(Now published on openDemocracy) As Keir Starmer prepares for Labour’s 2020 conference he has almost closed the gap with the Tories in the polls and is ahead of Boris Johnson as ‘best prime minister’. He is currently visiting Scotland - where Labour is still very weak - and writes in The Scotsman that ‘the number… Continue reading Only a bold democratic programme can stop Starmer becoming Labour’s third leader to be squeezed in the war of English and Scottish nationalisms
No.10 tweet from the day Dominic Cummings returned to work (now deleted, of course) As the fall-out continues from the UK's disastrous pandemic policy-making in the first quarter of 2020, which has led to date to 63,000 excess deaths, it is vital that British sociology and politics academics provide accurate critical analyses. Sir Lawrence Freedman,… Continue reading Culpable ignorance, political humiliation, and their consequences: my revision of Lawrence Freedman’s first draft of the UK’s pandemic policy history
Pro-Johnson propaganda, London, 22 April 2020 “The debate is now between people who think we should suppress the virus completely and those who think we should run things quite hot, use the spare capacity in the NHS and aim to keep the R number just below one,” one official said. Another senior insider said: “You… Continue reading ‘Running hot’: the Tory priority remains to manage death, not minimise it. But will they get away with the unnecessary loss of life they have caused?
Dr David Hepburn tells C4 News (3 April) ‘all our ICU patients are in their 50s or younger’ A central feature of the Government’s public health advice has been the idea that the over-70s, along with people with serious health conditions, are the ‘vulnerable’, ‘at risk’ group in the epidemic. Most younger people therefore believed… Continue reading As many younger people die, why did the Government minimise the under-70s’ vulnerability to Covid-19?
On 17 March, when the extent of the British government's failure to protect the population from the coronavirus had become clear, the respected political commentator Ian Dunt tweeted, 'The Conservative party is not composed of genocidal murderers. They are not trying to cull the population', commenting that it's 'depressing that this needs saying. ... I'm seeing… Continue reading ‘Herd immunity and let the old people die’ – Boris Johnson’s callous policy and the idea of genocide
After a court judgment forced the government to remove more than half the people from the recent deportation flight to Jamaica, the prime minister’s press secretary said that the reaction to the case showed that 'certain parts of Westminster still haven’t learned the lessons of the 2019 election'. What this tells us is that for Johnson and… Continue reading Jamaica flight: Johnson/Cummings believe that symbolic racist cruelty will send the ‘red wall’ voters the message that the Government is on their side
In the German film Goodbye Lenin, a loyal supporter of East Germany’s Stalinist regime goes into a coma before the fall of the Berlin Wall and when she comes round, her son goes to extraordinary lengths to pretend that nothing has changed. In the story of the British Labour Party since 2015, a minor left… Continue reading Goodbye Corbyn, destroyed by the Brexit he evaded
Endemic racism in the two main parties is a serious problem, but could be dwarfed by the Tories’ strategic moves towards weaponising immigration and the fear of others, as in this new Facebook ad. Racism is widely recognised as a serious problem in the UK General Election, as shocking comments by individual candidates and party… Continue reading Towards Another ‘Turkey Week’? The Threat of Strategic Racism in the UK General Election
Boris Johnson is making liberal gestures on race and immigration - appointing the largest number of cabinet ministers of BME (black and minority ethnic) background, refusing to commit to cutting immigrant numbers after Brexit, even repeating his support for the idea of an amnesty for irregular immigrants. Some liberal observers see Johnson’s position as more… Continue reading Dominic Cummings’ appointment reminds that whatever liberal gestures Johnson makes on immigration, he is focused on winning an early election – and will reach for whatever dirty, racist weapons he needs
At the beginning of Channel 4’s drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, the ex-Tory Ukip MP Douglas Carswell tells Matthew Elliott and Dominic Cummings, newly appointed to run Vote Leave, that they will offer a “respectable alternative” to the “rightwing thugs” Nigel Farage and Arron Banks. Cummings, the “strategist” (and anti-hero of this semi-biopic), soon returns… Continue reading Brexit: The Uncivil War – the TV drama disguised the ugly truth