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breaking news from the world of ideas

by Paul Embery
Friday, 18
October 2019
Idea
10:38

Why Poland’s Law and Justice Party appeals

The Law and Justice party (known in Poland as PiS), was re-elected in the Polish elections last weekend, securing 43% of the popular vote. The party stands on a platform combining economic interventionism with social conservatism.

Leader of the PiS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, after his party won with 43% support.

Commonly – though somewhat lazily – characterised as ‘Right-wing’, PiS, after coming to office in 2015, set about redressing economic inequality. It boosted the minimum wage, lowered the retirement age and increased the state pension. It also made heavy investment in a variety of social and welfare programmes, helping to free thousands from poverty. That Poland currently enjoys an economic growth rate superior to many of its European neighbours should command attention. ...  Continue reading

by Paul Embery
Wednesday, 2
October 2019
Reaction
07:26

‘Stop funding hate’ is a dangerous campaign

Sometimes the campaigns that appear the most unthreatening and innocuous turn out to present the greatest danger – the type that use high-minded language and sentiment in an effort to appear respectable and uncontroversial. It is easy to fall prey to their apparent sincerity, to be seduced by their eminent reasonableness.

One such campaign is ‘Stop Funding Hate’, which, so it tells us, is striving to make our media less racist, less bigoted, less, well, ‘hateful’. Who could possibly quibble with that? Except that this isn’t the campaign’s real intention at all. The most cursory examination of this outfit’s activities shows that its ultimate desire is to snuff out opinions it doesn’t like. And it does this by publicly naming and shaming companies which advertise in newspapers whose editorial line it disagrees with. Stop Funding Hate hopes that this negative exposure will force these companies to boycott those newspapers in the future, and that this in turn will compel editors to toe the line – or even force the newspapers to go out of business. ...  Continue reading

by Paul Embery
Tuesday, 24
September 2019
Video
17:58

Stephen Kinnock Interview: the Labour Party is in danger

I sat down with Stephen Kinnock MP at Labour Party Conference in Brighton, to discuss his prospective Brexit deal and the future of the Labour party. He is emerging as a leading figure within the party for re-establishing its core values and respecting the referendum result.

On a possible Brexit deal, Kinnock calculates he has “a solid two dozen” Labour MPs who can support the cross-party package. If the DUP can be satisfied on the backstop, he thinks it could pass (“I’ve never met a Labour MP who is worried about the backstop.”)

On the future of the Labour Party, he said the party needs “a clear message to our communitarian heartlands that we believe in the value of place.” ...  Continue reading

by Paul Embery
Thursday, 19
September 2019
07:00

You wouldn’t think it, but David Lammy was once a thoughtful MP

There was a time when David Lammy wasn’t the provocative rabble-rouser that he is today. Elected as the MP for Tottenham at a by-election in 2000, Lammy spent the first 16 years of his parliamentary career as a thoughtful, measured public servant – someone who was prepared to defy conventional wisdom and challenge orthodox liberal thinking.

David Lammy at a pro-EU rally on September 4th 2019

His stock rose particularly during the 2011 riots, which were sparked by the death of Mark Duggan in his own constituency. Lammy did not fall into the trap of excusing the mob violence. “Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you can’t know the moral difference between what is right and wrong,” he said at the time. ...  Continue reading

by Paul Embery
Tuesday, 10
September 2019
07:39

Where are our unions when we need them most?

If this week’s TUC Annual Congress has so far passed you by, you aren’t alone. It probably hasn’t registered with most of Britain’s six million trade union members either.

There was a time when the annual gathering of Britain’s trade unions was seen as a key event in the political calendar. Labour correspondents (remember them?) would devote vast column inches to the goings-on inside the conference hall.

Leaders like Jack Jones were known in every household

Images of gnarled old union bruisers holding forth at the rostrum would be beamed live into the nation’s living rooms via the BBC. Leaders of the movement would be sent up by Mike Yarwood on prime time TV. The names Jack Jones and Hugh Scanlon – the ‘terrible twins’ – were known in every household. ...  Continue reading