WHY?

All that’s left¦.

In 1992 four blokes just out of university shared a flat in Hackney.  There was an election on which promised to bring to an end the long dark depressing days of Margaret Thatcher and the then much shorter but not inconsiderably depressing days of John Major. 13 years of unbroken Tory rule had led to the championing of the politics of selfishness and greed, the denial of the existence of society and the destruction of much if what had made post-war Britain a fundamentally decent place.  Then, Major’s soapbox, John Smith’s alternative budget, Neil Kinnock’s awrrrigght, Rupert Murdoch’s lightbulb and crushing disappointment.

Over the course of that election and afterwards we discussed, we argued, we agreed, we disagreed.   What next for progressive politics, what was left? All That’s Left was unknowingly conceived in that election campaign when the interweb was still something for nerdy scientists and IT geeks.   Its gestation period has been long. We have since scattered to all points of the compass.

Fast forward to 2010 and there is another election on and it is the most uncertain since that one 18 years before. The long long shadow of the Conservative victory in 1992 led to the spawning of a principle-light ruthless election winning machine called New Labour which after 13 years in power is internally riven, intellectually exhausted and ideologically craven.  The Conservative party faces the most propitious electoral environment for any political party since 1983.  And yet it falls well short of an overall majority obtaining only 37% of the popular vote.  For a brief few days it appears that a broad-based progressive government would emerge from the uncertain outcome.  Instead we get a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition signed-up to cuts so brutal that they would have made Geoffrey Howe wince. Those committed to progressive politics are left bruised, uncertain and confused as to the way ahead.

All That’s Left was born out of the 2010 election.  Its politics are unashamedly progressive.

Unlike the majority of existing major UK political blogs All That’s Left is not party political. All progressives within the democratic traditions of the centre left from all parties and none are welcome. The authors share a value system but are not monolithic in their views. Expect passionate and constructive disagreement.

We will cover and debate policy and ideas. All That’s Left believes that the traditions, ideas and philosophies of the political centre-left provide the best solutions to contemporary problems. We believe that we are able to achieve together more than we are able to achieve apart. We believe that the strong and powerful have a responsibility to the weak and powerless.  We believe that the growing inequalities in society are unsustainable and damage us all. We believe that collectively there is a responsibility to the current and future generations to preserve and protect the environment. We believe in the rule of law and that the state and its actors are as much subject to it as the ordinary citizen. We believe that private as much as public vested interests need to be challenged and held accountable for their actions. We believe in democracy.

We will cover and debate elections and electoral strategy. All That’s Left is unashamedly practical in its politics. There is no point having good progressive policies without having any prospect of implementing them.  Without power good intentions are irrelevant.   Leftist posturing is of no interest to us. However, we also believe that the centre-left has since 1992 been far too cowardly in making its case.  The current economic crisis was caused by free-market and deregulatory dogma, enabled by a Labour government too frightened to challenge its tenets. There can be no progressive revival without a renewed confidence in the correctness of progressive ideas and a willingness to go out and make the case for them.

We will cover and debate global politics. All That’s Left believes that the UK cannot be seen in a bubble. Politics and economics are global and ideas as much as music or clothes are, sadly, the subject of fashion and trends.  At one point in the late 1990s virtually all European governments were run by parties of the centre left, as of October 2010 there are virtually no major European governments that fit that description. The reasons for this situation need to be understood if it is to be reversed.

Life would be very dull if itwas just politics. Hinterlands are important. We will write about subjects that interest us individually whether it be football or film, cycling or contemporary fiction.

Arguments and passions about music animated the authors back in 1992 perhaps more than any other subject. We may not be as in touch as we were back then but music remains central to what we are about.  All That’s Left is not a music blog and we are not music critics, but there are few things more exciting than the discovery of a great new band and few things more satisfying than unexpectedly hearing a song that you love or that has some significance in your life.  So we will write on the music that matters to us, old and new, well-known and obscure.

All That’s Left is for you to join the debate.

Ray, Jackie and George.  Bobby is sleeping.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie East-West July 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

Very good chart highlighting left v right in politics and society. This is the US version – but the rules certainly apply in the UK…
Left – inclusive, progressive, fair. compassionate and multicultural
Right – exclusive, regressive, unfair, selfish and nationalistic
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/left-vs-right-world/

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Douglas Lock September 3, 2011 at 9:48 am

Just happened on your Blog. Great stuff I look forward to some further research. love your comment on George Osborne.. I do think that the same comments would fit Danny Alexander, Dave and I.D.Smith. However what I do hope to see on your Blog is real analysis and some light at the end of the tunnel. All the best Douglas

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John K September 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Don’t know whether you guys are interested in topic-specific blogs but this blog (http://barclaybrothers.wordpress.com) started fueled by an indignation with the tax-dodging Barclay brothers attempt at suing the HMRC for £1bn via their Littlewoods company. Perhaps you’d be interested in shedding some light on these very media-shy hustlers.

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Zoe Armstrong December 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

In 1992 four girls, still at university, shared a flat in Hackney…
Maybe I’m just sentimental but I found your manifesto rather moving. Looking forward to finding my way round your blog. It looks very interesting.

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Ray_North December 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Thanks Zoe – hope you enjoy our blog – feel free to tell us if we’re right or wrong about stuff!

Happy Christmas!

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Andy JS October 8, 2013 at 1:05 am

I confess that I don’t support the political stance of the main contributors to this blog but I’d like to say how interesting and informative the site is; I visit it on a regular basis. At the moment I think the most likely result of the next election is a Lab/LD coalition with Cable or Farron as LD leader. But I think the Conservatives may just win the popular vote.

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Ray_North October 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Thanks Andy – we don’t expect everyone to agree with us – to be honest it’s unusual if we all agree with each other. We are keen to hear dissenting voices and new arguments and we hope that people who ‘pop in’ in our site see us as friendly and human and as objective as we can be – though unashamedly liberal and economically left of centre – being non-affiliated to any party helps.

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DB February 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

Likewise, interesting site. Only had a brief tour so far, but some interesting topics. I liked the pictograms simplifying the differences of left and right and really had no qualms with it – it just summarises two differing world views. The reason I felt compelled to reply is the rather glib summation of this above by Charlie that left is best effectively! There is often this incredible arrogance (sorry Charlie) on the left that somehow because they claim to place people more overtly at the heart of their ethos they are therefore right. Moral high ground duly claimed. It’s certainly an appealing simplification for the general populace and, in part, is exacerbated and given by the Tories’ own apparent remoteness and seeming inability to relate to ‘normal’ people. I’m no Conservative (capital ‘C’) but they could certainly do more to help themselves and to make their values less… misrepresented. I’m socially liberal, but being from a financial background naturally have a keen interest in that side of politics and there, I’m definitely conservative (small ‘c’). The left’s problem is they pay this lip service in uncontrolled pursuit of their bleeding heart ideals. It’s the Achilles heel. The inevitable result is a Tory government to clean up the (financial invariably) mess left behind. Vote Labour, get Tories (eventually). You’d think the Liberals could make greater play of that, wouldn’t you?! Anyway, all the best.

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