Me, the state and the drugs trade; the mathematical perfection of a power-inequality triangle

At a time when questions about the legalisation of cannabis are once again high on the news agenda, I think it is worth remembering the historical relationship between the state and the drugs trade. Although, it is only right that I first explain my personal history with the drugs trade. The British summer has in recent years become synonymous with large scale for-profit festivals. When I was younger, festivals where the time and place to…

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Football and socialism together are greater than the sum of their parts

As a socialist and a football fan, there have been periods when I found it a struggle to rationalise these two aspects of my identity. I know from speaking to other people, that the feeling that football and socialism are mutually exclusive is not entirely uncommon. Chomsky's comments didn't help, when during an interview he called sports “another crucial example of the indoctrination system”. In terms of the capitalist model of modern football, with it's…

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Questions facing The People’s Assembly; austerity or neo-liberalism and hierarchy or democracy?

Last Saturday I was at the People's Assembly conference sub-titled 'How can we achieve an anti-austerity government?'. I have two problems with this phrase. Firstly, I believe the word austerity has been hijacked by the ruling class to act as a euphemism for 'bankers' bailout'. And secondly, covering up for and bailing out the ruling class when they break stuff is pretty much what government in the UK, and Europe, and much of the world…

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You say tax avoidance, I say sociopaths

Between the Panama Papers in 2016 and the Paradise Papers in 2017, and against the fallout of the great 'bankers bailout scam' called austerity, there was a brief period when informed debates around the role of tax and tax avoidance where momentarily occurring in even the mainstream press. After years of justifying cutting public spending in order to bail out the criminally inept bankers, the corporate news media did an about turn and started laying…

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Can 9 Songs still be considered art?

In 2005 I reviewed Michael Winterbottom's film 9 Songs for the Morning Star. One of the things that was most apparent to me at the time was just how graphic the sex scenes in the film were, being that it had been classified as a non-pornographic film by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). I had completely forgotten that I had reviewed 9 Songs, and only remembered it when I was going through my…

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Celebrity revolutionaries and UK democracy

One of the fundamental failings of 'UK democracy' is that the establishment, to all intents and purposes, controls all the levers of power. So, while it is true that a large percentage of the UK population has the right to vote, the real question of how much actual political power exists within that vote, is very rarely discussed. But when Russell Brand decided to throw his hat, albeit still very grubby from his fall from…

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