Soundings

Articles from No. 49, September

A Dubious Appropriation
Jesse Norman, The Big Society, University of Buckingham Press 2010 David 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 and community...
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 the adequacy of...
'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 a fundamental reassessment of the value and importance of manufacturing. There is a huge growth...
Cuts Are a Feminist Issue: The Feminist Fightback Collective the 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 day to litanies of cuts to services - in health care; domestic violence services; universal child benefit; disability benefit; lone parent...
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 state and support for devolution and greater democracy. The disagreement between...
'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 of the failures of capitalism, or of moral decline, or (increasingly, on both sides) of both. But neither...
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 and decentralist traditions, which cut across both the 'Marxist left' and 'social democratic right' (a more traditional counter-position, but one...
Generation Wars
Ed Howker and Shiv Malik, Jilted Generation: How Britain Bankrupted Its Youth, Icon 2010 David Willets, The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future - and Why They Should Give It Back, Atlantic 2010 As the post-war baby boomers...
'Managed' V 'Market Capitalism': The Record: On Almost Every Measure, the Managed Capitalism of the Postwar Era Beats Its 'Free-Market' Successor
From the early 1980s, the British economy became the subject of an all-embracing economic experiment. At the heart of this economic leap-in-the-dark was a switch in philosophy from the 'managed capitalism' of the post-war era to one of 'market capitalism'....
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 our society and economy. Our economic system seems to 'refer' and incentivise the more selfish and competitive aspects of our...
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 people, beginning with Lord Morris's Chronically Sick and Disabled Person's Act (1970), the future of the disabled community now appears uncertain....
The Entrepreneurial State: Overlooking the Key Role of the State in Promoting Innovation Is One of the Biggest Mistakes of Market Fundamentalism
The current debate, in the UK and abroad, on the cut back the state in order to unleash the power of entrepreneurship and innovation in the private sector, builds upon a stark contrast that is repeatedly drawn by the media, business and libertarian...
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 status quo, the English 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 British economy is a unique event: two other large economies in the European Union are also in a depression. The performance of this group of three countries (the others are Italy and Spain) is in contrast to a number of EU countries...
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