December – January for 2015, 2016

December 2015: Editorial 1:  A Thinking Labour Party; Editorial 2: Osborne’s Sleight Of Hand; Corbyn, An Honest Englishman; Existing State Of Things (poem); National Dementia (poem); Letter on Assisted Dying; Parliament And World War One – Redmond on the Easter Rising; Froggy; Notes on the News; Parliamentary Notes – Debate on Bombing Syria; The Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Syria.  Also available as a PDF, Labour Affairs 263 December – January 2016

December 2016  – January 2017: Editorial: Corbyn: Could Do Better; Making worker representation on company boards a reality; Parliament And World War One – Abdication of the Czar of Russia; Richmond Park by-election;  Notes on the News; Don’t Cryogenic Me (poem); Froggy; Antisemitism in the UK; Free Speech On Israel; Debased Globalisation; Diary of a Corbyn foot soldier (No 7); Parliamentary Notes; Listening to Italy

Also from October 2016: Froggy; Notes on the News and Parliament Notes now available on-line.


Workers Control Revived: Labour’s Task

Labour: the Unions and Workers on the Board.  November 2016

The election of Jeremy Corbyn has pushed the centre ground of British politics to the left. Teresa May, ever the eagle-eyed opportunist, was quick to spot this and is occupying the space she believes will bring electoral rewards to the Tories. With the latest Tory slogan ‘A country that works for everyone’ and warm words about looking after the working class, she is clearly appealing to UKIP and Labour voters who feel that they were neglected by previous governments, both Labour and Tory.

Thirty nine years ago the Bullock Inquiry on Industrial Democracy published its findings. It proposed a scheme for employee representation on the boards of companies with at least 2,000 employees.

Bullock arose from a need to accommodate the industrial strength of the trade unions in ways that were not merely disruptive. It foundered on the fact that the unions were blind to the consequences of the exercise of untrammelled collective bargaining

Corbyn’s re-election: There will be trouble ahead.  October 2016.

Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour leader with an increased majority would in normal times lay the leadership issue to rest. But we don’t live in normal times. Even though Corbyn won a majority of votes in all three categories—full members, affiliated supporters and registered supporters—there are those within the parliamentary party who refuse to accept the result. They have publicly hinted, in spite of Corbyn’s call for unity, that they will continue to make life difficult for the leader. It’s clear therefore that the overriding message of the result is that there is a wide disconnect between ordinary members and supporters and the parliamentary party. Unless this disconnection is unravelled the future for Labour looks exceedingly grim.

Also two past issues.  October 2015, also available as a PDF, Labour Affairs 261 October 2015. And November 2015, also available as a PDF, Labour Affairs 262-November-2015

Chinese History – 13th October

Newly Available On-Line:

Problems 23 – China: Nurturing Red Stars

  • Why it become the job of the Chinese Communist Party to complete the necessary nationalist revolution that the Kuomintang had backed away from in 1927.
  • The unexpected role of Madam Sun (Soong Ching-ling) in publicising and strengthening Mao Zedong via Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China.
  • Full article, available online.
  • Also available as aPDF, Problems 23 – Nurturing Red Stars

Newly published, only available in print:

Problems 27China: Agnes Smedley’s Battle Hymn Against Japan

  • Smedley as Stranger In Her Own Land
  • Chinese Trotskyism
  • The little-known Trotskyist influence on Khrushchev
  • Witness at Xian – and Loose Cannon at Xian
  • A Failed Sexual Revolution at Yenan
  • Singing a Battle Hymn of China
  • Persecution by the Ignorant and Powerful
  • Death and Unjust Neglect

New for September 2016

Labour’s Next Leader?.  September 2016.

Jeremy Corbyn’s PLP critics claim that under his leadership Labour is unelectable. Some of these critics are the same people who were responsible for Labour losing the last two general elections. But rather than rally round Corbyn they have placed their faith in Owen Smith, a man with little more than six years experience as a member of parliament. Their aim, they say, is a Labour government. So what guarantees can they offer that, should Smith defeat Corbyn in the leadership election currently being held, Labour will win the next general election?

  • Also Parliament And World War One: :Labour and the War;
  • Froggy; 
  • Notes on the News;
  • Votes on Iraq;
  • Welfare Reform;
  • Diary of a Corbyn Foot Soldier (No.4);
  • Whatever Happened to the Parliamentary Labour Party;
  • Parliamentary Notes;
  • Listening to Italy;
  • Poems: A Murder Of Crows; The Haven; When Uncle Sam Comes To Visit.  (
  • (To be posted on-line when 12 months old.)

From September 2015

More on Chinese History

Newly available on-line:

Problems 22China’s Blue Republic, 1912-49 . Also Stalin: Paradoxes of Power.

  • China’s ‘Blue Republic’ lasted from 1912 to 1949, and achieved nothing.  It achieved nothing because it was trying to erect a copy of the complex political structures of the USA or Western Europe on top of a society that had very different value. And doing it with a false understanding of the intricate political processes that had occurred there.
  • Also available as a PDF, Problems 22_China’s Blue Republic

Also newly published, available for now as print-only:

Problems 26Smedley: an American Woman Who Loved China’s Red Army (sample)

  • How Agnes Smedley found a life’s purpose in China
  • Her connection with super-spy Richard Sorge
  • Her account of the little-known Red Areas in South China
  • The surprising neglect of her work by later writers
  • How she told a genuinely unknown and potentially damaging story about Mao
  • The cowboy scholarship of ‘Wild Swan’ Chang and ‘Doc’ Halliday.
  • Her account of the ‘A.B. Group’, an early split within the Red Army
  • The Chinese Social Democrats’ efforts to created a functional Third Force

New pamphlet

Why Labour needs Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour Party grows from the Left. It shrivels when it settles down at the Centre.

If the Labour Party is not a protest movement it is nothing.

For long periods it has failed to win elections. When it has won an election with the spirit of protest still strong in it, and harnessed it to the task of governing, it has achieved something.

Winning elections is often a matter of luck. If the Centre Ground PLP, which has boycotted Corbyn, was lucky and won an Election, it is a virtual certainty that it would just serve its term in Office in a way that was indistinguishable from Tory government, except to the people who have Government jobs for a few years.

Posted as a web page and also available as a PDF, Labour Needs Corbyn (pamphlet)

New Editorials – Brexit and Corbyn

Divisive PoliticsJuly 2016.

David Cameron made a monumental blunder when he promised a referendum on UK membership of the European Union.  But his decision to resign and force an election for a new Tory leader and Prime Minister in October killed off further criticism of his premiership both within the Tory party and the anti-Cameron press.

Labour on the other hand, has the difficult problem of reconnecting with its supporters who have become alienated and disillusioned. Corbyn’s opponents expect him to deliver quick positive results. He has a long-term project, the core of which is to re-connect with working class Labour voters deserted by a Blairite Labour party. But they are not prepared to go the long haul. They want Corbyn out.

Corbyn’s Heavy BurdenJune 2016.

Since he was elected Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn has been subject to a constant barrage of  biting criticism and negative reporting. He won by a huge majority over his three opponents but this has not been respected by many of his Parliamentary Labour Party colleagues.  [Written in June, well before the ‘Chicken Coup’ rebellion that happened after the Brexit vote.]

Also old magazine issues now available on-line:

July-August 2015: Editorial: Looking For A LeaderParliament And World War One Irish Home Rule, FroggyHuman Rights in the UK , Ukraine and legality, Parliamentary Notes, Notes on the News, Listening to Italy, Poems: Streetwise, Tears Without Boundaries .

June 2015: Editorial: Election MythologyThe Tories won an absolute majority with just 37% of the vote.  Key Constituencies in the South WestParliament and World War One, Froggy, Mondragon Cooperative in Spain (part 2), Notes on the News, Addressing Power Imbalances in the Workplace by Frances O’Grady, Parliamentary Notes, Listening to Italy, Rampant Criminalisation (poem).  Also available as a PDF, Labour Affairs 258 June 2015