Labour is no Longer a Serious Party

Labour is a party that loves its traditions so it was no surprise that its conference in Brighton started off with the traditional singing of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”. Labour Conference 2017 will be a celebration of humiliation deferred and future victory. There is no doubt the whole week will be one whose underlying message is that the party is closer to government than it has been since it lost the 2010 election. They are right. And that is frightening because Labour is no longer a serious political party. There are a husk; Corbynistas merely dilettantes. This week by the seaside, Labour will merely give Brexit the briefest of mentions. Banquo received a warmer welcome when he turned up for dinner at Macbeth’s.

The Week on Planet Trump: "America First" Means Incoherence Abroad, Racism at Home

It is clear that Trump is a hero among white supremacists: He panders to them, he is slow to condemn them and when that condemnation manifests, it is often forced and tepid. Trump never seems to be worried about offending anyone except Vladimir Putin and white supremacists. What does that say about him? How can you take comfort among and make common cause with white supremacists and not assimilate to their sensibilities? I say that it can’t be done. If you are not completely opposed to white supremacy, you are quietly supporting it. If you continue to draw equivalencies between white supremacists and the people who oppose them — as Trump did once again last week — you have crossed the racial Rubicon and moved beyond quiet support to vocal support.

Tragedy, Absurdity and a Conflicted Relationship With Gender: the Art of Monira Al Qadiri

Monira Al Qadiri uses video, sculpture and painting highlight the absurdity and tragedy of the world that we live in today. She attempts to evoke otherworldliness and go 'out of time' with a series of works that appear unrooted to the point of seeing alien. Autobiography emerges as a key theme in her work, drawing on personal experiences as a microcosm of bigger issues and ideas that exist around us. Gender, is another key theme and one she says she has a conflicted relationship with and one she "still cannot fully grasp or categorise."

Brexit Britain from Abroad: May’s Italian Job

In a major speech on how Britain wants to exit the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May called Friday for a two-year “implementation period” after Brexit, during which trade and travel, customs regulations and security arrangements would continue on current terms. May’s remarks in Florence immediately stirred debate in Britain and across Europe about exactly what she meant. But the consensus was that Britain means to leave the European Union as promised in March 2019, but remain a full trading partner, pay its full share to the European Union budget and fully abide by its collective rulings for an additional two years, more or less.

Weekend Poetry: The ghost in our house and other poems

Fran Lock is a dog whisperer and poet, now living and working in London. Her debut collection Flatrock (Little Episodes) was launched in May 2011. Her work has appeared in various places, including Ambit, Poetry London, The Rialto, The Stinging Fly, and in Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt). Her second collection The Mystic and the Pig Thief (Salt) came out in September 2014. She is the winner of the 2014 Ambit Poetry Competition. She won third prize in The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2014.

Whatever They do to Court the Youth Vote, Hard Brexit will Taint the Tories

The Tory MP George Freeman is attempting to launch what has been described as a ‘Tory Glastonbury’. The ‘Big Tent Ideas Fest’ is certainly no Glastonbury but it is part of a wider campaign to make the case for centre-right policies to the young. According to recent polls 69% of 18-24 year olds would vote for Jeremy Corbyn. It may be that many will change their politics as they become older but it is likely that many if not most will remain hostile to the Tories.

You’re Wrong, Vince. A “reverse Ukip” Could Revive the Lib Dems

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, said Oscar Wilde. Of course, politicians love being talked about. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, politicians knew they had made it when they they earned a Spitting Image doll. They might not make headlines but their faces - however grotesquely distorted - were recognised. Two years after helping run the country, the Lib Dem are hosting their annual party conference. Tumbleweed has a greater impact. The average man or woman in the street would struggle to hold a conversation about anything that has happened this week in Bournemouth. They launched a new party political broadcast to introduce their new leader to the nation and that leader claimed he was a potential prime minister.

Forget Boris, it’s Mark Carney who hit the Brexit nail on the head

The entire debate in Britain about how the UK will leave the European Union has so far been a giant version of the “dead cat strategy” — Lynton Crosby’s idea that by throwing a bizarre red herring into the discussion, voters will stop paying attention to the real issues. Boris Johnson’s 4,200-word article in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday about his vision for Britain in a sunlit post-Brexit world was perhaps the pièce de resistance. Despite the terrorist outrage the previous day, the media analysis of what the Foreign Secretary said, what he meant, and whether this was the start of a bid for leadership of the Tory party, dominated the print runs and airwaves for the next 72 hours.

The Universal Credit is in Crisis. Labour Should Commit to a Universal Basic Income Now

When the Coalition government came to power, Iain Duncan Smith unveiled the Universal Credit (UC), a new benefits system meant to combine unemployment, low-income and housing benefits into a monthly payment, as the government’s big idea to restore fairness to the welfare state. But as UC has rolled out across the country its impact has proved disastrous. Housing authorities describe its inefficiency as only worsening hardship for claimants, with delayed payments leaving them with rent arrears and at risk of homelessness. The system UC is replacing no less appalling: the horror stories about benefits being docked by the DWP for various ridiculous reasons are the stuff of nightmares, driving the demand for emergency aid from food banks.