Venezuela: cheerleading the Pinochet option

by David Osler.

When the most constructive thing you can find to say about a country facing the real possibility of a military coup is to brand Seumas Milne the moral equivalent of Gary Glitter, you need to consider whether you ought to be commenting on international politics in the first place. Yet such was the basic premise […]

The ‘socialism’ of Vince Cable: what’s changed?

by David Osler.

Such is the magnitude of the event that the definitive account of the financial collapse of September 2008 and its consequences has surely yet to be written. I do not mean by stating that to deride numerous worthwhile attempts at a first draft of history. Journalistic efforts such as Paul Mason’s Meltdown, Elliott and Atkinson’s The Gods […]

Nigel Farage: the low rent Enoch Powell

by David Osler.

It’s something of a love that dare not speak its name. But Powellism has remained a major subtext on the British right for something like half a century, with the rise of UKIP marking only the latest incarnation of this ongoing infatuation. It may seem a bit of a stretch to compare a reactionary intellectual […]

Margaret Thatcher: the woman who killed conservatism

by David Osler.

Margaret Thatcher stands in the same relationship to the last five leaders of the Conservative Party as James T Kirk does to subsequent captains of USS Enterprise; they represent ideal types against which the fan base can haughtily dismiss other holders of the same job title as irredeemably insipid. So powerfully does she dominate the […]

Margaret Thatcher: La Pasionaria of the C2s

by David Osler.

If A Trot paper of the type I used to sell in the 1980s had accused Margaret Thatcher of ‘bourgeois triumphalism’, it would have been laughed off the pitch for resort to boilerplate cliché of the worst kind. But the formulation was famously first levelled by traditionalist Tory Peregrine Worsthorne in the pages of the […]

After Philpott: Labour should make a positive case for welfare

by David Osler.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, as the Kevin Spacey character argues in The Usual Suspects, is convincing the world that he doesn’t exist. Given our government’s success in persuading the electorate, millions of claimants included, that it doesn’t need the welfare state, I’m starting to suspect that Old Nick numbers among Lynton Crosby’s sources […]

Opposing poverty: a job for the left, not the churches

by David Osler.

When I give food to the poor, I’m propping up David Cameron’s Big Society programme. When I ask why the poor have no food, I sometimes wonder what I’m doing in the Labour Party any more. Recent weeks have seen the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 42 other Church of England bishops, the Baptist Union […]

Bedroom tax: Labour should follow SNP lead

by David Osler.

Britain is about to witness the first co-ordinated attempt by multiple local authorities to obstruct a Westminster edict in almost three decades. Good news, but don’t dust off those ‘defiance not compliance’ badges just yet. Sassenachs who haven’t been keeping up may need to be told that eight Scottish National Party councils are to follow […]

A brief history of Victorian welfare reform

by David Osler.

Back in the 1830s, the Tories and the forerunners of the Liberal Democrats were of one mind concerning the need for sweeping reform of Britain’s horrendously expensive welfare provision. Not only did the Speenhamland System constitute a direct incentive to indolence, but with the public finances in disarray after a series of ruinous military episodes in other […]

Don’t exaggerate the UKIP threat

by David Osler.

British parliamentary contests are described as first past the post for a reason, and the reason is that coming second does not get you a seat at Westminster. Yet somehow UKIP is basking in a spectacular degree of favourable publicity through the simple expedient of losing the Eastleigh by-election. One factor at work is that many […]

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