The symbolic politics of England football: an imagined community of eleven people

adidas-beau-jeu-euro-2016-ball-2 (1)Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football explores what Monday’s announcement of the England Euro 2016 squad tells us about modern Englishness

I was six at the time of England winning the World Cup in ’66. Despite it remaining somewhat of an obsession of mine – to declare an interest I’ve just edited the collection 1966 and Not All That to mark the 50th anniversary – I have no significant memories. Well apart from one, being Daddy’s little helper collecting tickets on the gate at the Tadworth, Walton and Kingswood summer flower show. It rained and nobody came, years later I realised why after checking the date, clashing with the England vs Argentina quarter-final was never going to attract any but the most dedicated of horticulturalists. Continue reading

The canny politics of Ruth Davidson

RuthDavidsonMSP20120529 copyMost lefties have one or two favourite Tories. Me? I own a whole menagerie. Who can resist Nicholas Soames and his waspish tweets? Fabbers’ endless self-parodying? The plastic Thatcher tributes by Anna Soubry? And Rees-Mogg’s distillation of Tory toffism? Yet these colourful characters share a less appetising trait: they’re all irredeemable bastards. I might titter at Fabricant and roll my eyes at our Jake, but I have no doubt these people are enemies of the labour movement. They would rather we didn’t exist, and long for the days of the cap-doffing squire and the people who knew their place below stairs. And that’s before you scrutinise their voting records for supporting attacks on the poorest and most vulnerable. Continue reading

The Beckett report, polls and the Left

Margaret BeckettOn two related issues, the Beckett Report and Labour’s overall level of support, there has not been a sufficiently robust response from the left.

On Beckett there would appear to be general agreement that the failure to even attempt to dispel the myth that Labour was responsible for the 2008 crash because of over expenditure rather than bank ‘sub prime’ lending was a key factor. It should have been the key issue, as Michael Meacher consistently and rightly argued in Left Futures and elsewhere, and without substantial acceptance that Labour was not to blame it is doubtful whether the election could have been won, irrespective of more favourable approaches in other areas. Continue reading

The SNP motion on Trident was a sectarian stunt, not a blow for disarmament

Bairns not Bombs CND TridentThe motion which was put down in the name of SNP Westminster MPs yesterday “that this House believes that Trident should not be renewed” had nothing whatever to do with advancing the cause of disarmament or preventing the renewal of Trident. That is an objective the SNP does not share.

If they did, they would seek to cooperate with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Instead they sought to divide it and so to weaken the combined opposition to Trident renewal in the hope of political advantage north of the border. A narrow sectarian objective. Continue reading

Labour needs internal democracy to win in London

Sadiq Khan LONDON MAYORWith campaigning kicking off for the London Mayoral Election it would be easy to forget that Labour’s manifesto is yet to be written. We can all see that winning in London requires a strong set of policies which deal with the issues facing Londoners, particularly housing and transport.

As Labour Party members, we understand that good ideas do not come from individuals alone but from discussion, debate and democracy. This means that the best way to ensure that we get the radical manifesto we need is through a genuinely open and democratic policy-making process within the London Labour Party. Labour’s members are its links to communities across the capital and the stronger the voice they have, the more likely it is that we will get the manifesto we need. Continue reading