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Review Essay - Undoing the Demos: Neo-Liberalism’s Stealth Revolution, Wendy Brown, ZONE BOOKS, 2015

Close analysis of the nominations for Labour’s leader and deputy reveals a parliamentary party fracturing along sharper ideological lines than were evident in 2010.

Article

Ivor Crewe, Jon Cruddas, Marc Stears, Gregg McClymont, Emily Robinson

Autumn 2015

Taking the full measure of the 2015 British general election result, and its implications for the politics of the left, will be a lengthy and difficult process. Renewal presents here some initial reflections on the campaign, the result, Ed Miliband’s leadership, and Labour’s future direction.

The egalitarian achievements of twentieth-century social democracy have withered in the face of the neo-liberal onslaught. They must be argued for again and again.

Neither main party has a path to a stable parliamentary majority.

Article

Bridgit Phillipson MP, Paul Gilfillan

Spring / Summer 2015

North East Combined Authority’s resolution in favour of re-regulation of local bus services offers a better deal for passengers and taxpayers. The consequences could have significant implications for the future of public services.

Since her election as MP for Wigan in 2010, Lisa Nandy has become a prominent advocate for an emerging strain of pluralist, communitarian Labour politics. James Stafford met Nandy at Westminster at the start of the year, to discuss Labour’s developing agenda and prospects for government in 2015.

Political parties are, it goes without saying, formed out of agreement between members. But to be really successful the extent and intensity of that agreement has to be just right. Too much and a party will have limited appeal; it will be cult-like, brittle and prone to splitting. Too little and a party will attract self-promoting people and pet causes, making things fractious and difficult to manage.

Modern monetary theory destroys the intellectual basis for austerity but needs a more robust political economy.

The early career of Clement Attlee reminds us that the welfare state was never intended to stand alone as a set of institutions. Its stability depends upon a set of ethical, economic, and political foundations.

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty, 2014) is the most talked about work of political economy to have appeared in recent years, if not decades. Martin O’Neill of Renewal and Juncture’s Nick Pearce interviewed Professor Piketty on a recent visit to London.

The financial crisis has transformed the debate over Scottish independence – to the disadvantage of the SNP.

The origins and implications of the left’s dalliance with Scottish independence.

If you are in need of a doorstop, look no further. At 675 pages, an inch and a quarter thick, and three pounds in weight, the SNP’s independence manifesto, Scotland’s Future, will do that job admirably. Whether it also meets its stated aim of being ‘Your Guide to an Independent Scotland’ is another matter entirely.

For social democrats, the post-war years are usually seen as halcyon days. Across the Western world, including the United Kingdom, societies became healthier, wealthier and more equal. Inequalities were compressed as the dynamism of industrial capitalism was harnessed by the state – both national and local – and by strong trade unions, in the interests of the many not the few.

Everyone knows that it’s not what’s being said about the political issues that matters. It’s what can be said. Yes, politics is about ‘credibility’ and even more so about what is defined as ‘credibility’. Ed Miliband doesn’t look like a Prime Minister. He never will, unless the idea of what a Prime Minister is changes.

Public policies for private corporations: the British corporate welfare state

With the clock ticking down to the next election the Labour Party faces big questions about how to construct an attractive, plausible alternative to the politics of the Coalition. It needs a narrative which blames the economic crash of 2008-12 on unfet- tered capitalism rather than alleged Labour profligacy, but more than that it needs a vision of the future that can capture voters’ imagination and persuade them that Labour can make a difference in tough times.

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