Sunday 1 August 2021

Five Most Popular Posts in July

What a scorcher! I'm not referring to the temperatures we've seen in July, but the month's soaraway blog post hits. Let's see what the breakers were.

1. Keir Starmer's Pathetic Witch Hunt
2. From Renaissance to Relapse
3. Sajid Javid's Covid Psychopathy
4. Neoliberal Necropolitics
5. Politics after Batley and Spen

I don't do milkshakes. Instead, Labour Party politics brings all the boys to the yard. We kick off at the top with the Labour right's first open move against the left. While few would shed tears seeing some liabilities among Labour Against the Witchhunt etc. getting their marching orders, making sure the harmlessly inoffensive Socialist Appeal is caught up in the dragnet shows the intention: it's a warning to Momentum and other leftists not to get too big for their boots. In other words, context is everything. Indeed, constitutionally speaking there is nothing preventing the right-dominated NEC proscribing the rest of the left - something those on the hard right of the party and their friendly commentators know and would like to see carried through. The institutional weight of the unions and the war weariness of the Starmerist base in the party and the PLP is the check on that. For now. In the mean time, the Labour right have to pretend they're serious about winning elections - and so in second place Ruth Smeeth's loose interpretation of the party's positioning under Jeremy Corbyn gets the scalpel treatment. And what do you know, it's complete codswallop. Jolly old Foucault built a career from demonstrating how truth is an effect of power, and nowhere is this more crudely demonstrated than in the written output of the Labour right.

Who else got the passing traffic? We looked at the new health secretary's Covid scepticism and the material roots of the seemingly psychopathic position of letting infections rip. This led into a think through of how the removal of all government-mandated precautions is consistent with their necropolitical strategy so far. I.e. The politics of who lives and who dies in the pandemic. Though, happily, shifts in the polls are showing its efficacy might be starting to wear thin. And bringing up the rear is a meditation on politics after Labour's narrow win in Batley and Spen - what it means for the Tories and what it means for us.

We like second chances here, so there's a couple. I'm giving this on scapegoating young people for rising infections a punt. We saw it happen last year, and undoubtedly we will see it happen again. The Tory party and their press allies are endlessly inventive machines for finding new ways to divide people up. As the young are more likely to be vaccine-sceptical but also most exposed to the virus, they're ready made folk devils for new moral panics. The second is my book because why not? It's out 14th September from Verso in case you have forgotten.

Sadly, readers will know Dawn Foster unexpectedly passed away earlier in July. I didn't know Dawn personally but knew her work through Twitter, and she was always a welcome acerbic presence who really got under the skin of the poshos and right wingers who the press and broadcast media like to boost. If you haven't read it already, I recommend this moving tribute from our friend and comrade Juliet Jacques.

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