2016: the reading list

This blog goes a bit off topic and takes a breather from all the politics. Over the past couple of years, I've developed the habit of keeping note of each book I've read. For no special reason, really, other than I like to look back and appreciate anew what’s kept me inspired, entertained and engrossed (or … Continue reading 2016: the reading list

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lines in the sand: greens and the progressive alliance

The recent parliamentary by-election turned out to be something of a game changer. Not only did the Lib Dems defeat Tory-turned-‘independent’ Zac Goldsmith, but the Greens, by deciding to stand aside, demonstrated how a Progressive Alliance might work in practice. The idea is that parties with a broadly progressive policy agenda set aside their differences to strategically … Continue reading lines in the sand: greens and the progressive alliance

a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)

‘Political renewal and the future of Labour’. This was the title of a recent conference convened by Labour Together, bringing various groups and interests within the Labour movement together for the first time to exchange and explore ideas in a common space. The conference aimed to initiate discussion: how should Labour ‘rediscover its sense of historic … Continue reading a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)

brexit, democracy and ‘the people’

'Enemies of the people' and 'The judges versus the people'. Headlines like these, in the Mail and Telegraph respectively, not only give a flavour of, but also create the outraged response to Thursday's high court ruling that parliament alone has the authority to trigger article 50. This (rather hurriedly-written) blog lays out some of my personal … Continue reading brexit, democracy and ‘the people’

left, right and party ‘cartels’

Following five German regional elections this year, there’s now a bit of a breather. Needless to say there’s been plenty of analysis, not least on TV talk shows, with guests from various parties chewing over what it all means. Beyond the percentages, plusses and minuses, something that’s really caught my attention is a renewed focus … Continue reading left, right and party ‘cartels’

reaching out: what’s on your mind?

Jeremy Corbyn is confirmed as the leader of the Labour Party, with an increased mandate, after a contest that seemed to be mainly about MPs vs grassroots members and Westminster vs everywhere else. Now Labour has to overcome two big challenges: bringing together its own membership and transforming its grassroots supporters into voters. Both are … Continue reading reaching out: what’s on your mind?

germany’s shifting political landscape — part two: what’s next for the left party?

Another weekend, another German regional election, this time in Berlin. And in stark contrast to the recent outcome in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV), the Berlin Senate result gave a much-needed boost to the Left Party. But some trends are still worrying: in both elections, waged workers supported the right-wing populist AfD over the democratic socialists; and unlike the … Continue reading germany’s shifting political landscape — part two: what’s next for the left party?

germany’s shifting political landscape — part one: the election shock

Sunday’s regional election in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV) saw the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (Alternativ für Deutschland - AfD) make significant gains. Not a complete surprise, but shocking nonetheless. The party — which didn’t even exist at the last MV election — is now the second largest in the state (20.8%), behind … Continue reading germany’s shifting political landscape — part one: the election shock

rip it up and start again — the power of ‘freewriting’

(research notebook) Last week, frustrated by a stubbornly empty page and my equally blank mind, I opened up a new document, set my phone’s timer to five minutes and began to just write. I wrote non-stop about the first thing that came into my head, without pausing to think, without reviewing and without corrections, until the … Continue reading rip it up and start again — the power of ‘freewriting’