The Good, the Bad and the Greedy

Seattle towers, present and future

 Go on, ban more things!

Bad News for Labour

Someone tried to launch a book at Waterstones in Brighton during the 2019 Labour conference. The shop cancelled the launch. That was all I knew about the book at the time but, as soon as I got home, I marched into my local indie bookshop and said “Have you got a copy of that book Waterstones refused to launch at the Labour conference ?” He did, I bought it, I read it, and this is what I thought…

Bad News for Labour: anti-semitism, the Party and Public Belief - book cover
Click here to read my review of the book Waterstones refused to launch

Protecting women’s little minds

In 2018, I and some friends ran a Woman’s Place meeting in my town. It was a sell-out. The last of the tickets went on the morning of the meeting, to people who contacted us saying, “what’s that meeting that Hastings Pride are telling us we mustn’t go to?”

Click here to listen to some speeches from WPUK meetings that some people think you should never listen to.

Producing a star trade unionist

In 1993, Mick Lynch was blacklisted by construction industry bosses for joining a union, so he went to work for a rail company instead and joined the RMT. He is now their General Secretary, and is doing them proud.

Click here to listen to Mick Lynch’s ‘top ten’ TV appearances.

I hope everyone reacts to bans, blacklists and attempts to cancel people the way I do, the way those women did, the way Mick Lynch did. Just as journalists have a duty to investigate and write about what the authorities don’t want them to, so the rest of us, if we care at all for freedom, should meet, listen to and read those the authorities try to warn us off.

Half-wise capitalist

 That attitude was what raised my interest in the work of Martin Vander Weyer. Not the sort of person I would normally give my attention to, as he is a self-confessed supporter of capitalism but, he happened to sign up to a trip to look around Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle and was rejected, having been blacklisted by the company’s PR team.

 As a result, Vander Weyer started researching Amazon, and other companies that he decided were examples of ‘capitalism gone wrong’.  It remains his opinion that the old, nice, creative capitalism has died, and we now have a nasty, destructive form of capitalism. He sighs, but maintains that it will be entrepreneurs – that is, new businesses, not the lumbering corporations –  who come up with the next batch of innovations and solutions.

Pity he didn’t look a little bit further – he might have found out that actually, business-based inventors rarely do well. Their ideas get nicked and re-developed by competitors. In fact, many of the most useful things we know, and our very best technological developments, have been produced by government-paid researchers in secure employment, working for state institutions.

Let’s ban Vander Weyer from some socialist events, then he will then be tempted to come and find that out.

Meantime, here’s his book . I’m not recommending it…

book cover: the Good, the Bad and the Greedy by Martin Vander Weyer


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