Soundings

Articles from No. 35, Spring

Britain's Wealth Explosion
December is jackpot month in the City, the time when staff receive a letter detailing the annual bonus they have been awarded. In the winter of 2006, the total paid out was estimated to be close to [pounds sterling]9 billion--that's half Britain's...
Childhood, Youth and the Economy
The government s agenda for children, Every Child Matters (ECM), is widely welcomed and praised. (1) This article raises less publicised concerns about ECM however. Children's and young people's lives are becoming highly constrained in Britain. An...
Citizen's Income: Sowing the Seeds of Change
Unfettered business expansion has now become so damaging--to society, to nature and to humanity itself--that we need to rethink the very concept of economic activity and embark on the long haul from boundless economic growth to balanced social development....
From 'The Family' to 'Families': How Individualisation and Globalisation Are Changing Our Personal Lives
In the 1950s and 1960s a standard family model existed in Western countries that was generally accepted, and was indeed practised by most people. This so-called 'normal' family consisted of an adult couple with children; of course, the adults were...
Green Ethics and the Democratic Left
Can there be anyone who is still unaware that we--that is, the Earth and all its inhabitants--are now embroiled in a crisis which is only going to intensify? True, there is not a complete consensus on the severity of the crisis (when was there ever...
Has the Future a Left?
There are currently two dominant ways of arriving at the idea of 'the left', both of which lead to a definition that is as unsettled and transitory as the reference points from which it is drawn. (Indeed such approaches can be seen as typical of the...
Labour's Health Policy: The Cart before the Horse?
The first aim of health policy should be to keep people well--or as well as possible--both mentally and physically, within the limits of unavoidable risk. The second aim should be to ensure that they can get high-quality, safe treatment and care when...
Left Futures
This issue of Soundings marks the beginnings of a long-term project to initiate a debate on future trajectories for the left. (The project will include the third annual Soundings event, which will take place on 30 June, see ad on page 7). The context...
Progressive Politics after Blair
Compass bills itself as a 'pressure group providing direction to people and organisations who want a more democratic and equal society' (see www.compassonline.org.uk). It operates both as a loosely constituted network of like-minded political sympathisers,...
Resisting Big Pharma
The medicines business has always made fabulous amounts of money out of our collective malaise. No-one minded this much in the industry's early days, when new medicines were being delivered fast, furiously and--importantly--at prices most governments...
The Complexity of the Social
Liberalism, collectivism and democracy The defining conflict of our times appears to some to be that between 'Islam' and 'the West'. It hardly needs spelling out just what a misleading formulation this is: both crudely simplifying and mischievously...
The End of the Empire of Gog and Magog
The image of robin territories shown opposite comes from one of my favourite books, David Lack's The Life of the Robin. (1) This was a seminal work, one of the first monographs on a bird ever produced. I was taught about birds and plants by my mother...
"The Long Revolution" Revisited
In this article, I want to look again at the ideas of Raymond Williams in The Long Revolution (first published in 1961)--which was an inspiring statement of the political perspective of the early new left. It was a hopeful book, combining a belief...
The Other Pleasures of Post-Consumerism
The evidence for the impact on global warming of affluent lifestyles is now incontrovertible and receiving belated mainstream media attention. One has to be glad of this. But it is difficult not to be disheartened by the blinkered nature of the two...
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