed, the views of many UKIP supporters have now been adopted by the Tories, most notable their stance on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

Although The Green Party won four seats in the 2013 county council elections (all in Norwich), the defection of Adrian Dearnley to the Conservatives late last year meant that Norwich Green Party were left with three seats to defend in this most recent county council election. Unfortunately, voters seem to have turned away in favour of Labour.Continue Reading

THE LOCAL ELECTIONS: DON’T GET DISHEARTENED. GET MAD.

get mad furious cinema

by Toby Gill

Content warning: article mentions xenophobia and racism

There’s no way of hiding it, Labour took a beating on May 4th. Losing control of 7 councils while the Conservatives gained 11, the Tories now hold 28 councils to Labour’s 9. Overall, the Conservatives gained 563 seats, while Labour lost 382.

The left-of-centre media has been united in their response to these results; the internet is strewn with articles heavy with despair and foreboding. Such was the synchrony and unanimity of this outcry, that our nation’s journalists have almost come to resemble a marching band in procession behind the coffin of progressive politics itself.

Yet this despair is misplaced. For these commentaries seem to treat the Local Elections as little more than another poll for the upcoming General Election. Except this poll is even more significant, because it employs a real electorate.

This belief could not be further from the truth. I am here to tell you that the correct response to the Local Elections is not to get disheartened, it is to get mad. Continue Reading

LOCALLY SPEAKING POLITICS: DEBATES MATTER

by Joe Burns

Theresa May has announced a general election that is set to take place on June 8. Some might say this is a bold move, a drastic U-turn that goes against previous remarks, though I argue it is only a cheap and damaging attack on a struggling opposition that highlights her opportunistic immorality. Of course, she remembers her promise to not call an early general election, but she smells Labour blood and cannot resist.

In usual general elections, leaders of political parties are asked to take part in debates with each other and the general public on television, sometimes live. I believe that live televised debates should be a mandatory part of every major election, especially general elections and local council elections. Live debate with unrehearsed questioning is the best tactic for accessing a politician’s true beliefs, as those that truly believe in what they stand for have unguided, spontaneous responses that show they’re the right people to lead the county. Theresa May’s instant tantrum about the idea of televised debates displays her complete lack of interest in speaking to the people.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

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

WHY TRADITIONAL CAMPAIGNING NEEDS A COMEBACK

by James Anthony

The other week, I made the decision to purchase train tickets for a 4AM journey down to London, just a few days before all of my university coursework was due. As with many other activists across the country, I was off to spend the first day of December in Richmond Park talking to voters for the parliamentary by-election taking place there. Some people might call that a stupid decision – and they’re probably correct – but there is an important reason as to why I did it. It’s the same reason that I trudged the streets of Norwich in May and again in June this year putting bits of paper through letter boxes and knocking on doors as I went around. I believe that traditional political campaigning holds the key to winning elections.Continue Reading

PRETENSION IS A SCOURGE

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by Sunetra Senior

On Friday June 23rd 2016, millions of us woke up to the rattling reality of a momentous decision: the pound had plummeted to a 31-year low, our young people had lost the right to live and work nearby abroad, and oh yes – the UK as we knew it was now officially in a state of civil conflict. But this isn’t going to be another article about how we should respect the people who voted Leave – though of course we should – nor one that commiserates upon how we’ve tragically lost touch with the ‘underprivileged and disadvantaged’ of us, for the simple fact that it is the sole circulation – and indulgence of – such statements that is fanning the right-wing heat blowing an insidious hole through our country.

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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

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

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

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE PARTY

by Natasha Senior

When George Osborne took to the stage at the Conservative party conference, he had an air of confidence that spoke volumes. He tapped into a sense that has been palpable for a while now, the widely held belief that he is the saviour of the British economy. Soaked with ambition, he painted for us his bold and vibrant vision for Britain, creating a northern powerhouse and putting the working, taxpaying people at the heart of his plans. He decreed his party the builders of Britain and the only true party of labour whilst unapologetically championing his more liberal politics. Then as the applause rolled in, showering him with reverence and adoration, the next five years unfolded in front of me and I could see this man winning the 2020 general election. The thought of it made me feel sick to my stomach.Continue Reading

CULTURE CU*TS

by Mike Vinti

The future of the BBC is uncertain. Despite John Whittingdale’s assurances everything is going to be ok, you can’t help but wonder — if they’re abolishing grants for disadvantaged students, cutting disability benefits and generally meddling in the NHS, why would they save the BBC? As the Tories start to enact their new budget, it seems nothing is safe.

The cuts have already started. Though its programming has been weak in recent years, the loss of BBC Three is symbolic of the Tories plans for the rest of the broadcaster. It hardly seems like a coincidence, especially in the context of Osbourne’s refusal to scrap the free license fee for over 65s, that the BBC’s youth-focused channel was A) its most neglected or B) the first of its services to go. The Tories’ cuts to the welfare state have disproportionately affected young people ,and if previous attempts are anything to go by, so will its gradual disintegration of the BBC.

This will be easy for Cameron and his underlings in the department of Culture, Media and Sport to achieve. The BBC has been losing young viewers and listeners from its TV and Radio stations for years.Continue Reading

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, DECENTRALISING CAMPAIGNS, AND ORGANISING COMMUNITIES – WHY TOM WATSON MP IS STANDING TO BE LABOUR’S DEPUTY LEADER

Whether we like it or not, the Labour Party is the largest vehicle of progressive electoral politics, not only in terms of membership and number of parliamentarians, but also in the impact it has had on our political system and society. Labour are currently debating their past, present and future through both a Leadership and a Deputy Leadership election.  We have contacted all the candidates standing in both of these elections, asking them to explain their vision for the Labour Party and the country and we will be publishing their responses over the coming weeks.

by Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East

The politics of organisation matter. A lot. I’m seeking the deputy leadership to do one thing: write and execute the election battle plan so that our new leader will be Prime Minister.

I’m not underestimating the scale of the task but our ambition should be to win back power in 2020. The politics of organisation are central to the existential debate that’s now taking place in the party. Our leadership candidates are setting out their vision, explaining how they will appeal to the country, and offering their analysis of what went right and wrong with our policy agenda in the campaign. I want to make sure we don’t lose sight of what went wrong with our campaigns and election organisation.Continue Reading

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

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE

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by Jack Brindelli

Contains spoilers.

Let’s get something perfectly straight. The proponents of 21st century capitalism do not want to be your friend. As much as the likes of Starbucks and Apple might wax lyrical about fair-trade, rainforest friendly, organic, aspirational community funds,, they are not interested in improving your living standards, and they don’t care if you dream big, or live with dignity. They have only one true desire; —they want to bleed you like a stuck pig until your veins run dry, and their cups overflow with crimson cascades of our life-force. Metaphorically…  more or less.

And we know it too. Capitalism, like any self-respecting cannibal, wears a human face — but it sits uneasily with us. Subconsciously we know that even in a world where it is the dominant ideology, it has all the sincerity of a crocodile’s grin. That’s why we all need a sanctuary — a place of refuge from the dull buzzing rhetoric of productivity, aspiration and progress that continuously echo round our heads every time we tune into society.Continue Reading

IF CLIMATE CHANGE WAS AN ILLNESS, WE WOULD IMMEDIATELY START TREATMENT

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by Dr. Hayley Pinto

About 18 months ago I had a life changing experience. I read the intergovernmental panel on climate change report. Before that I thought I was reasonably environmentally aware. I wasn’t. The more I have read, the more evident it seems that climate change is the defining issue of our age. We are on the brink of making our planet uninhabitable, for everyone — not just the poor, the vulnerable, people in Africa and Bangladesh, but also for the rich and privileged, those who have contributed to the problem and those who have not.

Climate change is not just a matter of global warming. A hotter planet means drought, floods, storms and sea level rise. These things are already happening. The 11 million people living in Brazil’s Sao Paolo are experiencing a drought so severe they are trying to drill wells through concrete in the city centre. California is in its 5th year of drought.Continue Reading

GOVERNMENT SLASHES COUNCIL FUNDING – THE GREEN PARTY VIEW

by Andrew Boswell and Richard Bearman, The Norwich Green Party

During the General Election campaign, the Green Party warned of another 5 years of continuing and unprecedented cuts to Local Authority budgets.  We pointed out that the coalition and Labour backed the ongoing austerity programme, and that only the Green Party, SNP, and Plaid Cymru opposed this assault on public services.  Unfortunately the election was strongly influenced by the TV party leaders debate, together with misleading sound bites and on-the-hoof policy changes designed to win over undecided voters.  The election outcome does not reflect the lack of public support for more cuts to local services.

But plans announced this week by Norfolk County Council are seeing more devastating cuts to public services in Norfolk.  Under its ‘Re-imagining Norfolk’ strategy, the Council has asked councillors and officers to plan for 25% of cuts to services in its Budget for the next 3 years.  Current government funding reductions, pushed through by the Tories nationally, will require the council to cut its services by at least 15%.  However the Labour, UKIP, and LibDem alliance has voted for plans to cut 25% instead of the required 15% to allow ‘headroom’. Continue Reading

THE FIGHTBACK STARTED HERE

by Jack Brindelli

To say May was a difficult month to be a radical would be something of an understatement. In the fallout of a general election result that cannot be described as anything other than catastrophic, it was difficult to salvage much in the way of hope for the coming 5 years of Conservative majority rule. If you thought the Coalition years were bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This time out, David Cameron’s stinking band of free-market extremists aren’t so much promising to cut down to the bone, as breaking out their probably-not-even-metaphorical bone saws in preparation for an amputation.

In what East Anglia’s lone Labour MP Clive Lewis recently described as the “sea of blue” that is Norfolk, that’s reflected by the repugnant new “Reimagining Norfolk” strategy announced on the 1st of June by County Hall. Over £169million in new cuts have been green-lit by the Council, which is aiming to reduce spending in adult social services, children’s services, fire and rescue services — you know, the unessential luxuries of life. Presumably this means the Council are “Reimagining Norfolk” as a Mad Max-style, demented desert dystopia, where the disabled, unemployed, poorly paid and terminally ill will have to barter with water companies in order to extinguish their child’s flaming carcass for an extortionate price.

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POP POWER

by Mike Vinti

It has been three weeks now since David Cameron Inc. and things haven’t exactly started smoothly — there have been protests up and down the country, the SNP are already pissing off half of Westminster, and the new Cabinet is somehow worse than the old one.

Hanging over it all is the question of what the left is going to look like over the next five years and how best to fight the newly upgraded conservative government and their inept, yet terrifying, policies for the new parliament.

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LABOUR’S LEADERSHIP ELECTION AND THE SIMMERING TENSIONS IN THE PARTY

by Chris Jarvis

Almost immediately following the realisation that Labour had lost the General Election, various figures within the Party’s parliamentary ranks began licking their lips at the prospect of ascending to positions of leadership. With the dust largely settled, there are four announced contenders for the impending power struggle — Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh, and Liz Kendall, with Tristram Hunt all but announcing his candidacy on Question Time this past Thursday.

Although they vary in style, the minority of prominent issues and in the degree to which they purport reactionary views on welfare and migration, all of these candidates are firmly placed on the right of the Labour Party, both within parliament and outside of it. None of them are proposing a radical separation from the political trajectory the Labour Party has been on since the establishment of the New Labour project.Continue Reading

RECLAIM THE POWER: MASS ACTION CAMP, DIDCOT

As we have seen throughout history direct action has been central to inspiring social change – at this year’s Mass Action Camp in Didcot, from 29th May to the 2nd June, Reclaim the Power are inviting you to get involved.

by Lindsay Alderton, Reclaim The Power

With the re-election of the first fully Conservative Cabinet in Downing Street for 18 years, many have spent the last few weeks reeling in shock, fearing what lies ahead in the oncoming months and years. The implications are severe — over the last five years we’ve had a crushing run of bitter austerity measures, job losses, scapegoating attacks on migrant rights, mass sales of social housing, over a million using food banks, and suicides over benefit sanctions.

At a time when the world’s leading scientific community are imploring us to keep fossil fuels in the ground, our environmentally hostile government is pressing ahead with plans to scrap crucial subsidies for onshore wind farms, as well as championing fracking and investment in North Sea oil.Continue Reading

STUDENTS: END AUSTERITY NOW! JOIN THE NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION

by Liam McCafferty

Over the last five years, students have felt the impact of austerity. With the recent election shock of a Conservative majority, we can expect further hardship: more cuts, more pain. But how exactly have students been affected by austerity, and why should we care?

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END AUSTERITY NOW – NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION

by Romayne Phoenix and John Rees

by Romayne Phoenix, Chair of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity

Saturday June 20th will be the first time that we can all meet together after the general election and the shocking and unexpected result of the Tory Party in power.  This looks set to be a massive demonstration. We need to join up and celebrate the strength of our growing numbers and we need to celebrate each and every successful act of resistance.

by John Rees,  member of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity National Committee

There has already been an explosion of protest in response to the threat of an ever deepening austerity programme coming from this Tory government. In Newcastle, Cardiff, Sheffield, Peterborough, and many other places there have been thousands taking to the streets already. In Bristol seven young women, all A-level students, called a protest on a weekday evening and 3,500 people turned up to march through the city centre. But people want a national focus to demonstrate their anger.Continue Reading

THE GREEN PARTY MUST MOVE AWAY FROM ‘LIFESTYLE POLITICS’

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by Freddie Foot

The dismal election results are not only apparently a victory for ‘blue collar conservatism’ but potentially also Blue Labour or a renewed variant of Blairism. Two of the initial favourites for the leadership of the Labour party, Chucka Ummana (who has now removed himself from the contest) and Liz Kendell, are Blairites, and the media has been a flood with Labours failure to connect with ‘aspirational’ voters and business.

Labour seems to be moving to counter what is admittedly a genuine threat of Blue Collar Conservatism driven by collapse of organised Labour and a relatively socially liberal Conservative party. This leaves a (by no means new) gaping hole fit for a truly progressive movement.Continue Reading

THE PLACE FOR POETRY: PERFORMANCE

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by Carmina Masoliver

The Place for Poetry’ conference at Goldsmiths took place from the 7-8th May, and I attended it with She Grrrowls, as well as within my poetry collective, Kid Glove.

Hannah Silva, known for her success as a poet both on page and on stage, delivered her research on ‘Repositioning Performance.’ It was filled with quotations, energy, and analysis of a Salena Godden performance. Immediately it linked to the ever-complex discussion about the page/stage divide, connecting to Malika Booker’s paper later, as well as the She Grrrowls Q&A, whereby BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) poetry is positioned as ‘performance’ or ‘spoken word.’Continue Reading

BE AWARE OF MENTAL HEALTH, NOW MORE THAN EVER

by Aaron Hood, UUEAS Students with Disabilities Officer

Mental health has always been an immensely important issue, I don’t know about you but I think something which effects as many as 1 in 4 people ought to be taken somewhat seriously. Given the results of the election the issue will be more important than ever. Heartless welfare cuts, draconian welfare sanctions, and secure and dignified work becoming even sparser. In such desperate times we will need each other more than ever.

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THERE ARE MORE WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT THAN EVERY BEFORE

There is no other way of cutting it – this election result is an absolute disaster for Britain. We are set for five years of utter misery, with further cuts to public services and welfare, further privatisation of the NHS and our education system and further attacks on migrants, the unemployed and the disabled. The Tories have won and we are stuck with them.

While it’s important now to get angry, to get agitated and get organised, it’s equally important to look at the future with a degree of optimism to stave off defeatism. There are, through it all, small glimmers of hope. Our Co-Editor Chris Jarvis will, over the next few days, be looking at some of them.

by Chris Jarvis

Beneath all the headlines of Tory victory and everything that is now to come, an interesting shift has taken place on our political landscape. Lying underneath the surface is a change in the kind of people presented in the public eye as political leaders.

Thursday’s election produced a parliament that has more women than ever before. 191 of the 650 Members of Parliament elected last week are women and 100 of the 232 Labour MPs, just shy of half are women. The number of women in the parliamentary party of the SNP and the Conservatives also increased. While this is far, far from where we should be in terms of women’s representation – in total, just 29% of MPs are now women –  the steps towards parity should be cautiously welcomed.

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ANTI-TORY MPS ARE GREATER IN NUMBER NOW THAN BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION

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There is no other way of cutting it – this election result is an absolute disaster for Britain. We are set for five years of utter misery, with further cuts to public services and welfare, further privatisation of the NHS and our education system and further attacks on migrants, the unemployed and the disabled. The Tories have won and we are stuck with them.

While it’s important now to get angry, to get agitated and get organised, it’s equally important to look at the future with a degree of optimism to stave off defeatism. There are, through it all, small glimmers of hope. Our Co-Editor Chris Jarvis will, over the next few days be looking at some of them.

by Chris Jarvis

Although the Conservatives narrowly tipped themselves over the line to form a majority once all the seats were counted after polls closed on Thursday, the irony of the election is that the parliamentary arithmetic is actually less in the Tories favour than it was in 2010.

If you add all the MPs together who are likely to vote with the Tories on the majority of their programme, the number now stands at 350 — that is the combined total of UKIP, Liberal Democrat, Democratic Unionist, Ulster Unionist, and Conservative seats. After 2010, it stood at 371. That means that the combined weight of the progressive, or at least anti-Tory parties, are in greater number now than they were after the last election. Between the Greens, Plaid Cymru, the SNP, the SDLP, and Sinn Fein, there are 299 MPs, compared to 276 in 2010.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 AGE OF REASON REDUX

by Jack Brindelli 

It was Norfolk’s — and arguably history’s — finest polemicist, Thomas Paine, who best summed up the illogical institution of monarchy when he wrote, “One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in Kings, is that nature disapproves of it. Otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it to ridicule, by giving mankind an ASS for a LION.” Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense rocked the world when it was first published some 240 years ago – inspiring revolution in America, and resentment amongst the ruling class in Britain. It left them trembling at the prospect of revolution on their own doorstep, as the former Corset-maker from Thetford dared common folk everywhere to question exactly why we should offer the inbred parasites atop our society anything but contempt, and the wrong end of a sword.

There have, of course, been some earth shattering changes since the days of Paine — but before you get too comfortable, think hard, ye serfs, on the events of Saturday May 2nd.

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THE PROSPECT OF A PROGRESSVE ALLIANCE IS TRULY EXCITING

by Chris Jarvis

Imagine waking up on the 8th of May and the parliamentary arithmetic given by our obscenely anachronistic and antiquated electoral system adds up well. Imagine that between a grouping of progressive parties — Labour, the SNP, the Greens, Plaid Cymru, and the SDLP —  there is a clear left of centre majority in parliament.

And then imagine an alternative. Imagine that an array of reactionary and right wing parties, a smorgasbord of Eurosceptics, xenophobes, sell out liberals, and firebrand Northern Irish Unionists led by a buoyant Tory party are tipped over the mythical 326 towards cobbling together some form of government.

Which would you prefer?Continue Reading

TIDAL ANNOUNCED NEW ELECTION STREAMING SERVICE FT. MUMFORD AND SONS

by Mike Vinti

On May the 7th our fair isles will take to the polls. Across this (hopefully) green and pleasant land, the great multi-headed beasts, known to our political class as hard-working families, will be herded into schools and council buildings to cast their vote. It’s going to be, without a doubt, the most anti-climactic, and longest, election of our times. And what’s worse, E4 won’t be on all day.

But there’s good news guys!  Jay Z’s new streaming service, Tidal, and your corporate Media overlords have teamed up to bring you a brand spanking new, musical, multi format, interactive #Election2k15!

To a soundtrack of thundering synthetic drums and the beeps of Britain’s metaphorical life support machine, the great shamans of the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and *whisper it* Sky, will debate, debunk and defibrillate #Election2k15:  Now That’s What I Call Democracy.Continue Reading

DIVIDE AND RULE: UKIP’S DAMAGE TO THE WORKING CLASS

by Katherine Lucas

Since its formation in 1993, UKIP has prided itself on its anti-system rhetoric.

Under Nigel Farage’s wisdom, UKIP has latched onto fears about immigration, and in doing so, has done enormous damage to the working classes. Put simply, inciting racial tension is in no way beneficial to a social group that includes people who come from all over the world.

Perhaps it should be of little surprise that a party run by a former inner-city London stock broker do not have the interests of the working classes at heart, but that is certainly not in line with his promises. Through exercising ‘divide and rule’, Farage has injected tension among those who previously stood a better chance of securing change through collective action.

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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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THE SLOW DEATH OF UK’S MULTICULTURALISM?

by Faizal Nor Izham

Following the BBC Challengers’ Election Debate sans David Cameron, it appears the UK’s hotly-contested immigration issue could finally be put to rest after May 7.

In his speech, Ed Miliband proposed setting up a task force that would enforce heavier fines on firms which exploit low-paid workers and undermine the minimum wage. On the other hand, the Lib-Dems have outlined plans to boost local apprenticeships while the Tories pledged to make pension’s campaigner Ros Altmann a minister for consumer protection.

This follows a Telegraph report last month that the UK may continue to accept 300,000 more immigrants over the next five years, despite pledges by David Cameron to reduce 2014’s net migration of 298,000 to ‘tens of thousands’.

While pragmatic solutions are most welcome, the aftermath of the constant blame on immigrants would surely have taken its toll by now. When things start to get tough, they’re usually the first to be blamed. Depressed wages? Blame it on the immigrants. Rise in crime? Immigrants. Not enough housing? Again, immigrants. Yet structural problems continue to persist because enough not is being done to address them.Continue Reading

EU GETS READY TO SEND SYRIZA THE ‘YOU’RE DUMPED’ TEXT

by David Peel

We are a few weeks away from the General Election in Britain, and austerity is moving front and centre. Not NHS privatisation, not school academies, not McJobs or homelessness, but their mother and father – the ideology of austerity. The phoney election war between the major parties, otherwise known as the ‘cosy consensus’, is about to be dealt a blow.

It has emerged, if reports in The Times are right, that the EU has asked Finland to draw up plans for a Grexit, where Syriza doesn’t walk out of the EU, it is pushed. EU leaders are fresh out of patience with Greece, and their mood was not improved when Syriza leader Alex Tsipras turned to their bitterest enemy, Vladimir Putin, for help.

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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

NUS NATIONAL CONFERENCE: LEON FRENCH, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR NATIONAL PRESIDENT

In the run up to the National Conference of the National Union of Students, we have offered all candidates for President, Vice President, and Block of 15 the opportunity to write articles for us explaining their priorities, their manifesto and why delegates should support them and elect them to their respective roles. Each candidate is allowed between 600 and 1,000 words, and we will publish each article in the order that we receive them.

by Leon French

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NUS NATIONAL CONFERENCE: VOTE SHAKIRA FOR VP FURTHER EDUCATION

In the run up to the National Conference of the National Union of Students, we have offered all candidates for President, Vice President, and Block of 15 the opportunity to write articles for us explaining their priorities, their manifesto and why delegates should support them and elect them to their respective roles. Each candidate is allowed between 600 and 1,000 words, and we will publish each article in the order that we receive them.

by Shakira MartinContinue Reading

A LEGITIMACY CRISIS AND THE POTENTIAL GAME-CHANGERS: AN SNP-LABOUR COALITION

by Katherine Lucas

With the election race officially underway, another hung parliament is looking an increasingly possible outcome in May, a scenario in which the Scottish National Party (SNP) have the potential to be game-changers.

Ed Miliband vs. David Cameron is a question advantageous to the current incumbent of Number 10 — to the general population, meanwhile, it is akin to being asked whether they’d like to be shot or hanged.

Miliband and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon looked close to coming to blows at the seven-party election debate, but in reality their respective parties can be advantageous to one another. The fear – at least in Westminster – is that the Left cannot be reliant on separatists which threaten the union. Spain is an obvious comparison, if their government were to seek out a Basque-based party. On the other hand, Northern Ireland is perhaps a more helpful reminder of a power-sharing experiment which has been relatively successful. Sinn Fein, rather than using their place at Stormont to peddle their campaign for Irish re-unification, they are basically a device putting pressure on the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to issue fairer policies across the community.

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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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A GREEN VIEW ON MIGRATION: VIEWS OF NORWICH SOUTH CANDIDATE LESLEY GRAHAME #4

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by Lesley Grahame, Green Party Norwich South candidate.

People who ‘get on their bikes’, as Conservative politicians advise, do so for many reasons — some life-threatening, some ‘merely’ economic. All but the wealthiest of them are among vulnerable groups that can become scapegoats when governments need to divert attention from their failures. Migrants should not be blamed for a country’s woes as they are people simply seeking a better life and do not deserve to be demonised.

However the anti-migrant rhetoric rarely addresses the colonial, environmental, and economic causes of migration. These include conflict, and also the aftermath of human rights abuses and absolute poverty. Britain claims a proud tradition of providing refuge in such cases. If human rights don’t apply to everyone, they don’t apply to anyone, and I’d challenge anyone to pledge never to leave the UK if we were sunk by say, rising sea levels or a fascist regime. However at times of major migration, there are always those who want to keep the stranger out.

(© ilgiornale)

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ON SPLITTING THE LEFT

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by Matilda Carter

Over the Christmas period, I had the unusual experience of being asked to speak with the Burgess Hill Labour Party about why I don’t believe a Green vote splits the left. With the rising profile of the Greens due to controversy of their proposed exclusion from the upcoming leaders’ debates and Sadiq Khan’s appointment to deal with the ‘threat’ posed to Labour by the Green Party, it seemed a germaine subject, but it was quite a difficult sell. Burgess Hill Labour party is a branch of Labour that behaves as if Tony Blair never happened and I am all the more sympathetic towards them for it, but when I hear members of the radical left talk about fighting their corner within the Labour party, I begin to despair at the state of political discourse in this country.

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6 POLITICAL PARTIES, 6 PREDICTIONS AND (ROUGHLY) 160 WORDS OF ANALYSIS #5: CONSERVATIVES

2014 has been a rocky year for the Tories. The one piece of good news throughout the year comes from the narrowing of the gap between themselves and Labour. In spite of this, the shrinking of the Labour poll lead has not come as a result of a resurgence of Tory support, but instead from a drop in the number of people saying they will vote Labour. Rather than winning over legions of new voters, the Tories are simply losing support at a slower rate than Labour. Add to this third place in the European elections, the assent of UKIP and the defection of two MPs, followed by losing the by-elections in both of their seats, the past year has been difficult. There’s little indication that 2015 will be any easier.

by Chris Jarvis

1. The Tories will scrape past 30% of the vote in May

Five political parties vying for votes in England means that the traditional splitting of large chunks of the electorate between the Tories and Labour is largely over. Combining this with the existence of a surging SNP in Scotland, a steadily rising Plaid in Wales, and what looks to be the closest battle between the two largest parties since the 1970s, the likelihood of any party emerging with between 35-40% of the vote is astronomically low.Continue Reading

CLIMATE CHANGE: VIEWS OF NORWICH SOUTH CANDIDATE LESLEY GRAHAME #2

by Lesley Grahame, Green Party Norwich South candidate. 

Addressing Climate Change is a necessary part of social justice, not an optional extra for after the revolution, or the repayment of the national debt.  It is the most grave of environmental threats, and the most vital of economic opportunities.  Capitalism requires permanent growth of any kind, at any cost to anyone.

A fair world economy would concentrate on things that make life better, support the common good and don’t cost the earth.

Is man-made Global warming a socialist conspiracy to redistribute wealth?  Right-wing climate deniers think so, as quoted by Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything. The people who most devoutly ‘don’t believe in climate change’ are those who best understand its implications for the globalised consumerist capitalism that reigns supreme.

WHY EVERY STUDENT’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION SHOULD BE TO TAKE A PROPER LOOK AT POLITICS

by Josh Clare

I’m going to start this article as you should start every new year; by taking a few minutes to have a look back at the events which transpired. Instead of the traditional twelve month ponder though, let’s think about the past 55-ish months (or 1703 days for you maths fans).

It’s just a whistle stop tour of my (patchy) memories but I recall something about university tuition fees going up a bit, the NHS being squeezed, some guy with a pint being on TV a fair bit, the film council and a load of other quangos being cut, Scotland considering leaving the Union, recession, recession, recession, the Olympics, dubious corporate tax arrangements, the London riots and revolution in North Africa. A lot happened in these past 243 weeks.

We mustn’t dwell too long though, it’s easy to spend the first few days of 2015 considering what you did or didn’t do, and well, that’s just not good for the soul. So, to the future reader, to the future.

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6 POLITICAL PARTIES, 6 PREDICTIONS AND (ROUGHLY) 160 WORDS OF ANAYLSIS #4: UKIP

In years to come, when we look back at 2014, we will see it as the year of two political parties – UKIP and the SNP. 2013 saw UKIP break through into local councils and creep up the opinion polls. 2014, however saw the party consistently in third place in opinion polls from every major polling company, win the European elections and win two seats in parliament at by-elections. This was an unprecedented performance and has begun to fundamentally shift the nature of British politics, both in policy terms, but also in how we understand electoral behaviour.

by Chris Jarvis

1. UKIP will win between 10-15% of the vote in May

All pollsters had UKIP at somewhere between 12 and 18% in their final polls of the year. Which of these is more accurate, is impossible to know – we are in uncharted territory in terms of using opinion polls to predict a UKIP result of significance in a general election. However, what is likely is that in the final few days of the election campaign, a fairly sizeable amount of those currently saying they will vote UKIP will get cold feet, and vote for one of the traditional ‘big three’ parties. Traditional Labour currently flirting with UKIP will fear that in doing so they will let the Tories in and vice versa. Tactical voting will slim the UKIP vote in the election, but not by much.Continue Reading

6 POLITICAL PARTIES, 6 PREDICTIONS AND (ROUGHLY) 160 WORDS OF ANALYSIS #3: THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Repeatedly reading and writing about the seemingly never-ending demise of the Liberal Democrats is becoming tiresome, but 2014 showed that narrative to be as true as it has been since they first entered government. This year, the party lost 11 seats in the European elections, saved only one MEP and came in fifth place in terms of vote share. This has been on top of their sliding in the opinion polls, where they have been overtaken, first by UKIP and now too by the Greens.

 2015 will be another difficult year for the party. The extent of the Liberal Democrat collapse will indicate the degree to which it will continue to exist as a major electoral force in British politics.

by Chris Jarvis

1. The Liberal Democrats will secure at least 10% of the vote in the 2015 election 

Although current polling averages have them sitting at around 8%, the Liberal Democrats will enjoy a small upswing in their polling in the run up to the election and will poll above 10% of the vote. This will be a result of the tactical voting that has kept the party buoyant since the late 90s, and this will help tip them over the line to hold a handful of key seats.

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6 POLITICAL PARTIES, 6 PREDICTIONS AND (ROUGHLY) 160 WORDS OF ANALYSIS #2: THE GREENS

2014 has proven to be a particularly good year for the Greens: adding a third MEP to their tally in the European Elections, outpolling the Liberal Democrats consistently over the last few months and seeing an astronomical increase in membership – most notably in their youth wing. The rise of the most left wing of the mainstream parties has largely gone unnoticed by the media bubble, swamped as it has been by UKIP’s insurgency.

Success for the Greens won’t plateau with the year gone by though, and 2015 will see developments of greater significance. Below are six things that are likely to happen to the Green Party in the coming 12 months.

by Chris Jarvis

1. Caroline Lucas will keep her seat

Brighton Pavilion, the sole parliamentary constituency that the Green Party currently holds, will stay Green despite a strong challenge from Labour. Caroline Lucas has consistently demonstrated her commitment to radical politics, her constituents and standing up to the political establishment. This has won her many admirers, both inside and outside of Brighton, and in combination with the fact that since 2010 it has been confirmed that voting Green is not a wasted vote, this means that Brighton will return a Green MP in 2015, probably with an increased majority.Continue Reading

6 POLITICAL PARTIES, 6 PREDICTIONS AND (ROUGHLY) 160 WORDS OF ANALYSIS #1: LABOUR

A rather uneventful year for the Labour Party – a stagnant poll rating (it has fallen around 3 or 4% since this time last year), underwhelming European election results and few major changes in personnel or policy (Emily Thornberry’s resignation being the notable exception). What this has masked, however, is a Labour Party in flux.

2015 will be a crucial year for Labour as it, for the first time after the Blair/Brown years, comes to terms with its own identity. Accordingly, the fortunes of Labour are particularly difficult to predict, aside from that we may see significant soul searching and muted internal conflict.

by Chris Jarvis.

1. Labour will emerge as the single largest party in 2015

A peculiar prediction to begin with, given what has been said previously about the difficulties of predicting Labour’s fate. However, electoral arithmetic would suggest that Labour will probably emerge as the largest party in May next, year, albeit without a majority. As has been frequently noted, Labour need a smaller proportion of the vote to gain a majority – and so a squeeze on their polling over the next five months should still allow them to hold on to being the largest party.  Significant gains from the Liberal Democrats, as well as similar wins from the Tories should inch them 60 or 70 seats up on their 2010 result. In and of itself this would put them just shy of a majority in the House of Commons, but combined with losses to the SNP in Scotland means that Labour will hold only a handful more seats than the Conservative Party.Continue Reading

A GREENER, FAIRER NORWICH: VIEWS OF NORWICH SOUTH CANDIDATE LESLEY GRAHAME #1

by Lesley Grahame, Green Party Norwich South candidate. 

Norwich is a fine, radical city, with a long history of voting progressively. That is one of the many reasons why we have 15 Greens on City Council, and 4 on the County Council.

A Greener Norwich would have a viable, sustainable local economy, as a centre of excellence in climate friendly research, technology, training, building, transport and manufacture. Local marketing would enable the city to support local agriculture,strengthening the links between city, university and the surrounding rural communities. Practical measures to reduce emissions would include street by street insulation, along with other forms of readily available, proven and still developing renewable energy, solar panels on every roof, pedestrian, cycling and public transport so people would have far less need to drive.

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A GREEN RE-INVIGORATION OF WELFARE IN BRITAIN: VIEWS OF NORWICH NORTH CANDIDATE ADRIAN HOLMES #1

by Adrian Holmes, Green Party Norwich North candidate.

Following the economic slump in 2009, the incoming coalition government announced an austerity program to tackle the budget deficit. Since 2010 the main thrust of these austerity measures has been to cut public spending and, in particular, to reduce the welfare budget. People on benefits including the disabled and those with chronic illness, are being targeted by the government in an attempt to get them into work and off the benefits system.

The Work Capability assessment (WCA) was introduced by the last Labour government, creating a new bureaucracy to test the right of welfare recipients to continue receiving benefits. The assessments, carried out by private contractors, have placed stress on people with disabilities to justify their right to help. The cost in wasted resources in holding the assessors to account is also high; with an increasing number of appeals being found against the companies used to carry out the assessment.

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THE GREEN SURGE IS EXCITING – BUT NOT SURPRISING

by Georgia Elander

Things are looking good for the Green Party. This week the Green candidate in the Rochester and Strood by-election won nearly five times as many votes as the Liberal Democrat candidate; a YouGov poll revealed that the percentage of people who would vote for a Green candidate with a chance of winning is greater than the percentage of people who would vote for a UKIP candidate who could win; and this week too, the Greens polled at 8% nationally – a record high. In recent weeks, the party have outpolled the Lib Dems on several occasions, and membership as well as vote share is rising – the party has grown 80% this year alone.

When you look at the current political landscape of the UK, this success is not really surprising.Continue Reading

THEY’RE BACK: FREE EDUCATION MARCH TAKES LONDON BY STORM

by Jack Brindelli.

Thousands of enraged students marched through the streets of the capital on Wednesday November 19th to call for Free Education – despite warnings of ‘health and safety’ issues causing the NUS to withdraw its support for the demonstration. Regardless, over 4000 students still converged on London, in an energetic march that toured past flashpoints such as Parliament Square – the site of a mass police kettle in December 2010 – and a number of sites belonging to corporate tax-dodgers like Starbucks. It was, as a result, a predictably vibrant and radical affair, which promises to revitalise both the student and anti-cuts movement – with a focus not just on student issues, but a distinct call for an alternative to austerity present in every section of the march.

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