Ben Drake

Election complexities

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In post-election discussions we seem to be running with the line that Labour lost by not being left wing enough. I think that’s simplistic.

Partly Labour have lost their social, more than political, link with much of the working class.But also most folk right now see neoliberal capitalism as the only game in town.

Questions asked at the time of the bank bailouts were effectively deflected. The story through the election, from many voters too, was whether “we can afford” reforms. That helped the Tories.

Privatised aid

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Alex Cobham from Christian Aid rightly calls for Britain's Department for International Development (DfID) to help developing countries to strengthen their ability to collect tax revenue (Frontlines, Socialist Review, June 2008).

But it's worth noting that a major factor complicating this laudable aim is the government's decision four years ago to privatise the management of DfID's development fund, CDC, into a newly created private equity firm, Actis.

Confidence Back on the Frontline

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Radicalisation ('The Heat is On the Bosses', September SR)? You'd better believe it!

Over the past few years debates in our union meetings have moved so far, so fast, that at times I've found myself having to catch up with the mood. It's the war of course, but not just that. The experience of New Labour in power has dismayed and angered colleagues on a whole range of issues - everything from pensions to library closures to tuition fees. Often the angriest and most bitter cries of betrayal come from Labour Party members themselves.

They Think It's All Over

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As an active SWP member who also loves football, recent articles and letters apparently having a pop at the beautiful game have really wound me up. Happily, Pat Stack's wise and sympathetic article (September SR) calmed me down again--especially as he 'came out' as a footie fan, so making me feel less like a heretic!

Alas, it couldn't end there. Ann Rose (Letters, October SR) writes to urge Pat Stack to recant and condemn football, citing the usual charge sheet of racism, violence and commercialism.

So here's my twopenceworth. Yes, football suffers from the evils of commercialisation and commodification. But hang on--which popular activity doesn't? Yes, football is exploited to promote nationalism and racism--but which sport isn't? And yes, football as an industry is institutionally sexist--but which industry isn't? The point I want to make is why pick on football?

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