Sally Campbell

Corbyn expresses desire for change

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This has been the summer of Corbynmania. Thousands of people have attended Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn’s election rallies in towns and cities across Britain.

These meetings have been some of the biggest we’ve seen since the anti-war movement in 2003, with venues overflowing into outdoor rallies from London to Liverpool to Norwich.

Corbyn, with his principled stance on war and oppression and vow to end austerity, has become an unexpected figurehead for discontent.

This is England '90

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It is almost a decade since Shane Meadows’ film This is England was released and his characters — from 12 year old lost boy Shaun to the terrifying National Front supporter Combo — grabbed us by the throat.

The original film was set in 1983 with a backdrop of the Falklands War and Thatcher’s re-election entrenching her reign of destruction. Its bleak setting in a non-specific East Midlands/South Yorkshire town presented a world of limitations and small horizons. The central characters’ identity as skinheads gave them a sense of being part of a culture.

Why did the Tories win?

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The shock of the Tory majority win in May's general election threw up lots of questions for socialists. Sally Campbell looks beneath the results to understand the dynamics at play in british politics.

The immediate response of most people remotely on the left to the election of the Tory majority government last month was despondency. This was not what we had expected; not what the polls had predicted — until that exit poll, which was largely met by disbelief.

General election reflects growing anti-austerity mood

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As we go to press the 2015 general election campaign is beginning to sour for the Tories. Their initial focus on attacking Labour leader Ed Miliband has been dumped in favour of carrots and sticks. David Cameron announced a pledge to increase NHS funding by £8 billion by 2020. This followed the Tories’ call for public sector workers to get three days’ paid leave for “volunteering” — that is, filling in for other public sector jobs which have disappeared as a result of Tory cuts.

The Falling

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The Falling is a dreamlike story of a fainting epidemic among pupils at a girls’ school. It is director Carol Morley’s first feature film, following her haunting 2011 documentary Dreams of a Life.

Set in a damp England in 1969, the times are changing, but the stuffy school in which the action takes place couldn’t be less swinging. Most of the teachers are stuck in the 1950s — if not austerity Britain of the 1940s — particularly Greta Scacchi’s Miss Mantel, who initially recalls Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Safe spaces?

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The cancellation of feminist comedian Kate Smurthwaite’s gig at Goldsmiths College in February — possibly out of fear of protests by other feminists over her views on sex work — has escalated into a row over who is allowed to speak on campuses and who decides.
Different examples are being lumped together with little clarity. A recent article in the Guardian is a good example:

Abortion amendment rejected

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An attempt to restrict access to abortion in the UK was thwarted last month — but the vote was too close to be ignored. Fiona Bruce MP, the Tory chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, put up an amendment to the serious crime bill, which would have criminalised abortion on the grounds of foetal sex. She was defeated by 292-201.

Make 2015 a year of resistance

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In four months time we face a general election amid an unprecedented political crisis. This is set to be the most racist general election campaign any of us has experienced. Tory chancellor George Osborne’s proposed cuts will take total government spending to just 35 percent of GDP — the lowest since the 1930s. The impact will be devastating.

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