Sunday, August 29, 2021
Despite the continued mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and the botched exit deal from the EU, Boris Johnson still seems Teflon coated. Johnson has been able to survive so far because of his popularity in the Tory Party and his huge majority in parliament. Also because the establishment want an orderly transition to a new leader which doesn’t expose the Tories failures too much nor their anti-democratic practices, contempt for the electorate and corruption. Divisions are beginning to emerge among the Tories on multiple issues meaning Johnson, far from being invincible, is looking increasingly insecure.
Saturday, August 28, 2021
Despite Tory failures there is a woeful lack of opposition from the official opposition in the shape of Keir Starmer. Labour’s poor electoral performances of late have underlined Starmer’s lack of credibility with the voters. He and those around him have drawn the wrong conclusions from electoral defeats in the so-called Red Wall constituencies. The real causes of alienation in working class communities and the radical changes needed to address them are ignored in favour of superficial responses, like making Labour look “patriotic” by appearing with Union Jacks. This is a poor imitation of the Tories and goes down particularly badly in Scotland. There is too much concentration on parliament and not enough on class struggle.
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Beyond the Red Wall : Why Labour Lost, How the Conservatives Won and What Will Happen Next? By Deborah Mattinson Biteback publishing 2020 This book looks at the "Red Wall" seats that Labour lost at the 2019 general election. It contains a lot of interesting material on the state of the communities involved and why the Tories won them. Despite this it manages to draw entirely the wrong conclusions about the way forward for Labour, focusing on knee-jerk right-wing reactions rather than addressing the profound structural problems facing those communities which require radical change.
Friday, August 20, 2021
Boris Johnson's quick-fix Brexit deal created a de facto border down the Irish sea, creating turmoil in Northern Ireland. Unionists in particular, see their interests threatened by this and have launched strong opposition politically and in the streets. On the other hand nationalists see it as a possible route to a united Ireland. Meanwhile the UK government is seeking an amnesty for soldiers responsible for killings during the troubles.
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Capitalism and greed, as Boris Johnson is proud to say, go together. However, they are not the success he likes to pretend. In fact markets have failed abysmally to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It is actually the public sector and state intervention that has had the greatest success in combating the virus. Capitalist greed benefits no one but the capitalists. The rich world - the EU and countries like Britain and the United States - are battling it out to secure shares of vaccines while poorer countries are being left far behind. The EU has struggled with it's procurement programme which is a further blow to those who wish to centralise power even more within the bloc.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
British Gas engineers put themselves on the line during the pandemic, helping households maintain their power supplies through the winter. But Centrica which owns British Gas, has sought to use fire and rehire tactics to force engineers to accept worse conditions of employment. Centrica pleads poverty but is actually making healthy profits.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
The Scottish National Party has again been returned to power in the Scottish Parliament, though failing to achieve an overall majority. Yet its record in government has been one of failure in delivering services to the people of Scotland. The Party itself, once highly disciplined, is now fraught with divisions. But independence is what dominates Scottish politics and it suits the SNP to divert attention onto the constitution and way from the many issues facing the Scottish people and the party's own problems. But there are divisions in the independence camp about how to proceed and the many difficult questions about borders, currency, debt and so on will not be easy for the SNP to answer.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, is launching a constitutional Commission advised by Gordon Brown. it will consider further devolution of powers across the UK. On the left the idea Progressive Federalism has been developed which would seek to devolve power and enshrine socialist values in its structures. Partly these moves are a reaction to the success of nationalism in Scotland. But are these schemes practical? Would the ruling class sit back and allow the radical elements of Progressive Federalism to be put into practice? And, when previous devolved powers have failed to halt nationalism, why would these options be any more successful?