Alan Gibson

Citizen Clem

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The 1945-50 government of Clement Attlee is seen as the Labour Party’s golden age — a period that brought about not only the creation of the NHS, national insurance and public assistance (the three pillars of the welfare state) but the nationalisation of coal, railways, electricity, gas, road transport and the Bank of England, and an improved education system.

Have the Tories been trumped by Brexit?

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The Tory government's divisions over Brexit can only be sharpened by Donald Trump's election to president of the US. Theresa May's woes go deep and won't easily be solved, writes Alan Gibson.

What does Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election mean for the Tories? Does it help or hinder the government’s crisis-strewn plans for Brexit? Like every other government, the Tories face not only the bumpy transition from Obama’s administration to Trump’s, but a president elect notorious for unpredictability.

The Labour Party's record on border controls

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Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to bow to the demand for tougher immigration controls is a rebuttal, not just of the calls made by right wing Labour MPs such as Rachel Reeves, Chuka Umunna, Stephen Kinnock and shadow Brexit minister Sir Keir Starmer. It is also a rebuttal of Labour’s dreadful past.

Lenin on the Train

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There can be few more important journeys than the one Vladimir Lenin took when he embarked from his exile in Zurich on the “sealed” train that took him and an assortment of fellow comrades to revolutionary Russia in March 1917.

Catherine Merridale provides an exhilarating account not just of the journey itself, across war-torn Germany, through Sweden and Finland and on to Petrograd, but of the machinations that led to it, and the fantastic events of the February revolution that instigated it.

America's Addiction to Terrorism

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A US survey in April last year found that 58 percent of Americans believe that torture under certain circumstances can be justified. Henry Giroux is rightly horrified. He argues that a combination of neoliberal capitalism, the rise of state terrorism following 9/11 and advances in internet and smartphone technology have brought about an unprecedented crisis in US culture, with frightening consequences. And although Giroux can be accused of exaggeration, much of his argument not only rings true, but has significant implications for Europe and the UK.

The Dignity of Chartism

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This short collection of essays by the great historian of Chartism, Dorothy Thompson, is an enjoyable read. It brims with important political activists, both men and women, who helped build what became the first major national working class movement in history.

It takes up key arguments, such as the movement’s class character, the reasons for its rise and subsequent decline, its relationship with other political movements, and it reveals just how explosive Chartism at times became.

The Emperor's New Clothes

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Russell Brand makes no secret about whose side he’s on in his latest film, made in collaboration with director Michael Winterbottom. Taking up Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale of the same name, Brand invites an assembly of infants to judge on the fairness of a society riven with the most grotesque inequality. Scenes from this sequence are brilliantly juxtaposed with a host of great interviews with working mothers, New Era housing campaigners, UK Care and Your Choice Barnet care workers, a campaigner with cerebral palsy against cuts to disability benefits, and so on.

The Deluge

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The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of the Global Order is an extraordinarily valuable book which traces the tumult that convulsed every part of the globe in the years following the end of the First World War, and the attempts by the victors of that war — the US, Britain, France and Italy — to create a system of global governance.

Migrants condemned to drown at sea

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A general election campaign marred by grotesque levels of racism has been punctured by some of the most graphic images of the effect of racism — the bodies of the hundreds of migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea during attempts to build a better life away from war and poverty. The images have touched millions across Europe, and hundreds of thousands in the UK, interrupting the depressing competition between the mainstream parties about who can out-Ukip Ukip to win a racist’s vote.

Cameron's Coup

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This is the book you want to stick down the throat of the first Tory you come across — even though it would be a terrible waste of the £10 you spent buying it. Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and founding editor of Guardian Public David Walker have put together an audit of Cameron & Co’s near five years in office, and what a depressing and anger-inducing read it makes.

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