Newsnight's Paul Mason is, by common consent, one of the most switched-on commentators on the global wave of social unrest that has emerged in the wake of the financial crisis. His recent blogpost, Twenty reasons why its kicking off everywhere, has deservedly been getting plenty of recommendations on twitter, etc.
I though this point was particularly interesting:
The weakness of organised labour means there's a changed relationship between the radicalized middle class, the poor and the organised workforce. The world looks more like 19th century Paris - heavy predomination of the "progressive" intelligentsia, intermixing with the slum-dwellers at numerous social interfaces (cabarets in the 19C, raves now); huge social fear of the excluded poor but also many rags to riches stories celebrated in the media (Fifty Cent etc); meanwhile the solidaristic culture and respectability of organized labour is still there but, as in Egypt, they find themselves a "stage army" to be marched on and off the scene of history.
Mason's picture of 19th century Paris holds more generally for what might be called the pre-industrial left. Geoff Eley provides a useful description of this heritage in his history of the left, Forging Democracy:
..but it is pretty firmly in hibernation mode at the moment. In part this it has opened up a number of other opportunities for me that are now taking up most of my time.
One of these is an editing gig at openDemocracy's OurKingdom blog, which is involved in some very exciting thinking around the future of the UK.
My involvement with Spinwatch has also deepened to the point where an argument that started out as a response to a Slugger thread has led to me starting a Ph.D at the University of Strathclyde.
Both openDemocracy and Spinwatch have got some interesting new projects in the works over the next few months. In the meantime, I'd like to flag up some good posts elsewhere on the themes that I've been neglecting here lately..
If you had been following the coverage of Tim Spicer, Tony Buckingham and assorted mercenaries here, then you will want to look up Craig Murray's recent encounters with same.
If you're interested in the neocons, London bloggers have produced some great coverage of Policy Exchange's relationship with Boris Johnson in recent months. Notable examples can be found at Dave Hill, Liberal Conspiracy, Boris Watch and Tory Troll.
There is something of a debate on Pickled Politics over whether US hosting is a defence against this kind of thing. In one comment, Thomas Dunsmore of Pitchinvasion.net reports that he was approached by Usmanov's lawyers despite having US hosting. It's not clear, however, if his hosts were approached directly or whether they took any action as a result.
OurKingdom points us to a new blog from Scottish nationalist thinker Tom Nairn, which kicks of with a post on Brown's overtures to the Lib Dems.
Some cross-partyism is required again, to save Britishness. This
is why he has lurched so suddenly towards the Lib-Dems, and in effect
invited them into informal coalition. He was indicating that higher
necessities must now take over — higher even than those of the Party,
his normal modus operandi. Until the eighteen-year reign of Thatcherite
Conservatism (1979-1997) it was the dominant mode of Westminster
governance. From 1915 until 1945 parties came together, forgetting
their policy differences to protect Empire, State and the all-British
identity so cherished by Brown and his ‘Unionist’ followers. (Tom Nairn)
Increasing spending on health and education Avoiding a recession
* 2 things he should apologise for.
Supporting the war in Iraq. Voting to impose tuition fees and foundation hospitals on England when his constituents won't be affected.
* 2 things that he should do immediately when he becomes PM.
Withdraw from Iraq. Scrap ID cards.
* 2 things he should do while he is PM.
Create an English Parliament as part of a codified constitutional settlement. Allow Northern Ireland to set a regional 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate to benefit from the growth of the Irish economy.
Following on from last year's precedent, here's a look back at the last twelve months as chronicled on the Green Ribbon.
The start of the year saw the Peter McBride campaign bringing its case to Westminster, with an early day motion launched by SDLP leader Mark Durkan calling for the government "to affirm that human rights abusers, killers, rapists and bullies are permanently excluded from military service." The motion would eventually win the support of 55 MPs from all major parties.
There's been a bit of a hiatus here at the Green Ribbon as I have been in Dublin for the last few days.
It looks like I will have to be get back up to speed though, as I have been included in Iain Dale's Guide to Political Blogging in the UK which is being distributed at the party conferences. I made it in at number 52 on the list of non-aligned blogs.
Although the guide is quite an extensive and balanced list, there are some notable omissions, which have excited plenty of debate around the blogosphere.