Border trouble

border controlsShocking, but not unusual news reached us as some 1400 refugees in transition drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in just one week. And the Sun’s Katie Hopkins, never shy to urinate over heaps of corpses, including the unburied, gave the British public that article. Meanwhile, the left reacted in predictable fashion. For the National Union of Journalists’ badly eviscerated NUJ ‘Left’ grouping, the tragedy provided yet another opportunity to lament insufficient press regulation – if it were up to the NUJ, some members continue to fantasise, the Murdoch press could not print such bile with impunity Continue reading


Socialist Party: Labourism v Fascism

Published in Weekly Worker, 8 November 2012

There can be no annual Marxist school without a session on the far right and that was the case with Socialism 2012. But, credit where credit is due, the Socialist Party in England and Wales does not treat the subject as an easy recipe to stir up emotions, conjure up apocalyptic visions and cohere the troops around an easy target. Unlike the SWP’s, its treatment of the English Defence League is not only remarkably sober: it acknowledges that it is a social question rather than just one of physical threat. Continue reading

Profound questions, no profound answers

A play about the 2011 summer riots: Archie W Maddocks, ‘Mottled lines’ (director: Henry Bell)

Published in Weekly Worker, 19th July 2012

Inspired by the outbreak of underclass rage that rocked the UK in August 2011 and dedicated to “those who rioted and those who didn’t”, Mottled lines is the debut of the 23-year-old playwright Archie W Maddocks. At its sharpest, the play accurately captures the psychological and ideological motivation of its protagonists – in the case of its two Tory characters frighteningly so. At its wobbliest, it appeals to nothing more progressive than the idea that people should be nicer to each other. Continue reading ‘Profound questions, no profound answers’