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Posts Tagged ‘Compass’

An Open Letter to Compass: The Problem with the British State

Gerry Hassan

Open Democracy, January 12th 2011

After Neal Lawson and John Harris wrote a call for ‘New Socialism’ in the ‘New Statesman’ (1) I responded (2). Now Neal has posted a note about what I said (3). He feels that I am being uncomradely and this upsets him as I have long been complementary of Compass’ work and have collaborated with them in a number of ways.

I consider myself a friend and admirer of Compass and its work. In these challenging times they are one of the few bright spots on the left: attempting to revitalise a left project that is in serious trouble. Given this, we need – much more than we ever have done – honest, genuine debate and discussion amongst friends that includes criticism.

It was in that spirit that I offered my original contribution: as a friend and admirer, who is also at times frustrated at the continued omissions and silences from within so much of the British left, Compass included. I find it telling that the central questions that I pointed out were missing in John Harris and Neal Lawson’s original essay – and that I challenged them to address – are still not answered, indeed they are not even acknowledged in Neal’s reply. Read the rest of this entry »

After New Labour, the Limits of the New Socialism and the Need for a Radical Politics

Gerry Hassan

Compass, December 20th 2010

British politics are in a strange place – one where while some of the landscape remains the same so much is different. All of the three main parties have been disorientated by the result of the election and coalition along with the scale of the crisis.

One response to this from parts of the left is to retreat into the hoary old slogans of opposition and struggle, of shouting ‘Tory cuts’ without strategy or the need for rethinking. Another approach of part of the centre-left is to hope it can at an elite level influence the Labour leadership and win it to a progressive agenda; an approach which has paid scant dividends throughout history and nearly always ended in disappointment.

The dominant Westminster commentariat opinion has already established its position on Labour after the election. The narrative is that Labour is heading back to its old comfort zones and that Ed Miliband has already failed as Labour leader: branded by the mainstream media as illegitimate, indecisive and lacking in political strategy.

Then there are the opinion polls. Labour may be cheered by the polls – and in most it is at or above 40% – and ahead of the Conservatives. However, Miliband’s ratings – are so critics allege – the lowest for any new leader apart from Michael Foot, William Hague and Nick Clegg; Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair and David Cameron all had higher ratings. The argument is clear: Ed Miliband is a loser. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Broken Britain’ and Why Some People Are More Unequal Than Others?

Gerry Hassan

Compass, July 31st 2009

Response to comments on ‘Broken Britain’ article on Compass website:
http://www.compassonline.org.uk/news/item.asp?n=5129#comments

I think it is much simpler and more complex than people seem to be saying. For example, it is not difficult to start by acknowledging the reach of ‘Broken Britain’ and that the left has lost its way. Some find it difficult to acknowledge Labour has done some decent things in power, while others find it difficult to be critical of anything. These both seem inherently conservative positions. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking out of Britain’s Neo-Liberal State

Gerry Hassan and Anthony Barnett

Compass Epamphlet, January 2009

The world we have lived in, created from the twin oil-price shockwaves of 1973 and 1979 and validated in the eyes of many by the events of 1989, is at last suffering its own crash. The era of Thatcher and Reagan, inflated by their offspring Clinton, Bush and Blair; the era of unfettered financial capitalism, unrestrained consumerism and a near mystical belief in the power of markets; the neo-liberal epoch of corporate conceit and neo-con adventurism, is drawing to a close. Read the rest of this entry »

The People’s Flag and the Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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