Politics, Reviews

Blade Runner 2049 is a masterpiece in Capitalist Realism.

 

In a recent speech, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson caused uproar with the comment “Libya has the potential to turn the city of Sirte into the next Dubai, once it has cleared the dead bodies away.” Despite the faux outrage this generated across the higher minded sections of the chattering classes, this is actually one of the most refreshingly honest and useful appraisals of how our system actually works. Throughout its long history, Anglo-American capitalism has manifested as everything from the slave trade to the unchallenged doctrine of the free world. It exists simultaneously as a liberator, pulling huge swathes of people out of theocratic, subsistence level misery while flattening entire surplus populations at the slightest tremor in the global oil market.

Alongside the collapse of any large scale alternatives, capitalism’s awesome flexibility and ability to incorporate (almost) any aspect of the changing world into itself has left most of us unable to meaningfully comprehend (let alone strive for) a new way of organising society: “It is easier to imagine the end of the world itself than the end of capitalism”.

Blade Runner 2049 is a majestic, visionary film that explores this idea to the absolute fullest, without once breaking into cliché or sanctimony. You can view the entire movie as nothing more than a fresh take on the cyber punk aesthetic, or as a series of moving personal stories, and enjoy every moment. Looking at some of the reactions and reviews its generated to date, that seems to be the way its been initially received. This, however, demonstrates an inability (or unwillingness) to read the main message of the film, in much the same way as a fish is unable to perceive the water in which is swims.

A recent BBC documentary saw Reggie Yates uncovering the scandal of illegal – but widespread – corporate dumping of waste electronics. The audience watch on in fascinated horror as millions of tonnes of this waste accumulate in the African nation of Ghana, powering a dystopian economy in which people live in a brutal pecking order based on their ability to profit from the breakdown of the rubbish. The audience is saddened that such a world exists, in which children and adults alike spend endless hours burning the plastic coating off copper wires and performing countless other hazardous tasks, without even the simplest health and safety equipment, let alone the education to understand that the fumes they breath freely every day are killing them, quickly. We accept that although tragic, its an explicable and predictable underbelly to a global market economy in overdrive. We’re sad, but ultimately we’re not surprised.

Which probably explains how quickly we acclimatise to the scenes of horizon filling landfills just outside the boundaries of Blade Runner 2049’s Megacity One version of Los Angeles. In a world made barely inhabitable by war and climate disaster, but still controlled by hegemonic corporate powers, why wouldn’t such scenes still exist on unfathomably large scales? A regular science fiction movie would wow us with dazzling images of spaceships and star battles, but Blade Runner instead takes us to the wasteland “orphanage” operating semi-illegally as a primitive recycling factory, in which hundreds of children work all day stripping the urban garbage for traces of nickel that will go on to be used in the building of spaceships. “The closest to going off world me or any of these kids will ever get”, notes the brutish overseer character. The presence of this workhouse custodian, played by a black actor, overseeing his overwhelmingly white charges serves to subtly point out that freedom from racial subjugation is a hollow victory if the institution of slavery continues regardless.

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The backdrop of Blade Runner 2049 is the constant juxtaposition of huge, anonymous corporate super structures (Sony, Peugeot and Jonny Walker whisky all get conspicuous placements) with the ubiquitous presence of the engineered slave race of replicants. The arch villain Mr Wallace even goes so far to explicitly state that “no great leap of civilization has been achieved without a huge disposable population, its just unfashionable these days if it hasn’t been manufactured“. And yet, the only thing that really seems to distinguish the replicants from any other working class participant in this society is the prejudice directed at “skinjobs” by “real” people. A not so subtle metaphor for the way oppressed populations can turn to racism to position themselves into a place of relative power against another, even more oppressed group.

In a brief scene highlighting the fundamental failure of this hi-tech capitalist liberation, the sinister chief of staff for the replicant making Wallace Corporation (herself a high end replicant with unusual levels of autonomy) is selling the owner of a drilling company (played by a middle aged black women) an array of potential replicant slaves. She suggests low intelligence workers as standard, but throwing in a few good looking pleasure models for herself, if desired. The scene is treated as incidental to the plot, but once again reveals the fundamental message of the film – that you can have as many layers of personal liberation as you want, but it all comes out as dystopia if the subjugation of one class by another is perpetuated as the basis of that liberation. Shocking then, that some of the initial audience reactions to this insight were “the film needs more black slaves and more female slave owners”. Shocking and pathetic.

Despite all these wonderfully Marxian assessments of the inhuman resilience of big capitalism, perpetually reasserting its dominance despite generating ever greater social meltdowns, the most interesting character by far is Joi, the holographic AI programmed to act as the perfectly domesticated female archetype. A pure, loving being, a good soul trapped at the very bottom of a megalith of nightmarish oppressions.

On the surface, Joi is nothing but a sexist product of male fantasy. She was literally designed to be anything her (male) owner wants her to be. Although she has the artificial intelligence similar to that of a replicant, she’s denied even a physical body. Owned by our replicant hero, K, she is analogous to the working class housewife, placed at the very bottom of the class hierarchy by fact of her gender. The question the audience is invited to ask is whether she even exists as a character, or is she simply a product of her programming? This question isn’t so different to the questions we’re posed by the breakdown of traditional gender roles in our own society. To what extent are any of our life choices our own, and to what extent are they sum total of everything our gender, job and media environment have made us? Viewed in this light, Joi is the true hero of the story. Despite having every aspect of her existence pre-conditioned, she still ends up making the choice to break her chains to the greatest extent she’s able, by asking K to transfer her out of her main database into a portable version and permanently break the connection between the two, facing up to the prospect of her own death in the process.

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You can interpret Joi’s every action as a perfectly programmed reaction to K’s own desires, a selfless machine for simulating love in K’s own loveless world, or you can choose to view Joi as a metaphor for the struggle that we all face – to find purpose, happiness and autonomy in a world determined to dictate our every choice. In this way Blade Runner 2049 bridges the gap between the personal and the systematic and, along with its flawless directing and a perfectly conceived score, is a masterpiece of our times.

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Politics

So you want to build a progressive alliance?

Judean People's Front

During the lead up to this General Election campaign there have been multiple calls for an anti-Conservative “progressive alliance”. It’s a strong message with a simple aim that will appeal to most people on the left of politics.

However, before you get too excited and declare it a simple matter of intelligence and resolve – and start condemning your MP for standing in the way of progress – there are a few things worth considering:

The Other Parties

The Liberal Democrats have actively demonstrated that they would prefer to work with a Conservative government than a Labour one. Something Tim Farron has since publicly restated. So the first issue is the assumption that the Liberal Democrats want to remove the Tory government, or that they would prefer to work with a Labour one.

Also remember that on many issues, the Liberal Democrats are a lot closer in policy to the Conservatives than to Labour. Question exactly makes you think the Lib Dems are a progressive party in the first place.

In some ways, the SNP benefit from a Conservative government. It makes them look strong and oppositional and keeps separatist feeling in Scotland high – which gets them closer to independence. A good Labour government in England which offered a decent devolution deal would make their dream of independence much less achievable.

The SNP also now have nearly every single seat in Scotland. What incentive do they have to cut a deal with Labour? What does Labour have to offer them? What incentive does Labour have to cease campaigning to regain its historical political heartland? Do we intend to disband the entirety of Scottish Labour?

The SNP spent decades working towards an electoral takeover of Scotland. Many of their best people have given their entire lives to this cause. Now they’ve achieved it, what is the likelihood of them giving any ground away to a defeated Scottish Labour at this stage in the game?

No one wants to see Caroline Lucas removed from parliament, but even if you added the entire Green vote to Labour’s, we still wouldn’t have enough votes to form a government. How many seats would Labour have to effectively give away to the Green Party in order for them to suspend their entire national effort? Asking the Greens to cease trading in key marginals is certainly a worthwhile argument, but are they willing? And if we take, we will also have to give, which brings us to…

The Labour Party

The Labour Party *is* a progressive alliance between people with radically different political views. From hard socialists on one end to liberals on the other. If you admit we need to form alliances with different parties, you nullify the one basic principle keeping all those people united in one party in the first place.

The other parties in this proposed rainbow alliance have run some very unpleasant campaigns against Labour over the years, and continue to do so. Anyone remember how Peter Tatchell was defeated in 1983 by another gay man standing for the Liberals? A gay man who chose to hide his sexuality and run a deeply homophobic campaign against Tatchell? Many in Labour still do.

In order to get a progressive alliance through The Labour Party, you would need to win the active consent of people that have been opposed, slandered and abused by the other parties all their political lives. You can’t just wish to Jeremy Corbyn to make it happen, you need democratic consent within the party at large. Calls for the progressive alliance  are often viewed by councillors, activists and party officers as the childish demands of clicktavists who have never bothered to do the actual work of building a Labour government from the ground up.

Lastly, but perhaps most crucially, The Labour Party constitution expressly forbids its members to support an opposing party candidate. It also requires all local Labour Parties to provide their communities with the option for Labour representation. If a local party does decide to support a different candidate, they cease to be recognised as a CLP under the terms of the Labour rulebook.

The Many Seats Of Power

It’s a mistake to view power in the United Kingdom as resting solely in Westminster. Power is wielded in lots of ways by many different groups – just ask a Trade Unionist or a corporate CEO! Governmental power is weirdly most directly by local councils. The leader of Islington Council arguably has more power to improve the lives of Islington citizens than their MP does, even as leader of the opposition. Campaigning for a Labour MP in your local area increases the strength and visibility of your local party and potential council candidates. Even if you don’t knock off that nasty Tory MP this time, you are helping to empower Labour to implement socialist policies via local government. Aspiring and sitting councillors are often the hardest working campaigners at a local level, and asking them to stop campaigning for Labour is not only asking them to hijack their own political careers, but to also hijack Labour’s ability to form strong councils, which are often the last line of defence against malicious Conservative governance. Although MPs have the most celebratory status, and ordinary members are the most vocal on social media, it is Labour councillors who form the heart of the Party’s day to day activity, so any progressive alliance will have to be built with their consent too.
Although Labour currently hold 46 out of 47 seats on Islington Council, this didn’t happen because of a natural right to govern. In 2006, while Labour were sitting in office in Westminster, Islington Council was controlled by the Liberal Democrats – who used their local power to happily sell off and privatise as many of the council’s assets as possible. It’s through a decade of hard work that activists and councillors have been able to regain absolute control and undo much of the damage that was done – all the while bolstering Jeremy Corbyn’s position as an MP in what is now one of the safest seats in the country.

 

Despite all this, I still want to build a progressive alliance – what should I do?

The first thing you can do is join the Labour Party. There are plenty of people within Labour that believe a progressive alliance is a good idea. They point to the fact the first ever Labour government was formed via an electoral pact between Labour and The Liberal Party, and many suspect that there was indeed some behind the scenes discussion with the Liberal Democrats in the lead up to Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide.

There are also many cases in which bad Tory MPs have been unseated when Labour members and voters quietly chose to stand aside to give a powerful local Liberal Democrat a shot at the money – Zac Goldsmith’s recent thrashing in Richmond might be considered an example of this.

Within Labour there are many political pressure and policy groups, which lobby around a particular set of ideas within the party and movement. You may have heard of Momentum or Progress, but if cross party centre-left consensus is your main concern, you should consider joining COMPASS, which campaigns heavily on this issue.

If you are a member of Labour you could also petition the National Executive Committee (the NEC, not the leader’s office, is the ruling body of the party) to change the rules, allowing individual CLPs to democratically decide to not stand a candidate if they believe it would be the best thing to do to allow another party to unseat a local Conservative MP (and ultimately bring Labour closer to forming a majority government). As it is, even if a CLP wished to do such a thing it would be a gross violation of the party constitution and a candidate would be imposed upon them by the national party.

A progressive alliance isn’t a simple proposition to be pulled out of the hat once a General Election is underway. It’s a deeply complicated issue that confronts over one hundred years of political history. The intention is noble, but like all things worth doing, it will take commitment and will have to overcome innumerable challenges.

Everyone who values equality and justice will find periods of Conservative government frustrating at best and, at worst, deeply damaging. But the first step towards banishing the Tory menace, whether you want to build a progressive alliance or not, is to join your local Labour Party and start campaigning with them – street by street and door by door.
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Politics

Why are you so afraid of the Nation State?

“The interference of the state power in social relations becomes superfluous in one sphere after another, and then ceases of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the processes of production. The state is not “abolished”, it withers away” – Fredrich Engels 

The withering away of the state has been a cherished ambition of the left for as long as there has been a left. The final removal of  bureaucratic control over our lives. Liberty at last. Even the great Marxist-Leninists believed it in their own backwards way – the dictatorship of the proletariat was a theoretically temporary measure in order to accelerate the conditions needed to have no rulers at all.

But we’re not Marxist-Leninists. We’ve learned the dark lessons of history. Not for us the utopia building of the old left, for whom the struggle to create a good life for all would remove it permanently from millions. Not for us either is the petty nationalism of the right, the small town jingoism that makes us feel dirty just listening to it, in which mislike of foreigners takes the place of real self worth.

We want free movement for all, with economic prosperity to be so widely and equally spread that it gives us all of the pop-up restaurants and world music we can consume, but none of the wage depression and culture wars.

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Which is kinda what this guy advocated, and even Communists thought he was mental.

We want those opportunistic politicians to get their hands out of our personal and commercial lives (all too often when our consumption defines our identity, those are the same thing anyway). We certainly don’t want them pressing down with heavy handed authority from above.

And yet, as we watch our democracies transfer more and more power away from the institutions of state into the hands of supranational organisations and corporations, we’re horrified to realise our votes mean less and less, because there’s less and less that the people we vote for are able to actually control.

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Those of us that have a relatively high level of control of our lives, often because of our own privilege, can read the words “take back control” without really feeling anything. But one of the first things  a lack of means takes away from people is their feeling of control over their own lives. But how do you regain a feeling of control in your life without an excess of material wealth? One way is political agency. That the society around you responds to – and is accountable to – your voice and your vote. That the corridors of power are only a short step away.

And for this, that arbitrary line in the sand – the national border – has meaning. It gives you a sphere within which your decisions can be implemented. A point at which you can clearly say “this is firmly my responsibility”. A space to create mechanisms which can maintain the fabric of society, build unity and solidarity.

Many of the people in Great Britain today who reject nationalistic sentiment are Londoners. Cosmopolitan, liberal urbanites with access to the greatest centre of opportunity and prosperity on the globe. And how do they react to the deepening cultural chasm in our country? By creating an idea of London as a separate city state. “Things are different here” they say. London has its own institutions (a publicly owned transport system for one), its own social values and even its own border (the god damn M25). In rejecting the nationalism of the country at large, Londoners have created their own post-modern brand of it.

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The newly elected President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Greater London

To some degree, the Tory obsession with the dignity of home ownership has a truth at its core, but the relationship between the citizen and their sense of ownership should extend further than their own four walls. Everyone should be a stakeholder in the whole of the nation, and for that they need a clear idea of what the nation is, and what is inherent to it.

In the past, this has been expressed by the left as an uncompromising commitment to public ownership of essential industry and services and a clear sense of the two way contract between citizen and state. In this age of post-privatisation, with nothing to cling onto in the national sphere, the left has elevated itself to the status of an occidental crusade, hanging on the coat tails of international capitalism, trying to preach and moralise it into a more ethical form. In the meanwhile not only parties of the far right, but also relatively progressive separatist movements have been managed to co-opt the space that operates within national borders.

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Platforms long ago abandoned by social democrats as electoral poison are suddenly winning elections again while the left sticks its head in the ground. Trump’s promise to repatriate industry is almost Bennite in tone and it’s been pointed out repeatedly that Steve Bannon’s stated desire to usurp the machinery of state, dismantle it and reassemble it in his own ideological mould is positively Leninist.

How sad that we’ve abandoned so much territory to the right that we’ve left ourselves with little more than disapproving from the sidelines as evidence of our political worth.

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Clear, universal aims. The first step is national, democratic control.

What is to be done?

Being “not as bad as the other guy” is not an electoral platform that’s working well for anyone right now (if it ever did), and simply sitting on the moral high ground isn’t a strong enough position to entrust with the actual levers of power. Priests claim the moral high ground, but they aren’t put in charge of the town.

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The left needs a clear, material pitch that not only “listens to people’s concerns” about their national identity, but actively makes them an offer based upon it. Somewhere in its heart, the Labour Party knows this, which is why “our” NHS is always a central platform for its campaigning, but it needs to offer more than defence of the remains of a decimated welfare state. It needs to offer something more assertive than just a fairer hand on the tiller, it needs to threaten to take over the whole god damn boat.

Technology will make the world smaller whether we like it or not, but control over the commanding heights of the economy will give us that ship to sail in, rather than keeping us floundering in the treacherous current of the unrestrained global market. The right have already sensed this sea change, and have started using the state to build their new kleptocracy, the left need to demonstrate that they have not only principles, but the ideas and total confidence to seize it from them.

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Politics

Trump’s Cultural Revolution

This week Donald Trump announced an immigration ban on citizens from several major Middle Eastern, Muslim majority countries. Not, it’s worth adding, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Turkey – the west’s key allies in the region. This extended to citizens of these countries with pre-existing rights to live and work in the USA being turned back at the border upon reentry, away from their homes and families.

Many people are understandably furious about this aggressive and probably futile (in terms of its effect on immigration and terrorism) policy decision. Despite the fact it was instantly enacted at airports, its been highlighted as illegal, unconstitutional and unlikely to be upheld by the courts or the Senate.

But people are already speculating that reducing immigration or even tackling terrorism is not the point of this policy decision. If the policy is overturned that is irrelevant to its main aim. The attorney general has already lost her job because of her resistance to this move and that, many speculate, is the real point. By inciting political havoc, Trump creates an environment in which he can make sweeping changes to the structure of the state and claim to be justified in doing so. People point out that his far-right head of strategy, Steven Bannon is likely to be behind such a coup, as he is already fluent in the art of misdirection and manipulation from his days at the head of extreme right wing  online publication Breitbart.

I believe there is a historical analogy to what we’re seeing unfold before us. Partly in the way the Trump/Clinton campaign split American voters along a fault line and the way Trump encouraged his followers to dominate and demean their opponents , but also in the way Trump is bypassing the machinery of state to make unilateral declarations of policy – declarations such as this one that begin to take effect spontaneously, without due process, causing political chaos in process.

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Let us go back to the newly formed People’s Republic of China. It is the mid 1960s and
after a series of economic and humanitarian disasters during the period known as “the great leap forward”, the thinking of Mao Tse Tung and his close band of followers had become a minority position within the increasingly moderate Communist Party of China.

Although officially discrediting Mao would risk undermining the legitimacy of the entire regime (a problem faced by today’s “moderate” Republicans), he was subtly pushed aside by his own party – allowed to remain a figurehead, but cut off from serious influence on policy by the massive bureaucracy, which was firmly under the control of the party moderates.

Speaking directly to disaffected students, who had been taught to believe in a revolutionary Communist movement but only ever experienced the Party as a mundane administrative machine, Mao’s unilateral declaration of Cultural Revolution in 1965 incited huge swathes of the population to symbolic acts of violence and rebellion against “corrupt” officials and “decadent” liberal intellectuals. This violence was not, as his followers believed, designed to fix the problem of counter-revolution and reactionary class enemies, but to create enough social chaos that he could seem justified in overruling the structures and legal framework of his own party and assume complete control.

Have Trump and Bannon been studying Maoism? Highly unlikely. Have they found themselves, like Mao, at the head of a great state machine that is actively resistant to their ideas? Certainly. My view is that, like Mao, their stated aims and their true intentions are wildly different. We think we’re looking at acts of racially charged cultural reform, but we’re in fact witnessing the beginning of the militant consolidation of domestic political power.

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Socialism, Now! Understanding Clause IV and the Red Heart of Labour.

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Comrades! Fellow travellers! Allow me to draw your attention to a little bit of socialist esoterica, that might not be so esoteric after all.

“Clause IV” doesn’t sound like a very  inspiring subject. It sounds like a boring rulebook paragraph on the correct way of taking minutes as a committee session. However this innocuous passage from the Labour Party constitution may well be at the heart of the great rift that runs down centre left politics in Britain. I believe that to understand Clause IV is to understand the intellectual and emotional battle at the heart of Labour.

Clause IV dates back to the founding era of The Labour Party, setting out and defining it’s mission. When you signed up as a £3 supporter last year, and ticked the box that said that you “supported the aims and values of the Labour Party”, Clause IV was more or less what you were agreeing to. It’s actually printed on the back of your membership card – whip it out and take look:

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Especially the bit saying we’re a democratic socialist party. On the other hand, what isn’t apparent to the new, millennial leftists is that this simple paragraph only appeared in its current form in 1995, and is the result of decades of ideological conflict. But why should such a seemingly agreeable statement be a cause for such strife?

The current text was put in place by the (then) brand new Blair regime, which was totally convinced that Labour could never again win power if the public perceived them as being bound to their outdated, 19th century socialist mission. Here’s the original text, which first appeared in the 1918 constitution and endured for the better part of 80 years:

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

As you can see, it totally commits the party to a more structural and radical task. It allows not one single shred of room for big capitalism to reap the rewards of the labour of the many. It is clear, it is precise and it is unequivocal. It is also anathema to the tendency in the party who are now known as “Blairites” (who actually represent a tradition that dates back much further).

They’ve long argued that Labour could pursue socialism by reaping the rewards of capitalism in order to nurture well developed and comprehensive public services.They argued that Labour was destined to make itself useless as a serious and pragmatic party of government if it remained constitutionally tied to Clause IV. In their mind, if leftists were given the choice between helping the working classes to a better life or pursuing a philosophical and ideological wild goose chase, they would choose the latter.

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Aneurin Bevan was the Minister For Health and Housing in the post WWII Labour Government. His firm, almost militant commitment to “true” socialism directly contributed to the foundation of the NHS, and to this day is held by Labour Leftists as irrefutable proof of the righteousness of their cause.

On the other hand the old Labour Left  – the tradition to which, by 2015, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were two of the last surviving adherents  – have long argued that the disposal of the “real” Clause IV was what opened the door for big money and corperatism to take over the Labour Party.

Because the party was no longer committed to nationalising their business interests, many large donors flocked to Blair’s New Labour, injecting it with a flow of cash and credibility, which it was badly lacking after Thatcher’s emasculation of the great Trade Unions – but it also put power and influence straight into the hands of bosses, powerful individuals and big business – the very people Labour was founded to wrest power AWAY from.

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Although Tony Benn’s enduring legacy is as the last great spokesman of the Labour Left, he actually started out on the right of the party. He formed his commitment to common ownership during his period on the government front benches in the 1960s and 70s – during which time he helped create British Telecom (BT) and took the failing shipyards out of private ownership to protect the then enormous dockside workforces.

Many believe that there is a moral case to be made for common and/or cooperative ownership of almost any essential commodity and that if a structure or organisation is essential to the well being of society, no one individual or company should be allowed to profiteer from it. Most agree this holds true for the NHS, schools, the BBC and even national assets like the great museums, but should it be further applied to the railways, the energy companies, communications grid and beyond? Opponents of this position argue that if, in pursuing a utopian dream you render society stagnant and unprosperous, chasing off wealth creators and reducing your means to fund public services (and win elections!), you are failing in your socialist mission despite your “ideological purity”.

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Peter Mandelson, the “architect of New Labour” famously said he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich, so long as they paid their taxes”.

The truth is that unless you are a Year Zero Maoist or a raging Thatcherite, there is room for a happy balance between the two. The sad fallout of the Blair years was the destruction of one tradition in favour of the other, the unhappy backlash of which we saw in the mass rebellion from the grassroots in their election of Jeremy Corbyn. Labour Members began to see the addition of “democratic socialist” to Clause IV not as a promise, but a platitude. A slow melting away of faith in Labour’s integrity turned into a landslide.

Moderates argue that the change to Clause IV was all that stopped the party from fading away from relevance forever, whereas leftists argue that we were destined for government by 1997 regardless, and the change was the greatest betrayal of principle in the Party’s history. This dichotomy has always existed in the soul of Labour, a wound that opens every time the Party are out of government. Labour’s success depends upon its ability to reconcile this internal stress and by its collective endeavour, win government again.

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Contemporary politicians like Chuka Ummuna are seen as embodying the legacy of post 1995 consensus on Clause IV, thus putting them at odds with Corbyn’s desire to implement a more classical socialist mission.

 

 

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Politics

On politics and rock n roll…

On politics and rock and roll…

Looking back on my most formative childhood period, which where mostly in the Blair/Brown years, there was a sense that politics was over. The veneer of consensus so complete that politicians were nothing more than visionless administrators in the country’s largest HR department.

For anyone that had the idea that world could – and should – be a different place, pop music (in all its various forms) seemed like the only path worth following. It had a character driven narrative that anyone could join in on. You could become part of an adventurous and exciting new world, complete with heroes and villains aplenty. I’m sure I can’t be the only person that felt that way, as my generation has chocked the job market with a staggering over abundance of people desperate to eek out meaningful careers in the “creative industry”.

Much fuss has been made of the polarisation taking place within politics in recent years, but I welcome it. Politics has started to offer a little of what rock and roll once offered. A vision that the world could be different. There’s a sense that anyone can try and make a noise to be heard over the din.

We live in interesting times.

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