In the UK this month austerity has revealed itself to be in the mode of naked class war. Monday began with welfare reforms, the introduction of the notorious bedroom tax and reductions in the access to Legal Aid. These attacks will be followed in the coming weeks by the replacing of disability living allowance with a personal independence payment policed by Atos, the reduction in the 50p tax rate (providing tax cuts to the rich) and the introduction of the controversial Universal Credit scheme. Combined with other aspects of late capitalism (from food prices to housing shortages) the reality of life in austerity Britain is uglier than it has been for some time.
With textbook ideological manoeuvring these assaults have been accompanied by a rhetoric designed to divide the working classes between “workers and shirkers.” To the chorus of the right wing press, statements, such as this one by Liam Fox or this from Iain Duncan Smith, ultimately aim to crush the possibility of an organized resistance. Most revealing this week has been efforts by the right wing to frame the horrific Philpott manslaughter as a result of ‘benefit dependency.’ Almost beyond belief, this story’s beginnings in the Daily Mail and right wing blogs were reinforced yesterday with this statement from the grubbiest man on earth: Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Enter this month's competition to win Philosophy Football's new Eton Rifles T-shirt and a copy of four of the outfitter's favorites from Verso's 2012 catalogues.
The self-styled "sporting outfitters of intellectual distinction," aka Philosophy Football, recently launched the Eton Rifles T- shirt. The song Eton Rifles was cited by David Cameron as one of his favorites, the lines of which include:
Thought you were clever when you lit the fuse
Tore down the House of Commons in your brand new shoes
"Which part of it didn't he get?" Paul Weller responded, "It wasn't intended as a f-ing jolly drinking song for the cadet corps." Weller has since not been awarded a knighthood in the New Years Honors List.
We have five of the T-shirts to be won in the January competition, with one lucky winner also getting a copy of School Wars, The Rebirth of History, A New Kind Of Bleak and In Defense of The Terror.
To enter simply answer this question: Eton Rifles was inspired by Eton schoolboys abusing an early 1980s Right to Work March. In the 1930s the Communist Party led a mass movement against unemployment spearheaded by the Hunger Marches. These marches and the direct action that supported them were organised by the NUWM- what did the letters 'NUWM" stand for?
Email your answer with your full name, address and preferred T-shirt size to email@example.com. No purchase necessary to enter. Entries close 31 January 2013.
The literary mode of offering a political critique through an account of travels, either real (Daniel Defoe's Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain) or Imagined (Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travls) has a long tradition in the UK.
“The public spaces at the heart of our regenerated cities turn out not to be very public at all (as the Occupy protesters found when they tried to camp in privately owned Paternoster Square in the City and were forced to fall back on the Church).”
Edwin Heathcote’s review of Owen Hatherley’s critique of Britain’s 21st century urban development, A New Kind of Bleak in the Financial Times points out one of the fundamental arguments of the book, namely the failure of modern city planning to engage and involve the communities within which and ostensibly for which it is built.