what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Left on its Knees

I’m grateful to the library of the European Council of Ministers for the monthly selection they send me of relevant papers from the more prestigious of the European Think Tanks. Thanks to their efforts, I was able to download a booklet from the Fabian Society called Future Left – can the left respond to a changing society? (160pp).
Its opening section gives an excellent account of how the British left have responded to the changing conditions of the post-war period - and nicely complements the post I did last month about intellectual responses as a whole. 
It follows that with a thoughtful section about the different strands in the debate about the future of work which we have been having for the past 30 years. Migration, housing and the future of public services are some of the other subjects which receive good treatment.
Readers will know that a General Election is now underway in the UK – which, for the first time in living memory, the Labour party has absolutely no chance of winning. It will go down to the biggest defeat in its hundred-year history – just as the French Socialists today will suffer its most ignominious defeat….And this despite the Labour party (in England at any rate) enjoying its largest growth of membership for about 20 years…..
I am no fan of the present leader of the British party – but the way thecorporate media have treated him has been a powerful confirmation that the media no longer performs the role democratic theory (if not the public) requires of it. Of course, Labour MPs have been their own (and the party’s) worst enemy – by the manner in which so many of the shadow cabinet manoeuvred a mass resignation just weeks after Corbyn’s election - creating a real rift with the wider membership of the party.
The scene is now set for some real blood-letting after the June election….. In 2015 the Labour party was left with just one MP in Scotland (having previously had 50). I expect a few more than that to survive in England……

Another British Think Tank (Demos) has just produced a book Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself which looks at the forces which have rocked the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Sweden in the last 20 years - and brought the left to its knees……The book contains extensive case studies of each of these countries…

By way of total contrast - here's a fascinating blog which offers great links - this one, for example, on the joys from good writing.....
And I also liked this summary of a book about future scenarios we face - Journey to Earthland

the sketch is an Ilyia Petrov - who lived through this period inc the Spanish Civil War

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