Sunday, 23 December 2018

2018 – The Year in Blog Posts

Below are the most popular posts on this blog, as judged by unique page views, by month, for 2018. The blog is closing now until the New Year.

Happy holiday to all our readers.


It is not just a lefty like me pondering this matter, the Tories are openly posing this question themselves. Rumours are circulating that membership has fallen to as low as 70,000, and this is causing some soul searching in the party.


I am from a Labour party supporting background, raised in local authority housing, schooled and paid for and maintained in higher education by the same municipality, a Labour run council. My dad was a shop steward in the engineering union too, so it’s no surprise then that I have never even considered supporting the Tory party.


Being gay in Pakistan is a much bigger deal than in Britain, and this news could well endanger Sanni’s family. Why Parkinson decided to make public the fact he and Sanni had had an eighteen month relationship, is not entirely clear, but it certainly looks like an attempt to smear Sanni’s revelations in some way as unreliable.


The local authority elections on 3 May, are the last full scale elections in England before our departure from the European Union in March 2019. Yes, it looks like we will get a transitional deal which will last for almost two further years, when to all intents and purposes nothing will change, but we will no longer be a member of the EU. So, this is the last chance to send a message to the Labour and Tory parties, whose leaderships are in favour leaving.


After writing about the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently, I got to thinking about the overall cost of the Monarchy to UK taxpayers. Estimates put the cost of the wedding itself at around £32 million, but this is just an added extra. The more you look into the matter, the more you wonder why we put up with this historical privilege?


“It’s not the despair, I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.” So says John Cleese in the film Clockwise. This quote rather sums up the attitude of England football fans as each World Cup and European Championship comes around. The 2018 World Cup in Russia began yesterday, and England fans and pundits are in familiar territory.


With stories circulating about the British government stockpiling food, as part of a plan to cover the eventuality of a no deal Brexit, there is talk that the UK should become more self-sufficient in food once we leave the European Union (EU). Of course all this would take time, certainly longer than by our exit from the EU, which will happen in eight months’ time. But as a longer term objective, this would surely be a sensible thing to do. It would avoid tailbacks at ports and environmentally concerned people should welcome it, too. But is it feasable?


It is more than two years now since the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU), where of course we voted to leave. It has been a feature, during the referendum campaign itself and in the period since, that those who advocated Brexit haven’t come up with any sort of plan for life outside of the union. What kind of relationship with the EU do they want, if any at all?


In fighting antisemitism for a long time, the threat has been adequately understood as ‘hostility towards Jews as Jews’.  But this simple definition does not suffice for a different political agenda, namely: conflating antisemitism with criticism of Israel in order to attack the Palestine solidarity movement and intimidate its supporters.   This article will explain the attack, its background in a racist agenda and the necessary anti-racist response. For numerous sources, see hyperlinks in this piece.


In her closing address, Theresa May, the prime minister, told the Conservative Party Conference removing the cap on local authority borrowing against Housing Revenue Accounts (HRA) would help the Government achieve its ambition of building 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade.


Following my involvement, on Saturday 17 November, in Extinction Rebellion’s very successful Rebellion Day 1 in London, friends have said I should feel proud of what I did.  ‘Yes’, I was one of over 6000 climate protectors who, peacefully, blocked 5 of London’s central bridges for most of that day - my allocated one was Lambeth Bridge:


Capitalist climate governance has always relied on pseudo-reforms that leave the richest free to accumulate capital, while dumping taxes on working people to nudge them in the ’right direction’. But as the protests of the gilets jaunes show, many working people no longer accept the moralising terms of capitalist approaches to climate change. In this article, Andreas Malm argues that if we really want to save this Planet, we must pursue a different kind of climate politics, one that could learn a great deal from the methods and tactics of the gilets jaunes. 

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