activism Corbyn economics Politics

Politics: the viral divide

I begin to think the virus blame-game is even more misleading than the rest of the political hot potatoes put together.

Sham lockdown

When the whole masks and lockdown thing started, many of us thought it impossible to ‘stop’ a virus in a crowded country where many people still had to go to work. Many more realised it was impossible to do so with late lockdowns and kids being sent back to school. Anyone who was really paying attention knew from the start that it was impossible when there never was any reduction in the international travel of ‘business class’ people.

List of Johnson's extensive travels during times of virus
Johnson’s travels

So why get angry with ordinary people who did or didn’t observe lockdown properly for whatever reasons?

What we were trying to do

Most of us however, threw ourselves into dealing with life in lockdown with the aim not of ‘stopping the virus’ but of ‘flattening the curve’ – of preventing the inevitable wave of hospital admissions happening all at once, when the NHS was already near the danger-level of overwhelm.

Well, the NHS is up against it now, and it’s not because you or I didn’t do virus precautions properly, it’s because the government didn’t attempt to refund the NHS to cover shortfalls – was that most obvious of options even discussed? Nor did government deal with any of the serious gaps in lockdown compliance. We just had a few police forces harassing people who stretched the rules whilst walking on the prom whilst, as we now clearly see, government ministers led the tide of non-compliance.


At no stage in history did a vaccination campaign ever reach 100% uptake. They do not need to. Depending on the nature of the virus, most vaccination campaigns aim at reaching between 80 and 90% of the people. There is room for those who are allergic, or who have phobias, and those who just won’t be persuaded so, as the vast majority of people did take up the vaccination offer, there’s no need to have rows over who did or didn’t.

That terrifying calm

At first, many middle class professionals, especially those who thought they could maintain their income from home, were filling social media with the joys of lockdown calm. I enjoyed the calm, despite watching my business going down the tubes – but that enjoyment of a reduced traffic, reduced commerce world scared the pants off most government ministers. In lower and middle income professional areas, they saw people beginning to learn that they quite liked it when the wheels stopped. We were heading for a nationwide Reggie Perrin attack.

What I did while my business fell apart

Worse yet for the government, we began to realise who ran the country – who really were ‘essential’ workers.

Stencil on a street in Manchester: Unskilled jobs are a classist myth used by the rich to justify poverty wages

In ‘lower class’ areas (yes, ‘lower class’ is how people like our government ministers describe families that produce and maintain our keyworkers) in those areas, they first saw the truth that lockdown was ‘the middle class staying at home while working class people bring them things’. They saw the immediate suffering caused by reduced access to foodbanks. They saw the extent to which schools and other community facilities had been left to take over where social services and community health projects had long ago been cut to pieces.

poster: our key workers support everone. Pay them. Protect them. Respect them.

There, we see the true reason why the government was reluctant, late and incomplete with every lockdown or virus limitation plan. Like it or not, they gave us ‘herd immunity’ by stealth. They could not even get enthusiastically behind the ‘flatten the curve’ argument, because that laid them open to more people realising how badly they, along with previous governments, had underfunded and fragmented the NHS.

Natural immunity

We rejected the idea of ‘herd immunity’, or ‘letting things take their course’ for very good reasons but the government did not provide us with effective alternatives, so now we have to rely on it – but…

A few days ago, a study came out suggesting that having a case of the common cold is quite a good defence against catching a bad case of Omicron. I said well, [unprintable] I should have been getting on with my life, riding trains amongst the coughing sneezing winter crowds, and spent half the winter with a cold, like I always used to.

And according to todays papers, health authorities are concerned that there is another virus threatening, and that this year children will have “much lower immunity” at a time when the NHS is already under extreme pressure.

Who is to blame?

In normal times, babies would be born with a fair amount of natural immunity from ‘the bugs of the year’, and would take in more protection from their mothers’ milk, because it would contain immunity from any bugs their mums had had in the year or two before they were born. In many cases, our reductions in activity and partial lockdowns have stopped that happening.

So we are now at the stage where we do depend on natural immunity, but we really haven’t got much, because so many people have kept aloof, and have not had the normal winter viruses.

Public transport face mask image

And the blame rests with the government.

So next time you’re tempted to sneer at someone who happens to have a different opinion to yours on virus measures, do please remember where the blame actually lies. Diligent keepers of distance and washers of hands, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, the efficient keepers of lockdown and the indignant flouters of it, were all reacting to a situation in which the government was working against the people, and everyone just tried to sift an opinion out of a mass of PR and lies. No-one but the government and the stingy, irresponsible employers they serve should be shouted at over this situation.


It’s notable that since the Downing Street parties story has brought many people’s attention back to government culpability, the Wuhan lab theory is getting media attention again, with remarkably little emphasis on the international aspect of that lab, of the American and Australian scientists there, because if all else fails, blame the Chinese. And what of the opposition? Oh, but it’s been a difficult week in Westminster and by coincidence, Keir Starmer is self-isolating again.

Happy news

The good thing in all this is that the admirable response to a difficult situation that we saw in the NHS, in community volunteer groups and in the trade unions revived the taste for collective action inspired by the Corbyn movement.

Keep listening, Keep thinking, Keep talking

‘Government’ or ‘opposition’, Westminster is not your friend. Your best protection is always to get along with the people around you. Discuss these things, beyond knee-jerk differences, and plan some collective action. It will make you happier and it does far more good for you and others than a whole partyful of career politicians ever will.

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Why sign that petition?

In many ways, the petition text does not actually touch on the issues that most people see as the ‘Sir Tony’ problem. I’d say there’s a big one, and an earth-shatteringly enormous one – but I keep changing my mind over which is which. Here they are, in no particular order…

The ‘rescind Blair’s knighthood’ petition

The reasons…

We know what war is

The massive demo in London – believed to be around 1.5m people was not a single-issue demo. Its message, for chanting purposes, was ‘don’t attack Iraq’ but the wider, the excruciatingly important message was the popular realisation of what war is. (Some would say ‘always has been’, some would say ‘has become’ – but either way….) First world countries inflicting war upon countries far from home, ‘managing’ wars that they can be confident will never directly affect ‘their own’ people or property is very obviously a political game, a businessmen’s game. It is not acceptable to the general population.

It’s possible (some would say obvious) that statesmen have always spun lies to persuade their governments to pay for, and their people to fight in, wars they want to engage in but in the case of Tony Blair, we saw it happening, and we required acknowledgement of that. We may not have stopped the war, but the conversations that took place on that march, between reds, greens and non-party political groups, between socialist and non-aligned activists, between members of several religions and members of none, was a huge part of people in this country grasping the notion that we are the 99%, and that if we are to survive, sooner or later we need to learn how to put the brakes on the 1%, when they set up their massive crimes.

The ‘rescind Blair’s knighthood’ petition

Blairites v Corbynites is not over

It’s easy to misjudge what happened in the Labour Party in the last decade. It’s easy to think it was all about two opposed characters, and what people’s tribal allegiances were but although it’s a long time since Blair was leader, and Corbyn is now suspended from action within the party by the new leader, the real nature of the clash in the party was about understanding, and responding to, the discovery that we are the 99%, and all we need to do is work out how to take advantage of our vast majority. That’s a discovery that is made sooner or later in every generation, and it never ceases to matter. That’s why a favourite catch-phrase of the Corbyn movement was ‘for the many’.

The Labour Party could not, as it turned out, be opened up and democratised, because the 1% never let go of the levers that control the party. That needs to be remembered. I personally believe the lesson was that party politics is not helpful to the people. It’s tribal, and divisive, and is in fact one of the tools the 1% use to keep us apart. You may not agree, you may think one or other of the supposedly progressive parties is still worth fighting for. Up to you, but a large portion of the 700k people who have so far signed that petition have done so because they see Blair as the a leader of, and a symbol of, the force that broke the attempt by the 99% to get a grip on the party that, supposedly, was the party of the people.

Cartoon - Blair lists the reasons for his knighthood - not just killing a million Iraquis, but also.......
Some of the other reasons, illustrated by Paul Arkell

The ‘rescind Blair’s knighthood’ petition

What we need

If we are to beat poverty, if we are to beat the warmongers, the creators of refugees, and the climate crisis, if we are to save our NHS, and re-establish the need for decent, secure housing – if we are to do any of these things, we the 99%, need to keep leaning on the 1%. We need to keep showing them that we see their game, that we are learning how to push back, and that we are not going away.

We need to tell people like Blair – and that means everyone from him through Prince Andrew, Jeff Bezos, Boris Johnson and Sir Keir, all the way back to Blair, that their world is not sustainable, that neither their rules nor their rule are acceptable, and that we are too many to ignore.

That’s why, however far the wording of the petition is from your own personal reasons for being embarrassed/appalled/furious at the idea of this man being honoured by our country, whatever you wish that petition had said, its power now is that it’s the petition that’s got over 700k names on it. Please sign it, please share it, please email it to friends not on social media. We need that petition to be over a million, so that it cannot be dismissed as a minority view.

The ‘rescind Blair’s knighthood’ petition – sign it, share it, talk about it, take it further.

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What is a safe country?

Our politicians are talking about safe countries. They say refugees need to claim asylum in the “first safe country” they reach. In today’s news, we’re told that the UK and the Netherlands have agreed that refugees arriving here need to be “returned” to the “first safe country.”

Screenshot of MSN article,, header pic shows beach-art message 'safe routes now'
link to article

Sounds logical doesn’t it? But who decides what is safe, and how? Or is the very idea of “first safe country” yet another convenient myth, some words to say in parliament? I think this is likely, firstly because the problems that are creating the tide of refugees across the world are enormous – wars created by the arms industry, climate crises created by a generation of destructive industries, and unstable, unsafe regimes created by lousy politicians, mostly propped up by the USA, who don’t like to see other countries running independently of US hegemony.

It could not be more obvious that we have no politicians in our own current government with the intention or the ability to solve problems that big, so jockeying with other countries to try and prove refugees should go somewhere other than here is likely to be the best they will attempt.

In fact, according to France, our politicians are so bad it’s not worth talking to them at all. Macron is apparently annoyed with Johnson for tweeting one thing when he’s just said another, and although it’s possible he’s making a fuss, all our experience of Johnson suggests that when Macron says there’s no point in trying to work with him, it’s likely to be true.

We need a proper government, managed by professionals.

Our Home Secretary is making the refugee situation a crime issue, and thinks the answer is “tackling the criminal gangs” who arrange channel crossings – an absolutely standard Tory response that amounts to treating the symptoms. No-one would be paying strangers to organise stupid little boats if there was an official, safe route available.

Our so-called opposition has at least managed to point out that there needs to be a safe passage.

Michael Rosen tweeted the other day about the masses and masses of displaced people who were on the move after the Second World War, about how the UK had refugee camps all over the country then about how, despite being broke and all but broken by the war, we assimilated many of those refugees and organised passage to places they could live for many more. When you have a proper government, you can do things like that. Like any other project a government runs, such an endeavour builds bonds, creates work, and generally becomes a part of the life of a healthy country.

My second reason for not believing in the “first safe country” idea is that I have seen a stark example of how this works in reality.

An example of a ‘first safe country’

I went to the FiLiA women’s conference in October and in one of the plenary sessions, we all joined a zoom with some women in a refugee camp in Kakuma. It was a devastatingly emotional experience. Most of the women we spoke to were lesbians, and had been put in a ‘special’ area in the camp, because they were in a place where LGBT people were seen as something strange, something to put ‘outside’ the ‘normal’ area. There had been attacks, there had been rapes, there had been tents set on fire. One woman’s baby had been killed.

The women were terrified, and tearful, and had no idea how they could get away from that camp to a place where they would actually be safe. Most of them had no money, and those who did found that traders would not take ‘dirty’ money from gay people. Some had tried to escape from the camp, only to be attacked by security forces and dragged back. They had run away from a country where LGBT people were not safe, and been trapped in a place that was as bad, if not worse.

When I realised what the zoom was about, I worried at first that this would be some terrible spectator drama, but it wasn’t. The women had wanted to do the link-up because of the way news and politics works, because people who are known, people who have names and faces and voices, people who are in communication with others around the world, are harder to kill. I’m writing this blog post because I saw those women, they spoke to me, and I will never forget them.

We know about those women, Ms Patel. We have heard about “first safe countries”, Mr Johnson. We don’t believe you, we don’t trust you, and we require that you participate in #safepassage arrangements for refugees.

If you would like to help the Kakuma women, please visit the FiLiA website here.

Joanna Cherry has written to Priti Patel – one of the outcomes of that zoom…

Header from Nationa Scot article "Joanna Cherry: Priti Patel must help the women from the nation her parents left
Cherry’s column in the National Scot

We need to make more contacts with refugees, whether they are here or in camps elsewhere, find out more about them, and the issues that drove them from home, and then we need to educate our government.

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Who is best placed to get the Tories out?

We know, we know – Jeremy Corbyn is still the most popular option among Labour voters.

Graph showing popularity of various politicians. Corbyn is still preferred by Labour voters.

I do think we should all support those good people who are trying to reinstate their MP in the Labour Party, even if we have rejected and reviled the Party in its current form. His reinstatement as a Labour MP is a point that needs making.

Twitterstorm 18th Nov 7pm #ReinstateJeremyCorbyn
Islington Friends of Jeremy Corbyn

Please join in the Twitterstorm – and all the rest of the noise. Because people-power works. Understanding that is how you get your power back – the power we lost when we thought losing Corbyn, losing the election, losing the Labour Party, was the end of everything.

Where socialism went wrong – both in 1945 and in 2017 – was putting all its faith in one man, expecting salvation to come top-down, or from the centre. Who knows whether, given the chance, Corbyn would want to go through all that all over again – but what he did remains valid. He called together the biggest gathering of socialists in Europe. He called together a force that was – and is – big enough to push politics where we want it to go. The very least we can do in return is to make sure he gets his proper job back. But that’s not THE issue. The real pay-back to Corbyn, and for all of us – is to stay powerful, stay confident, and stay active.

Sleaze? Call it shameless theft

Never mind what the media says, we, the people, are unforgiving of MPs who use their position to get rich, and don’t address the problems we have. That’s why the ‘sleaze story’ won’t go away. Those few MPs who are on our side continue to help plug OUR concerns…

Don’t let their efforts be in vain. Join in the noise. Our determination to address the ‘second jobs’ problem has forced a reluctant Boris Johnson to try to look as though he’s taking action, and in his limited and compromised way, Starmer is trying too – but he can’t do much, he has his own skeletons to cover up.

But we can do something. All of us, and any one of us. That popular outrage – over the severe limitations of COP26, over the degradation of our NHS, over the increasing expense to us of rip-off Britain and now, over the discoveries about just how much MPs are earning by NOT treating their parliamentary roles as full time jobs has forced the leaders to do something. We need to keep that rolling, and force them to do more than a bit of PR.

This anger, this very visible anger, demonstrates the continuing force of ‘the many’ who Corbyn called together, and the door is still open for a new way for the many to do politics. Don’t give up, don’t give in – keep it going by keeping in touch with all those who are ready to stand beside you and do politics. You could join a union, you could get more active in your union, or you could just contact all those people you were working with when the Labour Party was really active. You could get together and visit your MP, or write to them, or do a public demo on any of the issues that really matter to us all. Whatever you do though, never forget, your small, local action is enormous and powerful because it’s a part of what we, the people, are doing …

Corbyn: it's not me they fear, it's you

Who is best placed to get the Tories out? WE ARE. Who is best placed to force the next government, whoever they are, to address our problems? WE ARE.

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You know schools, right?

Sorry for the bar room tone of the title, but it seems to me to match the level of thinking we have been getting from our government.

I have huge sympathy with the people who have been agitating all along to keep/get the schools open.

I have huge sympathy with the people who want the schools shut until we’re sure we’re safe.

I have huge sympathy with the people who think the whole idea of schools should be torn up and re-invented.

Here’s why…

What we have found out

Open the schools, fund the schools

Many communities, especially those that have become pits of social and financial deprivation due to the degradation of local authorities and funding, were depending on schools to keep children fed, healthy and safe. There are horrendous reports now coming out of the dangers and disasters that are befalling children in these areas during lock-down. If we are going to go on like this, we need to provide schools with the funds and the specialist staff to deal with all the community problems that have fallen into their laps because no-one else is dealing with them.

Keep the schools closed, fund everything else

It’s obvious that we need to close schools, and as many other institutions as possible, until the experts in *that* field have worked out how to deal with the virus and related problems so, having learned what our kids are going through, a responsible government would be urgently and actively re-funding and re-staffing the NHS, social services, community police, housing officers and all the other departments (not private contractors please, they have proved to be useless and expensive) – government or local authority departments that would, if they had the resources, be dealing with the problems those children are facing and – obviously – we need legislation to assure that wages and working conditions are functioning in a way that allows young adults to set up home, and find the time and resources necessary to bring up their children properly.

Ian Lavery MP points out why many people are not coping.

But it would appear that the only thing concerning the government is how they handle a cohort of kids who are all in different places on their national education data sheets, kids who are not in the habit of functioning in a group and following orders. Faced with a situation that doesn’t fit on their spread sheets, government ministers flip-flop between micro-management and hand-waving laissez faire in a way tailored to guarantee rage in teachers and parents alike.

Catch up with what?

Or – why school culture is bad for your kids

Closing schools made precious little difference to home-educating families. Those who aren’t familiar with the idea probably formed their notions of what home-schooling is long before it became something desperate parents resorted to when schools could not provide for their children. No longer middle class ‘hippy’ types, most home-schooling parents hauled their lives into a new shape with great difficulty because their children have special needs and their schools were poorly resourced to respond. Many of those who home-school now, whether by choice or because of special needs say the term itself is somewhat outdated. ‘Community education’ would be a more appropriate description. They band together, join local gyms, libraries and arts and science projects, and endeavour to teach their children what they are capable of learning in a way they are capable of learning it.

The biggest problem I see with such education is that it’s often impossible for people who don’t have the resources, financial or otherwise, or who have to work long hours, to take part.

When the schools closed, the children in those families who were engaged in non-school education carried on their education pretty much as before, except that their group work had to move onto zoom. The problems they do have went right on as before – the difficulty of getting officials who contacted them to understand what education was, the difficulty of securing places and facilities for the kids to sit exams and the complete irrelevance to them of government guidance and directives – but overall, home-schooling proved itself during lockdown to be far, far better adapted to the modern world than most schools were.

Guardian headline about free broadband being needed for schooling, with caption "leave it Jez. They're not worth it."

For one thing, it’s a large part of why the government we weren’t allowed to have had free broadband for all as a headline policy, and it’s another area in which I really wish we had a government with the ability to look and learn.

What ‘home-school’ kids are suffering though, is the same thing all kids are currently suffering. They urgently need the time and the opportunity to rediscover and rebuild their social networks. I seriously hope the government doesn’t pursue that recently mooted idea of extending school hours so kids can ‘catch up’ – what, catch up with an imposed GCSE regime that has little to do with their actual lives? – they, just as much as their home-schooling friends, need time to catch up with their friends, their lives.

Through the portal

If only – If only we had had the government the majority of us did our best to bring in in 2017 (yes, majority – go find out, if you don’t know) we could take away the fines and the social pressures (poverty, overwork, inadequate housing etc) that force parents to send kids to school, and we could completely make over our schools, so that they were our hubs of community education: so that they provided shelter and routine every day to kids who needed those things, but also provided exam resources and sittings, labs, dance and recording studios, IT centres, libraries, orchestra, choir and team sports opportunities and above all, professional teachers, to everyone in the community who needed them (free at the point of use, naturally – because we believe in free education for all, don’t we?) Such schools would of course be staffed by experts on education, child development and safeguarding, but they would not have to be experts in health, social care, housing, social control and all the rest of it because we would have proper local authority departments assessing and doing the necessary in those specialities.

Teachers have been flooding into the NEU and other community-action organisations, seeking help, support and directions forward. In January, the NEU held what proved to be the biggest ever Trades Union meeting and made more sense in a couple of hours than the government has in months.

The biggest lesson

Above all, I think the lesson all of us – parents, teachers, kids, politicians, the voting public – need to take from this is that we won’t get given what we want, we won’t get told the whole truth – unless we take action, take responsibility, and start making the world we want to pass on to our children.

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Extreme blog post

What we’re all gradually realising…

We’ve been warned and warned about extremism … meanwhile, whilst asking teachers and nurses to do the downright impossible, and the rest of us to panic over the day’s headlines – maybe Mr Cummings, or the arrival of a few desperate asylum seekers, the government has had a free reign to take our attempt at a constitution to bits, set up any kind of Brexit it likes, and sell off anything we still own, all the while blaguing their way into one of the worst covid-19 scenarios in the world.

Newspaper headline: 'Cummings draws condemnation from across UK society
Cummings draws condemnation away from the rest of the govt

Now, we’re angry. Now, we know who the real extremists are, and we’re all running in circles (without leaving home) trying to work out what to do about it. As a popular cartoon yesterday asked, is Laura K covering for Cummings, is Cummings covering for the govt? Is the govt covering for Murdoch? … is there another layer, called ‘the deep state’?

Did Cummings go travelling to further this or that scurrilous political or business plan? Yes, quite likely he did but how many years will it take us to work all that out? I’ve wasted a whole week’s thinking on it and now I’m bored with it.

Boris Johnson attempts an apology


Was supporting Jeremy Corbyn extremism? Is supporting Boris Johnson extremism? What about supporting XR? Or Julian Assange? Or sex-based rights? What about losing Domestic extremist tea towelpatience with lockdown, or saying there’s no point in sending your kids to school? Is Piers Morgan an extremist? Who cares! What the Cummings story did is push a lot of people over into ‘who cares’ but – would it be extremism to include in that mood not caring about what the media wants us to think?

Maybe real extremism is blaming whoever we’re encouraged to blame, or refusing to work with someone as soon as you find they take a different line to you on party politics, or Brexit, or religion, or one of the other things we’re so good at falling apart over, or maybe it’s spreading the propaganda we read in the less tabloidy papers, or just being noisy and angry because it makes us feel better. Maybe we’d better give all that up right now.

There is another option

If you haven’t already, take some time out to listen to Laura Pidcock and Noam Chomsky.



Or if you prefer a book, get hold of a copy of ‘The Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Klein. It explains that the government wants a never-ending crisis-scandal-disaster. It wants us running in circles getting angry with people at random. It takes our minds off the real enemy. Come election time, we’ll be back to battling over whether we like the blue cardboard hero or the red cardboard hero, or whether to ignore both if the green one’s in with a chance.

Activists with 'broken heart' placards commemorating those killed by DWP austerityOne  conclusion from watching the Pidcock/Chomsky interview is that we ought to give ourselves a break from arguing the toss over establishment figures and ballot boxes. Let’s think about our own, local resources. Many towns did remarkably well setting up local covid-19 help schemes. Generally, they are the same people who’ve been running foodbanks and all the rest of it – they did it no thanks to the govt, or what was said on telly.

Local ACORN team 'taking what's ours'
Properly socially distanced activism

We ought to do this all the time. Local networks coming together, doing their own thinking, doing local activism on issues that matter to them and choosing their own political education – and then doing more thinking, activism and education. And then more – it’s fun and it’s necessary. And let’s make sure the education we choose shows us the big picture, because we’re not just patiently doing the government’s job for them, but building our own way forward (we can still go and vote too, come the time but we don’t have to work ourselves to death over some party or candidate who wouldn’t walk half a mile for our sake).

Healthy extremes

The people’s extremes are about dodging the establishment ‘mainstream’, about focusing on localism and internationalism, instead of the Westminster-generated, big name ‘news’ in its blinding spotlight.

Localism and internationalism – there are real human stories to be found at those two extremes. With real humans in mind, we can leap-frog over what the government, the television and the newspapers think we should be worrying about.

Does it work?

Let’s consider the contrast between Pragna Patel’s speech here, where she cheers on a global rising and the gradual coming together of women’s movements…



…and Arundhati Roy and Naomi Klein here, where Roy concludes that people just don’t rise up.




Which one do you believe?

Yellow jackets being extreme in FranceMaybe the point is that a massive rising of the people is not necessarily a crowd running down a street. Maybe it’s a tidal wave of new thinking and co-operation that we’re aiming for.

It only takes a few people an hour or so to set up a local action, it only takes a few minutes to set up a pol-ed watch-party – but each time you do it, you’re adding power to the movement – and every time you set one up, ask each of the people who take part to set up another one of their own. And if you remember to take photos, and film speeches, you can get on social media and make each action grow and spread and inspire more people…

Local action

The point Roy missed is – The Tipping Point. People don’t rise up, right up until they do. And what brings us to that point is persistent local activism and political education.

Corbyn addresses a crowd of thousands

Remember the energy and the numbers at the peak of the Corbyn movement? We were nearly there – and although the Corbyn project failed, its gains in the population are not lost. It wasn’t a waste, all that activism and pol ed. We now have many, many more people with experience in taking the initiative and working together – keep going. Keep going until we have enough people, ready enough, willing enough, that the initiative is all ours.

And at the other extreme

Pragna PatelOne of the things Pidcock and Chomsky mention is a plan for a new international. Pragna Patel wasn’t imagining things when she said women’s action is going global. Lockdown does not change what millions of women have learned in the last few years. Keep your eye on the women and also, keep your eye on Sanders, Varoufakis and others. I hope that conference Chomsky mentions (The Progressive International Conference, in Iceland in September) isn’t really in Iceland – no more jet-set politics please! I hope that really, it’s going to be hosted in Iceland and held online, where it can be seen globally – but whatever.

Localism and internationalism are the healthy extremes, they are the people reaching out, and together, we have the widest reach. Have plenty of international stories in your local activism and pol ed. Find out what the people’s movements are doing in South America, in France, in India, communicate with them, learn from them and then act local – let’s learn planet-sized politics because after all, we have a whole planetful of people who need saving from the real extremists.

Dominic Cummings pictured inside a Nato summit he wasn't supposed to be at
Extremely annoying and distracting


Some good sources for pol ed until we can get back to real world films and face to face discussions…

The Spirit of '45 by Ken Loach
Well worth a watch

Stories from home and abroad

Socialist pol ed from the Labour Left Alliance

Blogs and podcasts by and about women at FiLiA

… but the choices are endless – just get Googling.


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My post-lockdown manifesto

(It’s a work in progress – I want to hear about yours, too.) What do we change, what do we scrap – what can we do?

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“Told you so” is not the way to success

Lexit is (was) the idea of withdrawing from the neoliberalist strait-jacket of the EU without selling ourselves to the USA.

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The day we almost saw what Eton Boys really think of us (amended post)

On 29th November, The Daily Mirror carried a front page that told us what Johnson thinks of us but…