Soundings

Articles from No. 49, Winter

A Dubious Appropriation
A dubious appropriation Jesse Norman, The Big Society, University of Buckingham Press 2010David Cameron first used the term 'the big society' publicly in a speech in November 2009: Our alternative to big government is the big society. Social entrepreneurs...
Analysis and Resistance
Analysis and resistance David Beetham, Unelected Oligarchy: Corporate and Financial Dominance in Britain's Democracy Democratic Audit 2011 (www.democraticaudit.com/publications)Democratic Audit has long been one of our most valuable sources in assessing...
'Cars Not Casinos': The Manufacturing Revival
Recent steps to rebalance the economy towards manufacturing are welcome, but need strengthening.The UK motor industry is facing one of the most exciting and optimistic periods in its recent history. The recession and financial crisis have resulted in...
Cuts Are a Feminist Issue
Feminist fightback collectiveThe government's cutbacks in social provision are privatising work that is crucial to the sustenance of life.Since the Coalition government was 'elected' in the United Kingdom in May 2010, we have opened our newspapers each...
Democratic Localism
Some on the left see only two versions of localism, but we need to discover a third.The issue of localism is often a difficult one for some on the left, as they find themselves caught between support for a socialist, distributive and egalitarian central...
'Dependency' and Disability: How to Misread the Evidence on Social Security
Contemporary narratives on 'welfare dependency' turn on airbrushing long-term disability out of the evidence.Both left and right have a tendency to treat out-of-work benefit receipt as a symptom of broad societal malaise - whether this is seen in terms...
English Socialism - Regional Accent?
Drawing on the many rich traditions that still exist within the regions and nations of Britain is a potential pathway to a renewed socialism nationally.One of the most important fissures in the history of British socialism has been between its centralist...
Generation Wars
Craig Berry and Rhiannon FreelandEd Howker and Shiv Malik, Jilted Generation: How Britain Bankrupted Its Youth, Icon 2010David Willets, The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future - and Why They Should Give It Back, Atlantic 2010As the...
'Managed' V 'Market Capitalism': The Record
On almost every measure, the managed capitalism of the postwar era beats its 'free-market' successorFrom the early 1980s, the British economy became the subject of an allembracing economic experiment. At the heart of this economic leap-in-thedark was...
Relational Economics
Recognising that economic life involves networks, connections and relationships is an important part of rethinking the economy.There has been much discussion - in these pages and elsewhere - about the rise of excessive individualism and its impacts on...
Speaking for England
In this issue we continue discussion on a number of themes that are critical to rethinking left strategy and developing opposition to Coalition government policies - extending democracy across the regions and nations of the UK, a new welfare settlement,...
The Benefits Scandal
The government is withdrawing the support that enables disabled people to work, while simultaneously arguing that more of them should be working.Despite significant progress in earlier decades towards enshrining legal rights and protection for disabled...
The Entrepreneurial State
Overlooking the key role of the state in promoting innovation is one of the biggest mistakes of market fundamentalism.The current debaie, in the UK and abroad, on the need to cut back the state in order to unleash the power of entrepreneurship and innovation...
Time for an Optimistic Englishness
We need a new debate on Englishness.National communities tend to be imagined or re-imagined at times of convulsive change and crisis. Yet though such change - social, economic, technological and constitutional - is currently undermining the political...
Where Did It All Go Wrong for George Osborne?
It is the government's policies that are causing economic stagnation, not the wider economic crisis.The depression of the British economy is not a unique event: two other large economies in the European Union are also in a depression. The performance...