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.