I’ve had about four days to relax in Oxford, and I’m about ready to go back to Leicester on monday. I took the opportunity to spend some time in the library. I’ve also been reading the 2000AD ‘Villain’s Takeover Special’ - there’s a Sláine story in the issue.
Sláine rescues a group of children from Slough Feg and bashes him with an axe, good stuff.
I also went to the London May Day march. Here’s the gathering in Clerkenwell Green.
It was much smaller than previous years, but there were still all those international groups which you only ever seem to see at May Day. At least it went off better than the one in Paris, which was attacked by the police.
Afterwards, I didn’t hang around too long in Trafalgar Square, I went to a book launch for People Get Ready! Preparing for a Corbyn government. The book forms part of an ongoing discussion about political strategy, planning for the next Labour government.
Jon Trickett made some useful comments on the initial moment of crisis 2008 and its comparison with today. In 2008, Labour had been in government for over a decade, and over that time it had been able to neutralise, mute, or win over opposition from within the state. After having effectively nationalised a slice of the financial sector, Brown’s government had a powerful tool for intervening in the economy, and an early crisis to solve. If there was a moment for Labour to push against the market, that was it. What forces shaped government action in that moment? What opposition was there to a social democratic advance, and where was that opposition located? How could it be overcome in future?
I’ve been going to cycling sessions at digme gym. Some gyms go for a slightly techno style, and digme takes that to a totally exaggerated level, not only with the rave music but the spinning studio itself is all dark, kitted out with blinky LEDs and a black light. It’s like a terrible nightclub full of cycling machines. The experience is also riven with silicon valley rationalisation: you sign in on an iPad at reception, you gain points as you cycle, and if you connect your account to instagram then TVs in the studio prompt other people to follow you. I find the skinner box a bit too creepy, but then I’m probably not the intended audience.
There were local elections this week, here’s the overview of the results from the BBC.
So in summary, the Conservatives did extremely badly, Labour had a few losses, and the Lib Dems did really well.
There’s more to the overall figures though. Last year I campaigned for Labour in Worthing, and they’ve gone from 2 councillors in 2016 (I think?), to 5 in 2018, to 10 in 2019. They’re unlikely to take over the council, but it’s a sign of some underlying shift happening in what was a previously solid conservative seaside town. Similarly in Witney, there’s been a sustained growth in Labour support, to the point where the town council is now led by Labour, and the town returned Labour candidates to three of its five district council seats. Again, Conservative support can no longer be guaranteed in the traditional southern strongholds, and I think it goes beyond the demographic effect of Londoners ‘spilling out’ into the South East.
I’ve been listening to Tracey Curtis lately.
I’d like to say I’m proud to be British, but I’m not.
I love the town I live in now…
I love our rivers, love our coastline, what’s left of our green,
but I won’t wear the union jack
or sing ‘god save the queen’.