Meacher was scholarly, considerate and magnificently right on the big issues

MeacherMichael Meacher has died as he lived, seldom attracting any fuss or attention, and seldom burdening his friends and comrades. That makes me sad, as he was a man deserving of attention – and not just as he was dying.

He was marginalised for most of his political life, often by the same people that will today mourn him. And that disregard for, and dismissal, of his unerringly principled political stance was wrong – both in political and moral terms – because Michael Meacher was magnificently right on the key democratic, economic and environmental issues of the day. Continue reading

No country is an island, not even Miliband’s Britain

The State We NeedA strange calm has settled over the Labour Party. There are debates over trade union influence, over what needs to be done to retain those poll leads, but when it comes to the question of political economy there is almost unanimity. From the left in the LRC to the right in Progress there is an understanding that neoliberalism is done. That Britain was dangerously exposed by the unfettered market New Labour assiduously cultivated.

And, lastly, to get things going again requires some new thinking or, for Keynes fans, new old thinking. It is therefore a shame that Michael Meacher’s new book, The State We Need hasn’t had the circulation it deserves. It is very much a work of Labour’s consensus around matters economic and, it could be argued, serves as an outrider for a “Milibandist” vision of Britain. This is not work of the hard or soft left, but rather the realistic left. And as such I can only see it attracting minor quibbles from the quarters that sit either side of it. Continue reading

The best of the rest: the economy, books and culture

Yesterday, we gave you our top picks from our year’s coverage of Labour politics. Today, we’ve put the spotlight on the issues we’ve discussed that aren’t so closely related to party democracy and the like – and there’s quite a range.

In May, Britain was graced with the appearance of the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who demolished the myths of austerity on an intensive media tour. The significance of his commentary was picked up by our commentator Michael Burke in September.

Our founder, Michael Meacher, has offered top commentary on the economy throughout the year. A scan – yes, a scan! – of the print version of his Guardian letter on the “scourge of our wealth divide” was popping up all over Facebook for weeks, and was retweeted over 8,000 times. He has writtenscores of articles on the economic situation over 2012 – this one on the European context keeps getting hits.

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Leadership or Impossibilism?

There will be many on the Left who feel that the outcome of the general election could have been a lot worse. The Tories and Liberal Democrats could be exposed as the utterly unprincipled opposite of the bringers of ‘new politics’ in which guise the media has promoted them.

Whilst they render themselves more and more unpopular until they fall apart, the Labour Party has the opportunity to make a fresh start, a clean break from the policies and practices of the New Labour era. Continue reading