Left Book Club re-launch planned for autumn with first book on Syriza

OvendenFormer London mayor Ken Livingstone is among a string of authors set to be published by a new Left Book Club, which launches this autumn.

A collective of writers, activists and academics have been working on the project with the radical publisher Pluto Press. The project aims to emulate the original 1936-1948 club in provoking thought and debate on the left. Subscribers will pay £40 a year for four (mainly original) books in addition to access to exclusive events, a newsletter and an online discussion forum. The first book, planned for the Autumn, will be Kevin Ovenden’s Syriza: Escaping the Labyrinth, an up-to-date guide to the party’s rise and its struggles in office. Its foreword will be penned by Channel 4 News economics editor Paul Mason. Continue reading

The Mirror front page hit a nerve. Bring on the distraction

BlSqhbvIUAAJJ0N.jpg-largeThe front page of yesterday’s Daily Mirror (left) made for graphic viewing. Its simple message about the injustice of Britain’s reliance on food banks – and the ease with which it could be shared on social media – made it an effective campaigning tool for “digital Bennites”. But within hours, the backlash had begun. Twitter was awash with right-wingers and plenty who should have known better expressing their own indignation. Apparently the use of a stock photo from Getty Images  – something plenty of papers use every day – is more of an outrage than the fact that one million food parcels have been handed out. Continue reading

Ken Livingstone will stand for Brent Central in the 2015 election

Update (12:00): Ken Livingstone is not really the Brent Central candidate – this was an April Fools.

The man, the legend, who first became an MP in Brent East from 1987 to 2001, has broken his vow never to enter an election again after the Brent Central Labour Party made an eleventh hour call to make Ken Livingstone their General Election candidate of 2015.

Though Ken said, as he failed to gain re-election as mayor, that his campaign and eventual loss to Boris Johnson would be his last, it seems that the Labour left-winger has one last fight within him – to take the seat away from Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather. Continue reading

A big thank you to Ken for the multicultural Olympics

No matter that I am not a sports enthusiast and was, in advance, a firm Olympic sceptic, it is hard not to be enthusiastic about the Games, sport, razzmatazz, community events and all. Above all, it did appear to deliver on the promise, Ken’s promise, of celebrating London’s multiculturalism – it positively oozed diversity and inclusiveness. But thanks to a swing 1.5% less than it needed to be, Ken was nowhere to be see — or thanked. Continue reading

The flames of hatred are still alive in the East End

Ken Livingstone, who has developed a healthy respect for Ed Miliband, told the BBC Today programme earlier this week that his only criticism of the Labour leader was that he paid too much credence to “discredited Blairites”. There are a number of reasons as to why Labour did well in London, yet Ken Livingstone lost, and one of the reasons is that a good number of unreconstructed Blairites either refused to work for Livingstone, or worse still refused to vote for him or indeed voted for anyone but Livingstone. Continue reading