Archive for August, 2010

Has New Labour left British activists spoilt?

This might seem like a very bizarre question. New Labour provided a huge wealth of issues on which to campaign, and saw several massive outpourings of emotion from numerous quarters, including Stop the War, Make Poverty History, and much of the previous “Jubilee 2000” initiative. There were part-privatisations and uncountable breaches of civil liberties, but was there something qualitatively different about the biggest issues under Blair and Brown?

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Tuesday, 31st August 2010 at 6:00 UTC 9 comments

Playing the role in front of us

Recently I’ve been doing some big reassessments of where I am and what I’m doing. Its a pretty tough process, and will involve pulling out of at least a couple of groups, somewhat facilitated by the range of fresh issues and challenges being foisted on the British activist in the wake of the change of government. Into this, I’ve been hearing, in more than one place, the need to “play the role in front of us”.

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Monday, 30th August 2010 at 6:00 UTC Leave a comment

Individualism & Momentum: the unanswered question

I only made 3 days of Momentum this year, arriving by sleeper and day train just in time for Monday’s main morning meeting and working on the Church Action on Poverty stall through to the end. It was again a very good experience and a chance to get away and think about the spiritual basis for much if not all of what I do. The event has matured, but after last year’s event, few questions were answered.

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Sunday, 29th August 2010 at 6:00 UTC Leave a comment

Climate Camp in Review

So now comes the time for the Climate Camp post-mortems. As ever, I shall remain upbeat, whilst perhaps pointing a few failures here and there, which is pretty much how I feel about the whole mobilisation. I spent 4 days and 3 nights on site, and really enjoyed myself, but to fail to critique would be a mistake – the movement lives on because it critiques itself.

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Friday, 27th August 2010 at 19:19 UTC 1 comment

What the Israeli soldier facebook photos tell us

I’m in a huge hurry to get a train, but couldn’t not use these few minutes to address this one news story from the last few days: an Israeli soldier’s photos of herself posing with blindfolded Palestinian men that have been posted to facebook. Whilst the IDF seems determined to make this “an isolated incident”, I think it shows us far too much to simply pass it by.

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Wednesday, 18th August 2010 at 14:09 UTC 1 comment

NHS: Why the Choice Agenda won’t work (for you*)

* Of course, it will work if you have the money to make use of the options it gives you, or the free time, which as we know, is also like money.

OK, less of the sarcasm. Choice is something we humans value in many contexts, and its hardly a bad thing in itself. But the way choice is provided to us, often as a selection of options rather than actual free choice, quickly becomes problematic.

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Monday, 16th August 2010 at 6:00 UTC 11 comments

Amoral Conservatism

I’ve been pondering some of the motives for Cameron’s exuberant welcoming of the Lib Dems into coalition with his party. Apart from the obvious (who couldn’t really govern without them), I’m left wondering whether he hasn’t in part played a very shrewd move when it comes to the socially and morally conservative elements in his party.

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Friday, 13th August 2010 at 22:30 UTC 1 comment

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