Britain

Edited by John McDonnell
Verso, 2018

This book is a valuable collection of 16 short essays on the crisis facing modern Britain, coming up with progressive solutions which a Jeremy Corbyn-led government could usher in.

It is edited by and has an introduction by Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a long-time socialist and close collaborator of Corbyn’s. He says: “We are seeking nothing less than to build a society that is radically fairer, more democratic and more sustainable, in which the wealth of society is shared by all.”

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist
Directed by Lorna Tucker
In cinemas

In the 1970s, punks astounded Britain with their T-shirts worn inside out and torn clothes with safety pins.

Vivienne Westwood was the person responsible for most of that look. Not only did she tear clothing apart, she lived a similar life.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist is a raw, unpredictable and unapologetic documentary about the punk icon and fashion designer. 

Watching it was a whirlwind. At times I was smiling, others I felt frustration.

Demonstrations on successive weekends in London last month shone a spotlight on major political rifts — in the major parties and in the political left.

On October 13, an extreme right-wing Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) march was out-mobilised and disrupted by anti-fascist demonstrators. One week later, about 670,000 people turned out for a “People’s Vote” demonstration.

From Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square, about 700,000 people filled central London on October 20 protesting against the Tory Brexit, writes Andy Stowe. It was the largest demonstration the city had seen since the march against the Iraq war in 2003.

Campaigners from all over Britain united on October 25 to blockade the government’s nuclear bomb factory in Berkshire in England’s south-east, preventing the staff from entering the site.

The Trident Ploughshares activists locked themselves together across the site’s gates before work began at the Burghfield site. A private road leading to Burghfield was also barricaded at each end by cars with protesters fastened to them.

The European Union elites have rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposals (known as the Chequers plan) on the basis that they breach the fundamental principles of the EU; i.e. the internal market and free movement. Alan Davies write that this has increased the likelihood of a disorderly (“no deal”) exit from the EU — and increased support for a second referendum on the issue.

From taxing tech firms to pay the license fee to creating a new British Digital Corporation (BDC), the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture by British Labour’s socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn  in August  unveiled an array of potential new Labour  digital policies, writes Nick Webb.

These proposals are not yet official party policy, but they give a good sense of where Labour’s leadership is headed as it develops its offering ahead of a potential Brexit-related snap election.

The British Labour Party took a radical, anti-austerity manifesto to last year’s general elections and, despite polls and media commentators expecting an unprecedented disaster, came close to winning, denying the ruling Conservatives a majority. Despite this success, attempts to attack and sabotage Labour’s socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, and the ranks that support his vision, have continued. Michael Calderbank takes a look at what took place and what it means for the party’s future.

Tory-supporting media have been portraying Britain’s socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as a Soviet fellow-traveller. Meanwhile, Hilary Wainwright notes, Labour’s shadow chancellor and close Corbyn ally sets out a vision that breaks with the old bureaucratic state model.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell can usually barely breathe a word about nationalisation without setting off a media frenzy, so it’s strange that his most interesting comments yet on the subject passed with so little comment.

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