Labour’s leadership and the dangers of organisatonal self-indulgence

Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader was a sign that, for Labour at least, everything would change.  Corbyn won on a surge of new members and supporters to the Party, on a platform that was – in contrast to his opponents – firmly focussed on policy.  Since that election there have been many steps forward […]

Labour’s Economic Advisory Committee – mainstreaming anti-austerity economics

The announcement of Labour’s new Economics Advisory Committee is perhaps the most important development in the Party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader.  It’s a powerful statement of intent that Labour is determined never again to be accused by the Tories of lacking economic credibility, but it is something far more than that. To grasp its […]

The day the Falklands Factor died

One of the most radicalising experiences of my youth was the Falklands War.  I was a student at the time, reading PPE at Oxford – the entrance exam to mainstream politics at the staff college of the British establishment – and remember being aghast at the politics and the emotional hinterland it revealed: the apparent […]

UKIP, neoliberalism and the revolt of the moderately entitled

Much cyber-ink has been spilled following last week’s strong UKIP showing in the English County Council elections – it might seem superfluous to add to it.  I think the strength of UKIP’s “surge” is overrated – these were partial elections in which the major centres of population did not vote (along with Scotland and most […]

Abolishing the universal state pension – the new Westminster consensus?

Over the weekend, Ian Duncan Smith made widely reported comments that wealthy pensioners should be prepared to return some of their benefits – notably winter fuel payments and free bus passes.  This morning on the BBC Today programme, Labour DWP spokesman Liam Byrne (unsurprisingly) refused to defend the principle of universality. Nick Clegg and his […]

Thatcher: mythologies and legacies

The past week was inevitable. It was always going to be the case that when Margaret Thatcher died, there would be a torrent of Thatcherabilia in the media; much of it adulatory, some of it reopening the old wounds from the 1980s.  The State Funeral question had been well-trailed; it was always clear that the […]

Margaret Thatcher’s greatest achievement? One Nation Labour and the politics of fear

Notoriously, when asked what was her greatest achievement, Margaret Thatcher answered: “Tony Blair and New Labour”.  Margaret Thatcher was not known as a humorous woman, so one has to assume that she was not being facetious.  And the point remains; Labour was swept to power in 1997 and, despite some distinctly non-Thatcherite legislative achievements (the […]