Sunday 1 January 2023

Five Most Popular Posts in December

Happy New Year! We begin 2023 as we start off every month, with a look back at what did the business. And in December's case, it was ...

1. The Sun's Anxious Apology
2. The Tory Railway Pay Offer Stunt
3. Wes Streeting Vs the NHS
4. Keir Starmer and State Modernisation
5. Sweary Centrism

The decision of The Sun to apologise for that Jeremy Clarkson column was interesting, not least because it spoke to the vulnerability of the paper in the digital age - one in which its influence, like that party it has done so much to support, is in long-term decline. Not far behind it was my coverage of the first government-sanctioned proposal put to the rail workers by the train companies. And, of course, it was completely unacceptable. There was barely any movement on the causes of the dispute, and this is entirely deliberate. By conceding nothing Number 10 were hoping the optics of Mick Lynch and the RMT saying no would reflect badly on them, and improve the Tories' standing. If polling this last week is anything to go by, it hasn't and the public hold the Tories responsible for the current round of disputes more than the workers. We'll see if this causes Rishi Sunak and co. to have a rethink. Wes Streeting's enthusiasm for telling the world that an incoming Labour government would use private hospital capacity to get waiting lists down came in third. Sold as hard-headed pragmatism, he fails to mention they'd do little to reduce the queue for treatment. Nor has he apparently considered how private doctors and nurses are also NHS doctors and nurses. From whence will the staff pool come from? A badly thought out policy that is more about telling the powers that be that Labour will cater to their interests above all else. Staying with Labour, Gordon Brown unveiled some significant proposals for constitutional reform which Keir Starmer is committed to implementing, following the usual watering down via "consultation". And lastly we considered why centrists, whose politics are the most anaemic of the establishment flavours available, are so foul mouthed? TL;DR answer: lack of substance, attention economy competition, political culture.

Who's sipping pina coladas by the pool this New Year, looking for a second chance to hook in an audience? For the first time ever, shall we go for a group of three? Our barflies are The Right's Walking Wounded, a consideration of conservative identity politics via the work of Wendy Brown. Flanking them are The Tory Dependence on Fossil Fuels. I.e. What role does oil and gas play in the condensation and articulation of bourgeois interests at the core of the party's ruling class coalition? And lastly, I've slotted in The Rights and Wrongs of 2022. Some vainglorious trumpet tooting about why I write such good blog posts.

Looking ahead to January and 2023 in total, I'm hoping (like I always do) to find more time for writing and commentary, whether it's on here or elsewhere. It's not like there's nothing to write about! If you've made it to the bottom of this page, chances are you'e a regular reader so many thanks for sticking with the blog this year. If you haven't already, don't forget to follow the free weekly newsletter, and if you like what I do (and you're not skint), you can help support the blog too! Following me on Twitter and Facebook are cost-free ways of showing your backing for this corner of the internet.

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