While many supporters of the Sanders campaign have voiced their opposition to Clinton’s policies, the confirmation that Hillary will be the Democrats’ presidential nominee signals in many ways that the United States can now be seen as champions of the liberal movement. Although Hillary’s foreign policy record, combined with her opposition to universal healthcare, represents a step backwards for the U.S, the continued celebration of the liberal ideology across much of the states’ is worth appreciating.

This celebration, however, is currently subdued and on the backburner because of the ever-persistent threat of Donald Trump. Sections of the media are currently trying to persuade us that Trump does not have a chance of winning. Unfortunately, they are wrong.

Currently, America is scared. The threat of financial insecurity and global terrorism looms over the States, and Trump is incredibly skilled at thriving off that. Of course, it is a given that the average American will be worried by the threat of global terrorism. The worry, however, is that this fear is becoming linked to attitudes surrounding immigration.

Immigration is by far the issue where Trump shows himself to be most out of his depth and completely incoherent, yet it’s where is most successful. Trump’s pledge to build a wall on the America/Mexico border is a gift to metaphorical imagery as his campaign continues to divide a great nation in half. The far-right using fear mongering over immigration is hardly new – where would the Brexit campaign be without it?

But there is something deeply troubling about the success Trump is having in denigrating the Mexican people. Mexicans have become such a strong part of American culture, making up almost 11% of the United States’ population. This is by no means the same as Nigel Farage telling us Brits to fear Bulgarian’s and Romanian’s coming to the United Kingdom. Farage is undoubtedly wrong and out-of-touch on these issues, but for want of a better word, Trump has trumped Farage on anti-immigration propaganda. While Farage spreads doom about our European neighbours, Trump is playing a leading role in making a significant part of his own nation’s population being made to feel as if their friends and family across the border deserve to be treated like caged animals

I have already mentioned that Hillary’s foreign policy record is troubling; whether one focuses on her disregard for the national stability of Libya post-Gaddafi, along with her close ties with Israel’s Benyamin Netanyahu. These are issues that deserve close scrutiny because they pose a threat to peace and humanity. But Hillary’s stances are still preferable to those belonging to Donald J. Trump, a man who suggested that the best way of stopping Daesh recruitment was by “closing that internet up.”

“I don’t want them using our Internet”, he said, like a greedy toddler who doesn’t want to share his toys. There is a fine line between ignorance and plain stupidity, but Trump has his feet on both sides. But when this man is able to get away with such gross incompetence and absent mindedness, you know that reasoned thought and argument might not necessarily prevail.

On the flip side, however, the Republican party has been in utter chaos since Barack Obama became president in 2008. John McCain’s defeat was followed up by continued listless displays by Mitt Romney, who failed to capture any sort of widespread adulation, and suddenly America was (almost) unanimously in favour of having a black man in charge of deciding their freedom, their laws, and their liberties. In many ways, it has been eight years worthy of cherishing.

And the strength of Obama’s leadership is illustrated by the comparative successes of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. When a political party in the US is able to field a candidate to lead a campaign that successfully de-toxifies the name of socialism, while the “establishment” candidate eventually wins her party’s nomination; one can consider that party to be in a strong position.

There are of course many ideological differences which separate these now political heavyweights, but they are brought together by an uncanny ability to lead sophisticated campaigns. In the United Kingdom, a politician who shares Clinton’s ideology would not receive such passionate grassroots support. Her pro-big business policies, regardless of whether or not they make sense, do not contain the types of slogans you would typically see on billboard posters in Brighton or Hackney. But the American public is wise enough to know that their two party system is flawed, and that every opportunity for political and electoral success has to be seized upon to make any difference. This is why Clinton can rest assured that those who voted Sanders will surely lend their support to the Democratic party.

The American left can continue to campaign for the issues that Sanders has effectively shed light on. From 2016 and up to the 2020 election, the only way of making any change possible will be to harness sophisticated grassroots campaigning, and I have no reservations in declaring that it is my personal hope that Bernie is given the platform to continue leading America’s socialists on the defining political and social issues. Until then, however, a vote for Hillary – America’s first woman president in-waiting – is the next step of forcing through social change.



*Originally published on”

For Sadiq Khan, the son of a bus driver – a line deployed perhaps cynically, and at every opportunity by the MP for Tooting to appear like the humble candidate – the opportunity to be the Mayor of London will be a dream come true, by no stretch of the imagination. Having had the responsibility of running Ed Miliband’s campaign in last year’s General Election, Khan was potentially facing political oblivion. The Labour party was at a crossroads of whether or not it should lurch closer to the right, or to rediscover its leftist past, and amongst this was the possibility that the Labour centrists could be all but wiped as a result of the internal crisis the party was now facing. In fact, the lack of a challenge put up by fellow centrists Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper can be seen as evidence of this.

Perhaps then, it was no surprise that Khan was enthralled by the prospect of running to be Labour’s candidate in the mayoral election. This was his chance to offer his vision for London. Rather than be left shouting from the side-lines, he now had the platform to express his views, and having served as Shadow Minister for London since 2013, the stage was set for him to start giving some answers.

But politics is fickle, and it is worth questioning whether or not Khan has made it this far because of his vision for London. Any Labour candidate should go into any kind of election held in London as favourite to some degree, as London predominantly votes Labour. Not only this, but Khan’s trouncing by 59% to 41% of the one-time overwhelming favourite for Labour’s candidacy, Tessa Jowell, showed that the party membership wanted change.

When Jeremy Corbyn was elected party leader, Khan as one of the MPs who had put Corbyn on the ballot paper, was naturally seen as Corbyn’s man, even though David Lammy and Corbynite Dianne Abbott may have felt like they deserved similar treatment. It is therefore surprising that Khan has tried so hard to hard to avoid being labelled with the Corbynite tag. Khan has been vocal in his condemnation of the Labour leadership as berated Corbyn for refusing to sing the National Anthem, while criticising the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, for his links to the IRA. Moreover, if Khan wins in the Mayoral election, it is possible that he has done so with the electorate not actually knowing what he stands for. Having said that, the same can be said for his main rival.

Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate, has been widely derided, even by members of his own party for running a campaign far beneath of what should be expected from an intelligent member of the political class, but where has it all gone wrong? Goldsmith could have fought his Labour opponent on the issues, had he wanted. Transport and housing policy are high on the list for Londoners, and it’s important to remember that while polls say that Londoners feel Sadiq Khan offers a more coherent vision on these issues, there are serious flaws in Khan’s prospectus in both areas. Goldsmith, if he wanted to, could have offered a conservative approach to answering the current crises facing London. In Goldsmith’s defence, the housing crisis, for example, has been worsened by his own government, so perhaps he knows he won’t be able to change a thing in this regard. So instead, Goldsmith’s campaign has been centred on slanderous, and frankly wrong allegations, on Sadiq Khan’s political allegiances. As a footnote, it’s worth remembering that George Galloway, Respect’s candidate for mayor, has also been trying to smear Khan, though to Labour centrists, being smeared by George Galloway is a medal of honour.

Goldsmith has alleged that Khan is a friend and apologist for “extremists” and cannot therefore be trusted to run a great city like London, all because he has shared a platform with Sulaiman Ghani, despite the fact that Ghani has often issued support for the Conservative party.

It is incredibly frustrating for the people of London to witness this dog-whistle campaign as they sit idly-by as their issues and worries are ignored. The average Londoner will have no idea what you are talking about if you ask them about Zac Goldsmith’s plans make London the greenest city on earth by launching a crackdown on fly-tipping and litter. Goldsmith has also promised to make it easier for Londoners to recycle with a common set of London-wide collection standards, while he has said he will guarantee protection for the Green Belt. Since he set-about carrying out this dog-whistle campaign against Sadiq Khan, these promises will have fallen on death ears. It is therefore ironic, that despite my objections to Goldsmith, that by listing some of his election promises I have now done more positive campaigning for Zac than he has done himself.

The polls suggest that Goldsmith’s campaign will not work, and if that is the case then it will presumably be safe to say that his career as a political heavyweight has ended before it really began. To be known as a racist, fear-monger is a tag that will be very hard to shake off in a liberal society. However, it would be naïve to write-off Goldsmith’s chances at this stage.

According to the polls Sadiq Khan will secure an overwhelming victory, but the British electorate know all too well that the polls can be wrong. This is not a criticism of the polls in any sense. Indeed, it is more of a commentary on the unpredictable nature of politics. The “shy Tory” effect is well known; a voter says that they will vote Labour, Lib Dem or Green, so as to seem liberal, but the minute they go into the polling-booth they vote Conservative as the secret nature of voting means they feel safe to do so. A victory for Zac Goldsmith would be proof that this phenomenon continues to wreak havoc with YouGov’s statistical data. In essence, people may tell YouGov that they are voting for Sadiq as Goldsmith’s campaign is smearing their own political allegiances, but smear campaigns have worked before, and they will work again. So when Londoners go into the voting-booths, don’t be surprised if Zac Goldsmith’s campaign of fear is enough to make potential Sadiq voters doubt themselves and vote conservative.

Profile: Blairite or Not, Dan Jarvis Does at Least Have Some Answers


*First appearing on Disclaimer Magazine*

When Dan Jarvis, a leading Labour backbencher, seen by many as a future leader of the Labour party set-out his vision for the future of Britain’s economy earlier in the month, one thing was clear: this guy is a rising star.

One of Tony Blair’s biggest faults during his time as Prime Minister was that he failed to leave a legacy. New Labour wanted to engage with Thatcherite economics, but in a nice way. This, he felt, was how to get Labour into government. And it worked – though whether or not they were able to achieve this in a nice way is debatable.

Leading up to the 2010 election, Gordon Brown stood on a podium in the televised election debates and defended New Labour’s spending spending policies. But within days of the Tories forming a coalition with the Lib Dems, Blairite MPs were already preparing the soundbites of “we made mistakes and we have to learn from them.”

So after a failure over five years to come up with a coherent alternative to the Conservatives that the country could get behind, the Tories won a majority and Labour are now being led by a socialist. The right of the Labour party were flabbergasted by the recent leadership contest, but Corbyn had answers. They did not.

So when Jarvis declared that income inequality was at the heart of his economic vision, people listened.

He said: “Let’s be frank, New Labour’s approach wasn’t enough. It didn’t get at the root causes. New Labour didn’t see with sufficient clarity the downsides of globalisation. They knew it meant cheap consumer goods. But, they didn’t recognise that too often, it meant cheap labour too.”

Blairite or not, the man does at least have some answers.

For a while, Jarvis must have felt a little bit like being the new kid at school. Nobody really knows who he is, but everyone is fascinated by him. Google searches with his name are being typed furiously by hacks and politicos alike, trying to “get the skinny” on the Jarvis.

He was recently criticised by Ken Livingstone  – a rite of passage for many Labour MPs –  for receiving donations from a hedge fund, saying that it was like ‘Jimmy Savile funding a children’s group’. Unsurprisingly the controversy around these comments meant the Labour MP was left unscathed by the former Mayor of London’s attacks.

Many Corbynistas might be tempted to pin him off as “one of them”, a jibe often launched by the left of the party to those on the right. But he isn’t “one of them” – if only in terms of his background.

During the entire time that Labour were in government,  the Barnsley Central MP served in the Parachute Regiment of the British Army. Jarvis then  ruled himself out succeeding Ed Miliband as Labour leader after the 2015 general election defeat, insisting he wanted to put his children before his immediate political career. His first wife, Caroline, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2006 and died in July 2010 at the age of 43.

He did, however, embark on maintaining his own career trajectory. Joining a wave of stinging criticism of Ed Miliband’s campaign, Jarvis looked set to be a man of with some vision.

He said: “Never again can we allow ourselves to be painted as having a problem with people eager to work hard, get on and succeed. They should know that Labour will always be their champion.

“I’m ready to serve in that rebuilding process as part of the Labour team. But I can’t do that as leader at this moment and I won’t be putting my name forward in the coming leadership contest.”

The probability remains for Labour’s right-wingers – many of whom are still very bitter about it – that Jeremy Corbyn will remain as Labour Leader until at least 2020. The whispers on when a leadership challenge will be launched have faded, slowly but surely. And if Corbyn does depart his post before 2020, a left-winger will replace him; so long as the Labour membership has its say.

But Jarvis would have it no other way. He is still learning the ropes of politics, for it can still debated whether or not he is even currently a political heavyweight. Every now and then he will get a chance to make a speech where he sets out some form of a vision, and the moderates will applaud and pray that Jeremy Corbyn resigns from his post sooner rather than later.

Jarvis will always be a contentious figure among the current Labour membership. Whether it is through his own doing or not, he has been made the chosen one to defeat Corbyn. How and when he will do it, nobody can be sure of. But in Jarvis, the Blairites have found their voice, and their new leader.




*First published on (@disclaimermag)*

You know something is wrong when one of the most universally despised figures in the country appears to have complete job security. Yet in the case of Jeremy Hunt, that is the position we currently find ourselves locked in.

Following the Health Secretary’s decision impose a new contract on NHS junior doctors after the British Medical Association (BMA) rejected a final offer to end the long and gruelling dispute, the man has been vilified by the British public.

A new poll has revealed that Hunt is the most disliked frontline British politician of any party,  and it’s easy to see why. Though George Osborne’s relatively recent demise would make the Chancellor a strong contender for the title, the Health Secretary is a PR disaster waiting to happen. Not only that, he has the problem in that he cannot hide behind the facade of “fixing the roof while the sun shines.”  Put simply, he’s proved to be a terribly incompetent Health Secretary.

Of course, we can take consolation from the fact that his name is cockney rhyming slang. In that sense, he is the gift that keeps on giving. And when none-other-than James Blunt shows him up, we really can revel in Hunt’s anguish.


But once those five minutes of fun are over, we begin to realise just how serious this all is.

Hunt’s career trajectory appeared to be in turmoil during the phone-hacking scandal, at which point he was the Culture Secretary. The South West Surrey MP was alleged to have had improper contact with News Corp. He survived however, and shortly Hunt was promoted. How nice for him, eh?

In 2012, the then 44 year-old was made Health Secretary, seemingly with the sole job requirement reading as: “Destroy the NHS.”

Over the last four years, the National Health Service has been in disarray.  NHS waiting-time targets have been frequently missed, while Hunt has been accused of deliberately misquoting studies for party-political gain.

The Health Secretary claimed that 11,000 more people die in hospital at weekends because staffing levels are lower, but doctors accused him of misrepresenting a paper written by NHS England Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh for the British Medical Journal.


As well as this, just last month, Mr Hunt was widely lambasted for making the ludicrous suggestion that parents should go online to look at photos of rashes if worried that a child may have meningitis.

He was quoted as saying “If you’re worried about a rash your child has, an online alternative – where you look at photographs and say “My child’s rash looks like this one” – may be a quicker way of getting to the bottom of whether this is serious or not.”

So there we have it; if your child is unwell, you Google it.

Perhaps none of this should be surprising. One could quite easily make a timeline of the many, many gaffes made by Jeremy Hunt. When asked about Tax Credit cuts, he declared his support for them, stating that the British need to “work harder.” He also courted controversy when he suggested that supporters of Liverpool football club may have been partly to blame for the Hillsborough disaster, despite everyone else knowing that this is not true. I suppose it is possible that he didn’t get the memo.

Despite all of this, however, the most pressing concern now has to be the future of the NHS. Despite the fact that throughout this piece I have been ranting and raving about Jezza Hunt, I confess to having mixed signals about him. Let’s face it, he is just a puppet. You wouldn’t be mad at Pinocchio, would you? You could throw any Cabinet minister into the position of Health Secretary and things would be more or less the same as they are now. While his name appears next to the words “Health Secretary”, Hunt can be considered instantly replaceable. Just ask Andrew Lansley.

Instead, attention really has to be turned to the Conservative party. Signing a petition stating a vote of no-confidence in Jeremy Hunt is one thing, but so far it has gotten the British public nowhere. Noam Chomsky describes the standard technique of privatisation thus: “Defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital”. Therefore it’s no wonder that Hunt imposed junior doctors a non-negotiable contract. And it’s no surprise time after time again we hear incoherent ramblings about a 24/7 NHS; as though hospitals are currently shut on Sundays. As it stands doctors are likely to leave the UK and move abroad to a country where they are more appreciated, and children who once dreamed of becoming a doctor may now have a career change. That’s why this is not a battle of Junior Doctors vs Jeremy Hunt. This is a battle for the all British people.

5 reasons why Lefties don’t know how they’ll vote in the EU referendum


1) The Tories

Sure, leaving the EU to make some kind of an idealistic, socialist pledge of commitment sounds great, but think of the workers protection we’ll lose if we leave
the EU. Can you trust Cameron to protect that? I’m not sure, myself.

2) Even Corbyn is saying he wants us to remain in the EU. But does he mean it?

Labour are split when it comes to the EU; in the sense that the Leadership are sceptics, while the rest of the PLP want to remain in. Who should we listen to?
Well it depends on where your loyalties lie, but since September 2015 Labour’s EU stance has been shakey to say the least.

3) Nigel Farage wants us to leave

If Farage promised me a lifetime free Sky+ subscription for nothing in return, I still couldn’t take it, because I’d have to accept that there’s something good
about the man. And I couldn’t ever bring myself to believe such a thing.

4) The “what if I get it wrong” moment

I’ve only been old enough to vote in one election. I voted Miliband. Despite the catastrophic defeat, I stand by it, and I hope to never – although I probably
will at some point – regret the way I voted. But there’s a chance we could all get this terribly wrong. And in moments like this, it’s natural to opt for
consistency rather than change, meaning to stay in the EU.

5) Nobody really has a clue what it would mean

You can compare the fortunes of any other country who exist outside of the EU. Similarly, you can compare those of countries who currently exist in the EU.
Every nation is different, and how leaving will affect us remains to be seen. There’s a strong chance we will leave, and it would put us in unknown shores.
I couldn’t begin to explain what leaving/staying would do, and don’t fall for anyone who tries to tell you that they can.



*First published on (@disclaimermag)*

Google’s announcement that they will pay £130 million in tax that they have owed from the past 7 years has confirmed many things; the Chancellor’s announcement that our deal with Google is a “major success” is just spin at its most mediocre, big companies who want to take a lax tax policy will take one, and the government, it seems, are fine with that. Perhaps the most significant development is that the Tory leadership has now truly begun.

When Boris Johnson began to write his column for the Daily Telegraph, he could have picked a number of enemies. Perhaps he could have taken moral opposition against the social media giant, whose taxes are needed in full at a time of austerity. However, the Mayor of London pointed out, admittedly correctly, that Google have not broken any laws. After all, there is a reason why they can pick and choose what, if any, they decide to give us.

He wrote:  “Everyone is complaining that it isn’t enough, that it still amounts to a tax rate of only about 2 per cent on earnings.

“It is absurd to blame the company for ‘not paying their taxes’. You might as well blame a shark for eating seals. It is the nature of the beast; and not only is it the nature of the beast – it is the law it is the fiduciary duty of their finance directors to minimise tax exposure.”

Most tellingly, however, Mr Johnson said that while it would be a “good thing” if companies paid more tax, the government is to blame for structuring the tax system as it had done. While Bo Jo’s tax policies seem flawed – he argued that EU member states should be in “competition” with each other to offer firms the lowest corporate tax rates – this was his way of firing the starter pistol in the race to become Conservative leader.

For George Osborne, the whispers coming from Johnson’s camp will have been worrying. It was first suggested that he would oppose the Chancellor’s planned tax-credit cuts, and that he would need to be offered a senior cabinet office role to stay in line with the Governments pro-EU referendum stance. So maybe it was only a matter of time before he started to attack the Government’s record.

Osborne’s reputation has plummeted since May’s general election. Despite the evidence suggesting otherwise, he was seen by the vast electorate as an economic guru who saved the country. But it appears that time has caught up with the chancellor. After 5 years of austerity, the public seems to be asking why we are still living in austere times, and this was potentially the key factor behind his supposedly “anti-austerity” November budget.

For Johnson, however, the sun is shining and the birds are still chirping. The former editor of the Spectator was an outsider in the 2008 mayoral election, but he emphatically defeated Ken Livingstone and was able to resonate with a London electorate which is strictly anti-Tory. His rise is often punctuated by those bumbling yet charmingly comical appearances as host of Have I Got News for You. There’s no doubt that the man is unique.

All factors suggest the man should be the outsider in the Tory leadership race. But considering everything, he’s certainly worth a punt; especially when the shape of the Conservative party is set to change drastically. The date of the EU referendum has not even been decided, yet the outcome will be astonishingly significant for the Tories. If Britain votes to opt out the EU, a still newly appointed Prime Minister will be required to inspire the country in unfamiliar waters. Yet if the electorate votes to remain in the EU, the Conservatives will need a leader who can promise change when a significant amount of population will be disappointed by our continued EU membership.

David Cameron’s legacy, for better or worse, will be decided by the referendum. Yet, even if he doesn’t get the result he wants, he will still be the Prime Minister who ousted New Labour and then achieved an unlikely Conservative majority in last year’s General Election. His persona may appear to be the complete contrast of Boris Johnson’s, but both possess the ability to persuade non-traditional Tory voters.

Meanwhile, politics has changed. Corbyn, UKIP, and the fall of the Lib Dems shows that a significant part of the electorate is no longer satisfied by continuity = Scotland got the ball rolling as the SNP’s progress reflects a complete dissidence to the government coming from north of the border. Would an EU referendum have seemed possible just a few years ago? Britain just keeps pushing for change.

A victory for Johnson would certainly seem to signal a departure from PR politics. He comes across as unashamedly true to his principles and is unflappable in interviews. And let’s face it; who wouldn’t get a kick out of seeing the man face the opposition in PMQ’s? Of course, nothing yet is decided, but regardless of the outcome, a leader the country can trust will be needed, and this will undoubtedly decide who our next Prime Minister will be.

David Bowie’s gift was changing the world by being himself


Everyone always remembers where they were when they heard the news that a beloved icon has passed. The feeling one gets when the dreaded news is delivered is an uneasy, surreal moment – a reflection of one’s immortality. The emotions following the discovery that the death of a stranger whom you’d never spoken to, nor seen with your own eyes in open public, is all too uncomfortable to bear, because you know the news affects you in a perplexing manner that rationality cannot ascertain.

I remember hearing the news that Margaret Thatcher (by no means a personal icon) had died. This was not a women to whom I wished harm, but her death was of no relevance to my life. Yet I can recall upon hearing of her passing because I, at the age of 18, was the only person on a bus full of elderly people to have a smartphone which displayed that all-so-memorable breaking news.

What I did next was unsurprising; I called my dad. It was perhaps insensitive to bark: “Dad, Margaret Thatcher has died!” down the phone. Several of the people sat next to me on the bus were visibly stunned – though I am certain to this day that the men in front of me made had the biggest grins on their faces.

As stated earlier; my candour on the phone was not the act of an insensitive person. Merely, I just knew dad would be similarly affected/unaffected by the news. So when I heard about the passing of David Bowie, what did I do? Yes, I called my Dad. And the events were almost identical to those I mentioned earlier.

Not only were my eyes alerted by a BREAKING NEWS notification on my phone, my eyes were locked to my Twitter feed. Most tellingly, however, I simply did not know how to react until I made that telephone call. This time, however, there was no scream down the phone. I simply asked: “Have you heard?” If it’s strange to be so stunned by the death of a celebrity, what does it say about my emotional stability that I needed to lie down when I hear that a stranger, almost 50 years my senior, had died?

There is an irrefutable poignancy to the timing of the man’s death. His newly released album, Blackstar, was released on 8 January 2016, the date of Bowie’s 69th birthday and two days before his death. The lyrics to the track “Lazarus”, read as though he was ready for his fate: “Look up here, I’m in heaven. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen. Everybody knows me now.”

Make no mistake, this was his goodbye.

Mourners took to social media to say goodbye to Ziggy Stardust. “One of a kind”, “a genius”, “the greatest of his time.” Of course, its impossible to be cynical over even the most blatant cliches when they are so true. However, Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis summed it up best when he tweeted: “I think we all thought he would be here forever.”

And that’s why I describe him as the man who changed the world by being himself; because his legacy will be taken for granted by people who were lucky simply to live in a time when David Bowie also lived. Give me a couple of gin & tonics and put on “Let’s Dance”, and you will see the nerdiest and most embarrassing moments a human body should not be physically allowed to make. But in essence, there is the embodiment of the spirit Bowie would want to leave behind. Of course, the man’s exploits could land him the prettiest girl in the room, whereas my dancing would lead to social rejection. But his mission was to make sure that whether you’re a midnight-raver or a bank manager in Telford, the minute you heard his music on the radio, you felt human.

On top of genre-defying music, personifying art at its most abstract yet direct and appealing; here was a man who spoke against societal norms because he didn’t want to be persecuted for having long hair. A man said to be bisexual despite spending his childhood growing up in a time when being gay was illegal. David Bowie had no agendas, no leaflets to push, and no political party to endorse. But when he started, we lived in a time of social conservatism. Now, however, the Tory leader rushes to celebrate the life of this true genius. Talent like his is never forgotten.

100 days of Corbyn hasn’t brought Labour into turmoil, this crisis is existential


After countless “100 days of Corbyn” stories over recent days, the Labour leader would be heartened to know that his leadership so far is going down surprisingly well. If the whirlwind events were all one blockbuster Hollywood movie, critics would have posted mixed to positive reviews. On reflection, all the posts say largely the same thing: Jeremy Corbyn has changed the landscape of British politics, for better or for worse.

Writing in the New Statesman, Stephen Bush said of JC: “Corbyn has shown an unexpected – and under-appreciated – deftness on the big political issues. On the European Union, he has U-turned on his long-standing opposition to British membership of what he is widely believed to view still as a capitalist club, as Labour members are overwhelmingly pro staying in. But on issues where he has the bulk of the activists behind him, such as air strikes in Syria, he has held fast to his beliefs and used them as wedge issues against his internal opponents.”

Writing in the Telegraph, however, John McTernan was less than supportive. He wrote: “The fate of the Labour Party is now firmly in the hands of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). In the 1980s the unions could save the party from itself. They were near their historic peak in membership and were under moderate leadership. Now they are weakened – only one in five workers are union members – and the unions are mainly Left-dominated. So there are no cavalry coming. MPs are the people they are waiting for. Against the hundreds of thousands who selected the leader, MPs must set the millions who voted Labour. They want and need an electable Labour Party.”

Essentially, we have a battle; the left vs the PLP. Who knew?

This is not an unfamiliar war. For over 30 years Labour has had an identity crisis, shadowed by an electorally successful Blair government. By saying Tony Blair changed the face of politics, one would be forgetting the work of Neil Kinnock and fellow Labour centrists over the Thatcher and Major years.

Following a disastrous defeat in the 1983 General Election, the Labour party was at a crossroads: should they shift further to the left, or is compromise needed to get back into power? We all know what followed next. Neil Kinnock became Labour leader at a time when the PLP felt a centrist party was an electable party. Momentum was with them, but it was to become a grueling slog.

One of the most depressing aspects of being a Labour voter is being part of a family that faces constant internal-turmoil. Say the names Foot, Kinnock, Brown, Miliband, and now Corbyn, one word springs to mind: dissent. All of these leaders faced a level of opposition party members wished the PLP would impose on the Tories. But when the going gets tough, too often does the right of the party cosy-up with the right-wing press.

It’s laughable that so-called Blairites showed such strong opposition to Ed Miliband when they offered great support to Kinnock after his 1992 General Election defeat.  Kinnock and Miliband promised similar things. They had a soft-left ideology and welcomed compromise. The one notable difference was that while Kinnock was moving closer to the perceived centre-ground, Miliband was moving away from it.

Obsession with the political centre-ground has been synonymous in the Labour Party over the last 30 years, particularly under Blair. Basing his Prime Ministerial reign as a reason to seek the middle ground, however, is a flawed policy. Hindsight may be comfortable for political spectators, but the 1997 election would always produce a Labour victory. The electorate regretted choosing John Major in ’92, this wasn’t a mistake they would make again.

Once elected Prime Minister, Blair had the free-reign all Prime Ministers are granted. The role guarantees you one year of setting your own political landscape, and you spend the next four years attempting not to miss those targets.

It was a grand old time. The minimum wage, the Human Rights act, investment in public services; where had Labour been all these years? Blair owed it to the party to make these kinds of policy’s his priority when elected. But slowly and surely, he began to abandon them through fears of electability.

Yes, that old chestnut. The left despises “electability”. What does it mean? Is it fair to associate a political ideology as “electable” when two of its many unelected spokespeople are Neil Kinnock and Gordon Brown?

Being a part of the left-faction of the Labour party in 2015 is like being Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone; kept quiet and away from the danger for years, the grownups have been careless enough drop their guard and leave our hero unsupervised.

The Spectator publishing “In defence of Blairism, by Tony Blair” signalled the end of Blairism. That Blair had to defend himself so vigorously, and in such a grovelling manor – assisted with the lack of a modern, cohesive argument for centrists in the Labour party – showed that the PLP has nowhere to hide. They need new ideas before they become extinct.

The battle between the Left and the Right in the Labour party will not change. Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership battle did not reignite any old rivalries, mainly because they hadn’t ever faded. Supposing Casablanca’s Humphrey Bogart and Paul Henreid had swapped roles; would they not still both lust for Ingrid Bergman? The Labour party’s existential problems have not changed, there’s just been a role-reversal.

No need to worry about Donald Trump – The Republican Party is tearing itself apart


There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the routine mocking of the modern Republican party.

After Republican presidential hopefuls sparred over how to stop Daesh in the first debate since attacks in California and Paris, the party appears to be masterminding its own downfall.

The Republican party has never shirked away from pandering to ignorance, but now they’re trying to mastermind it nobody appears fit to drive the Bigot Brigade.

Forgetting Donald Trump’s pleas for Bill Gates to “close the internet” – whatever that means – is no easy feat. One suspects that this technique to defeat Daesh is a mirage. Really, he just wants people to stop making GIFs about his hair.

While Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio fought on surveillance and immigration policy, Jeb Bush was playing the role of moral arbiter of society, a role he presumably prepared himself for as George W’s understudy.

“You’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency,” he said to Trump. There’s an obvious hypocrisy in this; all candidates would do anything for power.

Yet they do have power.

It’s easy to mock the candidates because they all appear to have lost the plot, but they all have great influence over their party. And the party machine is behind them all.

We know what they stand for. They like money and hate economic freedom. They like Christianity and hate religion. They like freedom of speech and hate opposition. Cut every single one of the nominees and they will all bleed the same shade of Republican red.

In this hotly anticipated debate, pundits were keen to see how the candidates would respond to the furore whipped up by Trump in recent weeks.

It was only Jeb Bush who seemed keen on taking down Trump, but the cynic in me says the anger Bush showed to the Business Tycoon is a response his comments on the Bush family over 9/11.

So just where is the Republican party going wrong? In a way, they’ve arguably never been in better shape.

The candidates are showing a tremendous amount of unity, even if they don’t see it themselves.

It has barely been mentioned that Mr Trump yet again called to close the US border to all Muslims. The candidates deciding to avoid the subject doesn’t suggest that they oppose it, they just know Trump has political copywrite on it.

Another instance of Trump’s political copywrite – not that the other candidates are so bothered by this one – is, of course, his proposal that “closing that internet up” would stop IS recruitment.

“I don’t want them using our Internet”, he said, like a greedy toddler who doesn’t want to share his toys.

There’s a fine line between ignorance and plain stupidity. As far as Venn diagrams are concerned, he is the gift that keeps on giving.

While political commentators in the UK know all too much about writing off the underdog’s, the 2016 Presidential election seems like a write-off. The candidates we’re told we should be taking seriously don’t even appear to take themselves seriously. Anyone who calls Katie Hopkins “respected” has most likely spent one too many nights trolling funny cat videos on YouTube.

And that guy is currently the overwhelming favourite.

This commentator can only be sure that one of the candidates will be victorious in their bid to be the Republican Presidential candidate. Who it will be, remains to be seen. Yet it makes very little difference.

The American public only needs a semi-inspiring Democrat to vote for, and we can forget that any of this ever happened.

Syria: Same mistakes, same outcome


There’s a famous line from Woody Allen’s 1986 Oscar-winning Hannah and Her Sisters where Max Avon Sydow’s character ‘Frederick’ uses Nazi Germany as the reason for his pessimism and lack of faith in humanity. Arguing that the holocaust was the great inevitability of its time, he states “the reason they can never answer the question “How could it possibly happen?” is that it’s the wrong question. Given what people are, the question is “Why doesn’t it happen more often?”

Well, I’m afraid it is happening more often.

The so called “war on terror” has lasted over a decade now and nothing seems to have changed. No lessons have been learned. If anything, things have gotten worse.

Those who campaigned against the Iraq war are often overcome with glorious feelings of self-smugness. The failings of Britain’s intervention in Iraq are well-documented. Politicians who voted in favour of the war have had to accept this fact, even if it’s hard to believe them when they say they made a mistake.

The war on terror has seen Britain play a significant role in military interventions in both Iraq and Libya. Both interventions proved disastrous. The rise of ISIS has been most notable in Iraq, Libya and, of course, Syria.

I hope it doesn’t seem flippant when I ask “have the lessons been learnt?”

The confession I have to make is that I am wholeheartedly supportive of the sole notion to defeat ISIS with military intervention. No other terror group in the world poses a greater danger to peace and stability in the world, and a group so ruthless can only be taken out by brute force.

The case put forward by our Prime Minister however, suggests the same old mistakes are about to made once more.

Westminster’s foreign policy has created a nation of conspiracy theorists and pacifists who believe military intervention can never be the answer. The United Nations rule that a war can only be legal when the war is the last resort. Any military occupation that saves more lives than it takes is viewed is seen as justifiable.

To me, this basic principle is irrefutably poignant. Voting in favour of military intervention which saves lives and preserves democracy is a horrific position for members of parliament to find themselves in, but ultimately they have no choice to vote in favour of it.

This should also be the position Britain finds itself in. If only our Prime Minister weren’t so rushed and naive. David Cameron’s snap-judgment call is doomed to fail. By failing to stage a two-day parliamentary debate on military intervention in Syria, the humanitarian-centred issues such as protection Syrian civilians are being ignored.

At the heart of Westminster’s reaction to the horrific scenes Paris is a failure to comprehend the root causes of Syria’s struggles. Syrian’s are far more concerned by Bashar al-Assad’s reign of terror. The ground forces, such as the Free Syrian Army, want to defeat Assad, not ISIS. Only a country united with its democratically elected leader can bring stability to the nation.

ISIS are not a dictatorship. They cannot just be overthrown and replaced by a democratically elected head of state, so targeting Syria begs one question: What happens to the innocent Syrian’s whose country we’re attacking?

The lives lost on November 13th in Paris can only be viewed as a disaster for civilisation, but rushed decisions and naivety will create a level of instability the Western world may never have to experience.