Blog

Where next for the soft left?

Open Labour gained 9% of the vote in the recent NEC elections. Founder member Tom Miller talks to Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite about its strategy for building the soft left’s influence within Labour, and what defines the soft left approach.

Teaching about Justice in the Time of Trump—And Beyond

Why did so many people vote for the cynicism and egoism that Donald Trump represents? Thad Williamson examines the reasons for Trump’s success, and suggests that we must make political struggles and material interests central to our analyses of social justice.

After Trump, before Biden: What’s next for the American left?

Joe Guinan talks to Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite about the outcome of the US election, the unfolding crises of Covid19, the openings for a transformative political economy and what the strategies for the left of the Democratic party should be now.

How Donald Trump almost stole the US election using creative timing

Joe Biden is now President-Elect of the United States, partly because Donald Trump’s own efforts to steal the vote using suppression, legal challenges, and the power of timing narrowly failed. Andrew R. Hom explores the GOP’s use of creative re-timing in its efforts to time the cast and then time the count.

Anti-Semitism, morality and left populism

The true sources of Labour’s divisions for the past five years lie somewhere else altogether – at the level of approach and mindset. If we are to understand what has happened to the party since 2015 – and to stop it from happening again – we must acknowledge this.

Labour Together’s Election Review

Hannah O’Rourke reports on Labour Together’s cross-party commission examining Labour’s loss of the 2019 General Election.

Lessons from Labour in the European Parliament

As Labour develops its international agenda, John Chowcat suggests that the 40-year history of the European Parliamentary Labour Party offers a rich resource of practical lessons.

Opportunity Knocks: The case for a plural left

Three recent episodes, Mark Perryman suggests, reveal the potential for pluralism to overcome factionalism. The language we use in politics tells us much. ‘Hard Left’ is sometimes an insult, but is embraced by many. Is the hard left principled and unbending, or brittle and, when it snaps, shattered and fragmented? ‘Soft Left’ is, again, both an insult … Continue reading Opportunity Knocks: The case for a plural left

How Nigerian debates about transparency can help public scrutiny of the UK’s Covid 19 response

Portia Roelofs This year, the UK ranked among the top twenty least corrupt countries in the world. Yet as the details of the government pandemic procurement emerge, it’s hard to ignore how many contracts have gone to the family members and close associates of senior Conservative Party and Downing Street figures. Whilst Nigeria might not be … Continue reading How Nigerian debates about transparency can help public scrutiny of the UK’s Covid 19 response

COVID 19 and the Child Trust Fund

Rajiv Prabhakar Young people are likely to bear much of the economic fall-out from Covid-19. The education of young people has been disrupted by the closure of schools and colleges. Youngsters also work disproportionately in sectors badly hit by Covid-19 such as hospitality. There is concern about the ‘scarring’ effects of a lack of employment opportunities for future employment and pay.   … Continue reading COVID 19 and the Child Trust Fund

Knighthoods for the rich, sanctions for the poor: time for a new settlement

In a post-crisis world, society should take an equity stake in firms that benefit from government payouts, writes Stewart Lansley. When he was London’s mayor, Boris Johnson called for the nation’s super-rich to be awarded ‘automatic knighthoods‘. In contrast, David Cameron’s government launched a rolling programme of benefit cuts, together with new punitive rules on … Continue reading Knighthoods for the rich, sanctions for the poor: time for a new settlement

COVID 19: The Need for a New Global Compact

Padmashree Gehl Sampath Last week, Africa recorded over 225,000 COVID-19 infections. While this count seems low when compared to the total tally of COVID-19 infections in Western Europe or the United States, the pandemic places low-income countries worldwide in a particularly disadvantaged position. Their disadvantages – a joint outcome of long-term poverty and resource-constrained healthcare systems – … Continue reading COVID 19: The Need for a New Global Compact

Food for thought

Sixteen hours on an all-day food bank collection has Mark Perryman asking what this means for how the Labour Party organises. For me the defining characteristic of a progressive politics is a mass politics: neither the vanguard party sorting out others nor the charismatic leader for the rest of us to be in thrall to.  All well … Continue reading Food for thought

‘Our People’

Jon Wilson “we failed our party, our people and our country”. Darren Jones “we as the Labour Party have to galvanise round our core principles and make sure we deliver for our people”. John McDonnell “when we win, it will not be for ourselves, it will be for all those communities who need us now … Continue reading ‘Our People’

Workers of the world, self-isolate!

Craig Berry There is nothing like a pandemic to amplify the class dynamics, hitherto on mute, which underpin social order. In the Anglosphere, public culture combines awareness of each and every person’s proper place — signalled by accent, attire, and demeanour, etc., as well as education, occupation, and postcode — with ignorance of how those … Continue reading Workers of the world, self-isolate!

Lockdown Labour

The Labour Party that emerges from the coronavirus crisis needs wholesale change of its organisational culture. Mark Perryman explains why and how. For the past two and a bit weeks, like many Labour Party members, I’ve been pretty full on with coronavirus mutual aid activism.  I’m an event organiser by habit, and sometimes trade too. Organising popular … Continue reading Lockdown Labour

This crisis is revealing which businesses really matter – the ‘rooted firms’

Will Brett There’s a lot of soul-searching going on right now, much of it at the personal and domestic level. But as millions ask themselves what’s really important in their own lives, many too are asking similar questions about the economy, and what must change once we come out of this quiet nightmare. Which parts … Continue reading This crisis is revealing which businesses really matter – the ‘rooted firms’

The Socialist Case for Elizabeth Warren

Thad Williamson Thad Williamson argues that Elizabeth Warren is the presidential candidate best placed to transform the argument on economic justice in the United States. My first book, published in 1998 when I was a 28 year old theology student, is a detailed look at alternatives to capitalism, What Comes Next? Proposals for a Different Society. It … Continue reading The Socialist Case for Elizabeth Warren

Across a (very) crowded room

Lewes CLP’s innovative discussion events have caught Angela Rayner’s eye. Mark Perryman explains how and why. It’s not often that the Labour Party in the East Sussex town of Lewes gets a mention in Labour circles of any influence. Imagine our surprise, and pride, therefore, when Angela Rayner picked us out for an honourable mention in her … Continue reading Across a (very) crowded room

On Labour, leadership, and the Labour leadership (part III): And the winner is …

Craig Berry So far (part I; part 2) this essay’s outline of a prospective governing project for Labour has pointed to the value of Lisa Nandy’s account of Labour’s current predicament. Yet it seems unlikely now that Nandy will win the leadership contest. This final post will consider how Labour’s next leader can traverse a series … Continue reading On Labour, leadership, and the Labour leadership (part III): And the winner is …

On Labour, leadership, and the Labour leadership (part II): Painting towns red

Craig Berry The first part of this essay argued that an ability to (re)construct a governing project should be central to how Labour’s leadership candidates should be assessed. Part two considers the policy programme and associated narrative which could underpin the party’s next governing project. There is a strange case of cognitive dissonance underpinning the contest between … Continue reading On Labour, leadership, and the Labour leadership (part II): Painting towns red

On Labour, leadership, and the Labour leadership (part I): Storytelling is only half the story

Craig Berry Since the start of the Labour leadership contest, Keir Starmer has led some polls of Labour members, and Rebecca Long-Bailey others. Lisa Nandy has not topped any poll, and, with a reputation largely built – so far – on her abilities as a pitchside pundit, it would be unwise to assert without caveat … Continue reading On Labour, leadership, and the Labour leadership (part I): Storytelling is only half the story

Rediscovering social democracy in the post-Corbyn ruins

Richard McNeill Douglas 23.12.2019 We’ve been here before, haven’t we?  It’s an ever-present question, but one that really comes to the fore in the wake of a shocking electoral defeat.  The choice is presented thus: should Labour be practical or principled, focus on winning elections or on changing the system?  In its current form the … Continue reading Rediscovering social democracy in the post-Corbyn ruins

Lessons from 2019: democratic disillusionment and community organising

Christine Berry The battle for the narrative about Labour’s catastrophic defeat is already in full swing, and it is predictably proving to be a bloodbath. On both sides of Labour’s political divide, people are advancing explanations that conveniently confirm everything they already thought. Most of these hot takes are profoundly unhelpful; rather than jumping back … Continue reading Lessons from 2019: democratic disillusionment and community organising

We need to talk about villages

Penny C.S. Andrews 20.12.2019 I grew up in a hamlet. Six or so houses on one side of the road, a mile from the nearest village, and fields on three sides of my house. lt sounds like a rural idyll, but my parents couldn’t afford to ferry me everywhere and I was on free school … Continue reading We need to talk about villages

The Lives of Others

Camilla Schofield On 13 December, Labour activist Luke Pagarani tweeted one of the most convincing post-mortems on the results of the general election. He explained that his encounters with the electorate – through around 120 hours canvassing in London, Bedford and Milton Keynes – revealed something about older (50-80 year old) white voters, both middle and working … Continue reading The Lives of Others

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