The election of a new leader of the Labour Party looked like being a rather uninteresting affair with three candidates from the moderate to right wing of the party. A token leftie was added to open up the debate but he stood now chance... However against all expectation, that leftie, Jeremy Corbyn, is surging ahead in popularity and may actually win. Perhaps because unlike the other candidates Corbyn speaks like a human being and has anti-austerity policies that the public like. [more inside]
"Pride", a critically-acclaimed new film given a limited release in the US today, tells the true story of how a small group of LGBT activists became the biggest fundraiser for the year-long British coal miner's strike of 1984-85. The miners faced a pre-meditated, organized, thuggish, dishonest, deceptive, and illegal surveillance and smear campaign by the Thatcher government, which froze all mining union funds, cancelled their unemployment, and denied food and housing welfare to their wives and children, in an attempt to starve them out. For the first time, the British government trained Britain's police into a paramilitary force, bused in at great expense and in great numbers to overwhelm the protesters, using violent, repressive, and corrupt tactics against non-violent protesters, with prolonged police detentions and the indiscriminate arrest of over 11,000 British citizens. The government was supported by the rightwing tabloid media, who used sensationalist, crude headlines to shape public opinion. LGBT activists reclaimed one such headline as the name of their most successful benefit. Although the miner's strike was broken by the Thatcher government, the miners kept their promise to support the LGBT community, by marching alongside them at the front of London's 1985's Pride parade.. Later that year at the Labour Party conference, a motion was tabled that supported adding equal rights for gays and lesbians as part of the Party's platform. This motion was opposed by Labour's executive committee, but the motion went to a vote – and passed, thanks to the votes of the National Union of Mineworkers and their allies.
Or, why is there still socialism in the United States?
Why, then, would we look for evidence of socialism only where a state seized by radicals of the Left inaugurates a dictatorship of the proletariat? Or, to lower the rhetorical volume and evidentiary stakes, why would we expect to find socialism only where avowed socialists or labor parties contend for state power? We should instead assume that socialism, like capitalism, is a cross-class cultural construction, to which even the bourgeoisie has already made significant contributions – just as the proletariat has long made significant contributions to the cross-class construction we know as capitalism. What follows?
In a victory unexpected until the last 24 hours of the race, Ed Miliband has beaten older brother David to win the leadership of the (UK) Labour Party. [more inside]
Scottish trade unionist, journalist and broadcaster Jimmy Reid has died aged 78. Often described as the best MP Scotland never had, Reid was the instigator of the 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders famous work-in, where rather than striking, workers demonstrated the viability of the shipyards by working to fill the orders on the books, drawing national and international support (including a fat cheque from John Lennon). The year after, he was elected as rector of the University of Glasgow, where he delivered a speech (behind a paywall, sadly) that the New York Times (which saw fit to print it in full) called one of the finest since the Gettysburg Address [more inside]
Michael Foot, leader of the British Labour Party from 1980-83 and principally responsible for the longest suicide note in history, is dead at 96.
In an article in the Guardian shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin announces that the Conservative Party has signed up to Labour's target to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. More about this story: Guardian leader, Labour Party response. Last month, the intermediate target of a 25% cut by April 2005 was missed, despite substantial progress. Perhaps the time is now right for this idea to be adopted over the pond?
Blair, the war criminal Tom Dalyell, a Labour MP with over 41 years of service in the House of Commons has voted with his Labour Party constitutency to call for Blair to reconsider his postion as party leader. He further states that he believes "[Blair] should be branded as a war criminal and sent to the Hague".
UK government pushing sale of air defense system to Tanzania, one of world's poorest countries and proud owner of a grand total of 8 (eight) military aircraft
UK government pushing sale of air defense system to Tanzania, one of world's poorest countries and proud owner of a grand total of 8 (eight) military aircraft This just reeks of Western hypocrisy: despite Labour's commitment to development goals and an ethical foreign policy, despite the World Bank's highly critical stance, despite a per capita income of £170 a year, despite a system that could be used for civilian air control at one fourth of the cost, despite all this and more, the jobs of 250 Brits must take precedence.
Blair's Road to Nemesis "There will come a day when the Government commits suicide" Columist of the year, Andrew Rawnsley's devastating critique of new labour is also supported by the BBC's Mark Mardell "Blair will get bored of just being the British PM soon". Ex-labour deputy leader Roy Hattersley says He must be stopped
Labour Party WINS UK General Election Tony Blair's Labour Party now officially wins the general election after getting the needed 330 constituencies. Not all the results are in yet, but it's not important. Labour are past the post. Well done Tony!
4 Years of Labour and he still hasn't delivered. More typically mature Conservative advertising campaigns are revealed.