‘This is Tory England’ article in Morning Star

I have a new travelogue out in Morning Star, illustrated by the esteemed Louis Netter.

“WE’VE only been in Jaywick for an hour and we’re sure this is the most deprived place we’ve ever seen, at least in this country. The stats bear this out — 57 per cent of the denizens rely on some form of state benefit to survive.

Besides, you know your town might just be in a spot of bother when a United Nations poverty investigator decides to visit, which is precisely what happened here in 2018.

Professor Philip Alston concluded that Jaywick’s woes had nothing to do with personal idleness, and everything to do with years of public underfunding and the Tory government’s callous universal credit system.

Further back in time, when deindustrialisation was killing jobs across Britain’s mining and factory belts, the closure of the Butlin’s holiday camp nearby in 1983 condemned subsequent generations to unemployment.

Indeed, looking around it’s hard to fathom how an economy that consists of a few small shops and eateries could provide enough work to however many of Jaywick’s 5,000 inhabitants would need it.”

Read the rest of the article here.

New article on arms investments in HE

SINCE the murders of George Floyd and Sarah Everard, British universities have been keen to signal their support for equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI).

Slammed by 300 academics and students in an open letter last year to Gavin Williamson as “tokenistic,” such woke posturing is also hypocritical given higher education’s growing financial relationships with arms manufacturers such as BAE Systems, Boeing, Airbus and Qinetiq, which directly enable regimes across the world to persecute women and children, and ethnic, religious and sexual minorities.

To read more of this article for free on the Morning Star website click here.

Morning Star report on PONToon symposium

‘“They were motivated to go on to further learning and to search for jobs. Our courses helped them to feel less like they were being left behind in a world which revolves around technology.”

‘With the same ethos of female personal and political empowerment, the Interreg Europe-funded PONToon project has achieved similar outcomes for almost 1,500 socially deprived young women across southern Britain and northern France.’

Morning Star has run a positive story about the social activism and political empowerment aspects of the PONToon symposium which took place on 1st December 2020. Read the full story here.

Do check out all the pre-recorded videos and live-recorded workshops and seminars here.

‘The Fake News We Should Really Fear’ article in Morning Star

A further collaboration with colleagues Matthew Alford and Stephen Harper.

WE LIVE in an era where paranoid political fantasies are not just commonplace but consequential.

In the US, Donald Trump swept into the Oval Office on a wave of outlandish narratives — demonising Hillary “lock her up” Clinton and Barack “born in Kenya” Obama.

The latest iteration, spilling out unmasked onto British and US streets, is a conspiracy theory called QAnon in which a cabal of Satanic paedophiles is said to control the economy through the manufacture of a bogus virus.

According to believers, among them several Congressional candidates for the November elections, Trump himself is secretly working to thwart this dastardly plot.

The mainstream has recently clamped down hard on fringe theories.

In 2017, Google’s Project Owl aimed to relegate “post-truth” stories in its search results.

Sites like the World Socialist Website consequently plummeted down the search lists, while words like “imperialism” and “inequality” led users to corporate instead of independent outlets.

By 2018 the repeal of Federal Communications Commission rules ended so-called “net neutrality.”

That same year, the BBC launched a range of programming designed to counter “fake news” and, in summer 2020, the warning label “state-affiliated” began appearing across social media channels, meaning that those channels will not be recommended or amplified.

On October 6, Facebook outright banned Qanon.

It is perfectly sensible to help media audiences identify poorly sourced or scientifically discredited arguments and to defend the victims of paranoid vigilantes.

Nevertheless, this fretful focus on the fringes misses the point on conspiracy theories.

Read the rest of the article for free here.

New article on ‘wokewashing’ in Morning Star

It was a pleasure – and a worthwhile learning curve – to collaborate with my learned colleagues Stephen Harper and Matthew Alford on an article called ‘How Britain’s most powerful institutions are hijacking social justice rhetoric’.

Here it is:

A BAREFOOT Prince Harry warns about the “terrifying” impact of climate change. A stony-faced general calls for ethnic diversity in the British army. Universities issue “tokenistic” praise for Black Lives Matter.

Welcome to a country where powerful individuals and institutions conceal their conservatism with the language of political correctness, social justice and identity politics.

Welcome to Wokewash Britain.

Today’s wokewashing frenzy was prefigured by US PR pioneers such as Edward Bernays, who notoriously piggybacked on liberal causes such as women’s suffrage to further the interests of state and corporate power.

These days, Bernays’s influence endures in corporate communications and across a range of British institutions, including the monarchy, the military and universities.

By paying lip service to sexual/gender equality, anti-racism, environmentalism and other progressive values, these bodies seek to deflect public attention away from the violence, bigotry, corruption and exploitation they are complicit in.

In a climate where large organisations seem fixated on discourse, representation, virtue signalling and flimsy initiatives around internal “diversity” and “awareness training,” it is harder than ever to mount radical criticisms of institutional power.

To read the full article (for free) please click here.