councils of despair

Sheila Cohen writes on the situation after last month’s elections

The May elections have left a smirk on Cameron’s face – or perhaps we should say deepened the one that was already there. But for the left the result was, once again, a mixture of predictability and despair. While the Tories got trounced in the Northern cities – and the LibDems , of course, everywhere –  any illusion of a return to sanity was flattened by the Tories’ overall performance.

ed miliband is fishing for conservative working-class support

The staunch battalions of the North, it seems, have never forgotten Thatcher and the wounds she inflicted – but in the supposedly affluent South-East, the dynasties that once fell to New Labour have once again reverted to at least the appearance of support for what our rulers love to refer to as “aspirational” policies.     Continue reading “councils of despair”

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book review of phillip blond’s ‘red tory’

by Sebastian Wright

Two events intervened just prior to my reading of Phillip Blond’s ‘Red Tory‘, which made me doubt the necessity of the exercise. The first was the publication of Jonathan Raban’s wonderfully enjoyable lampooning of it in the London Review of Books, under the title of ‘Cameron’s Crank‘. Whilst Raban is a bit hard on Blond’s writing skills (personally, I think the book is pretty well written; its more the dubious intellectualism at fault) he does a great job of cutting to heart of the parochial, nostalgic sentiment that prevails throughout. In the same issue of the LRB, John Gray reviews a book by Tim Bale on the Conservatives from Thatcher to Cameron, and concurs with Bale’s assessment that, in regard to the Red Tory retreat to socially conservative anti-liberalism, ‘Conservatism of this kind spells potential disaster for Cameron and his party.’

Phillip Blond, Red Tory-in-chief

Which leads to the second point. This ‘disaster’ seems to be unfolding in front of our very eyes. With the Blond-inspired ‘Big Society’ idea apparently falling flat on the election trail, and inverse rhetoric about the ‘broken society’ also not winning over many fans, Cameron has recently decided to adopt a tougher, more conventional Conservative message, evident in the Conservative party’s billboard promising to cut the benefits of those who refuse to work. Continue reading “book review of phillip blond’s ‘red tory’”

tory co-ops mean privatisation

by Gregor Gall

The longstanding cross party consensus on cooperatives has taken a nasty turn. Traditionally, all the main parties have all supported – albeit a token way – the ideas of cooperatives.

For ‘old’, social democratic Labour, this has been about supporting workers and extending industrial democracy. Here the notion was that workers should be supported when they try to buck the outcomes of the market, even if cooperatives were a far from perfect means to do so. Continue reading “tory co-ops mean privatisation”

the commune’s 21st september london forum on the tories

Public discussion forum

Polls put the Tories ahead of Labour by 17% and heading for a 100 seat majority at the coming general election. All indications are that we are heading for a Tory government by next summer.

camerontoryconf

When the Tories were last in power, Thatcher and Major led a vicious 18-year capitalist offensive against the working class, and the anti-union laws they introduced remain to this day under Gordon Brown. They restructured industry, created mass unemployment, scapegoated the poor and casualised labour.

We have every reason to worry: but what is the Tory agenda today? Are we ready for the challenge? The Commune is hosting a public forum to discuss these questions, and all are welcome. Continue reading “the commune’s 21st september london forum on the tories”