In modern Britain, the working class has become an object of fear and ridicule. From Little Britain's Vicky Pollard to the demonization of Jade Goody, media and politicians alike dismiss as feckless, criminalized and ignorant a vast, underprivileged swathe of society whose members have become stereotyped by one, hate-filled word: chavs.
In this acclaimed investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from "salt of the earth" to "scum of the earth." Exposing the ignorance and prejudice at the heart of the chav caricature, he portrays a far more complex reality. The chav stereotype, he argues, is used by governments as a convenient figleaf to avoid genuine engagement with social and economic problems and to justify widening inequality. Based on a wealth of original research, Chavs is a damning indictment of the media and political establishment and an illuminating, disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain. This updated edition includes a new chapter exploring the causes and consequences of the UK riots in the summer of 2011.
Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham opened in 2013; since then the independent radical bookshop has gone from strength to strength. Staff are apid a living wage, the bookshop stocks a wide range of excellent titles, and there's also the Five Leaves publishing imprint! Books Combined spoke to Ross Bradshaw, owner of the store and editorial director of Five Leaves Press.
(Five Leaves Bookshop)
Since storming to victory on September 14th with 59.5% of the vote in Labour's leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn has continued to ruffle right-wing feathers: not singing the national anthem; cancelling an appointment with Her Majesty; and, most recently, appointing Seumus Milne as his Director of Strategy.
"Real Labour voters read tabloids, love the Queen and join the Army. They don't relate to Guardianista apologias for terrorism", insisted the Telegraph. Of course, others may have been pleased that Corbyn chose to appoint an award-winning journalist known for his criticisms of Western imperialism, commitment to uncovering the corruption of the British State, and left-wing principles.
From his devestating expose of the Thatcher government in The Enemy Within to his analysis of the United States' stumbling empire in The Revenge of History, Milne has long been one of the most distinctive and critical voices in the British media.
Read more on Milne, the Labour Party, and British and international politics below.
"Jeremy Corbyn's victory means Labour's living dead have been vanquished—and English politics has come to life again". Tariq Ali, writing for the Independent, expresses much of the energy surrounding Jeremy Corbyn's storming entrance to become the next leader of the Labour Party.
In 1960, Ralph Miliband, writing for the very first issue of New Left Review, is far more sober about the Labour Party's past, present and future and the battle for socialism. To mark Corbyn's landslide election victory and the promised repositioning of the Labour Party, the Verso blog is publishing 'The Sickness of Labourism' from behind the New Left Review paywall.
“It is a very difficult country to move, Mr. Hynband, a very difficult country indeed, and one in which there is more disappointment to be looked for than success.” Disraeli, 1881.
The last General Election has had at least one beneficial result: it has shocked many more people into a recognition of the fact that the Labour Party is a sick party. And it has also helped many more people within it to realise that the sickness is not a surface ailment, a temporary indisposition, but a deep organic disorder, of which repeated electoral defeats are not the cause but the symptom. What this means is that the sickness would have been as serious if Labour had won the last election. Victory at the polls, given Labour’s recent history, policies and leadership, would only have delayed the crisis, for a while, and given the Labour Party an altogether deceptive appearance of health. This is why a proper diagnosis must take electoral defeat into account, but only as one element of Labour’s condition.