Liberal Conspiracy: The centre left still has no idea how to become relevant again

Jacob Hacker, a professor of political science at Yale University, is widely credited for coining the Labour buzzword ‘pre-distribution’.

He wrote an article for the Guardian a few weeks ago, as part of a talk at Peter Mandelson’s think-tank Policy Network. The most interesting part of the article for me was this bit:

Second, the third way took for granted that one could maintain the state’s role in providing public goods while also glorifying markets – especially, at least until the crash, financial markets. Then, of course, governments of all stripes bailed out those markets when things went sour. Throughout, virtually no investment was made in fostering a positive conception of the state’s role in making market work, which is actually more vital than ever in a complex global economy. The result is a crisis of legitimacy, and no political force suffers more from this crisis than the moderate left.

This point cannot be emphasised enough. The ‘moderate’ left is in a deep crisis of legitimacy that hasn’t gone away.

Even five years after 2007 we still don’t have an explanation of what went wrong in 2007 and what lessons have been learnt. Ed Miliband has made some attempt to grapple with this, but the agenda seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Now the focus is back on ‘fiscal consolidation’ and ‘tough choices’ and ‘pragmatic decisions’ and ‘public sector reform’ and so on. You know, the kind of words the Progress crowd love.

Now I’m not saying those phrases are not relevant in any way. But many on the centre left have mistaken this ongoing crisis of legitimacy (‘how did you let us get into this mess?‘) as a sign that people want to hear more of the things the centre-left loves talking about.

In other words, they say, obviously the centre-left is unpopular because we aren’t talking enough about ‘fiscal discipline’ and ‘public sector reform’ – rather than try and convince the public that we realise fucked up and have some bold ideas to promote this time around.

Ed Miliband started off down this path, and I was hopeful that he would stick with it, and develop it further to convince the public that Labour had learnt and changed.

But it seems the same people who were previously praising the bankers, disliked regulation and wanted the banks bailed out – Ed Balls is a key figure here – have gone back into their comfort zone again. Three years later there is nothing bold on reforming financial services, rebalancing the economy or a bold industrial strategy other than lots of speeches and a British Investment Bank (which the Tories are pushing anyway).

Instead of arguing about how far the UK economy needs to change to it work for ordinary people, the Labour party is spending all its time trying to explain how far they would match Osborne in every step he takes.

The centre left – I’m referring to Labour’s “centrists” here – aren’t even listening to their own people and recognising their ongoing crisis of legitimacy.

via Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy


God Is In The TV: Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band – New Album

Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band is back with a brand new album, his second, out on Corporate Records. It’s called ‘TOTP 2′ and Keith follows the Half Man Half Biscuit mould of song writing with tongue-in-cheek humour that mask songs that sometimes have a more pertinent meaning. Keith says the album is about “tales of love, arrogance and petty jealousy” and features an array of artists.

Charley Stone (The Famous Cocks, Joanne Joanne), Sarah Nixey (Black Box Recorder), Jimbob (Carter USM) Charlotte Hatherley (Ash), Johnny Fade (The Fades) and Eddie Argos (Art Brut) are amongst those who’ve contributed to ‘TOTP 2′. Live, Keith invites anyone on stage to join his band making for a fun and interesting experience.

‘Do You Want Some?’ and ‘ProperMusic’ are available to download free now from Soundcloud.

‘TOTP 2′ is out now via Corporate Records.

via Lisa Jenkins God Is In The TV

Liberal Conspiracy: #BodyLove vs. Body Shame: Why we need to embrace our bodies

by Taran Bassi

At 1pm today, a campaign to promote ‘body acceptance’ will reach its peak with a flashmob across the country. The main one will be on the South Bank in London, and others across schools, colleges, Universities and online.

Anyone can participate by scrawling in the middle of a heart something that they love about their bodies, and tweet a picture with the hashtag #BodyLove, or share their story by using the same hash tag.

The campaign is loud and unapologetic in the view that we should love our bodies as opposed to being ashamed of them.

Body shame is all over the internet, for e.g. on the MailOnline’s “sidebar of shame”, evolving into a dominant practice within culture and media. It targets predominantly women for almost every single part of their physical appearance: bingo wings, muffin tops, cankles, cameltoe, crows feet, thunder thighs…the list of derogatory language used to describe the female form is endless.

We are constantly bombarded with images of the ‘ideal’, such as how to get ‘pearly white teeth’, ‘glowing skin’, ‘beautiful hair’ and let’s not forget the all-important ‘body you have always dreamed of’. Females are fed an image of perfection, and to deviate from that image or demonstrate resistance suggests that you are not beautiful.

Slut shaming and victim shaming too derive from the concept of body shame. They are typically victimised for their ‘sexy’ appearance, suggesting they are responsible for unwanted attention.

In a culture tightly controls definitions of beauty, where adhering to strict diet regimes are symbolic of a achievement, and where it is acceptable for topless women to appear in a national newspaper, this campaign serves as a giant ‘fuck you’.

#BodyLove in our culture has to win against body shame, because it allows women a chance and a choice to embrace something that has sadly often been used against them – their own bodies.

More about the #BodyLove project here

via Guest Liberal Conspiracy

Liberal Conspiracy: Why has WM Police quietly deleted the claim Walsall bomb wasn’t terrorism?

On Friday 21st June, a bomb went off outside a mosque in Walsall, West Midlands. Fortunately no one was hurt and there was no property damage.

Nevertheless, almost 150 people in 40 homes near the scene were evacuated as a “precautionary and temporary” measure, as bomb disposal experts were called to the mosque. Residents reported hearing a loud bang when the bomb went off.

The story was reported in the news on Sunday and the police immediately said it was not an act of terrorism.

A statement by Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe from West Midlands police said:

Specialist investigators have been working all day and continue to ensure that we maximise every opportunity from the crime scene.

At this stage we are keeping an open mind on a motive. There is no evidence or intelligence to suggest that this is an act of terrorism.

But given the recent spate of attacks on Muslims, it was bizarre the police ruled out terrorism as a motive so early.

What did the police think was the motive other than to harm people? Spread love?

But it gets more bizarre.

West Midlands police have now quietly deleted that quote saying there was no evidence to suggest it was terrorism.

There isn’t a note or even a tweet to point this out – they just deleted that bolded line above. It is missing from the page.

So why have the police now backtracked from the original claim? And why did they rule out terrorism so quickly very early on?

(hat-tip @AssedBaig)

via Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy

God Is In The TV: Jan Roth – debut album and video announced

Berlin artist Jan Roth will release his debut album ‘L.O.W’ on July 29th 2013 via German label Sinnbus. Sinnbus is home to many acclaimed acts such as alt-folk duo Rue Royale and synth-pop two piece Me And My Drummer.

Jan’s debut album crosses genres such as jazz, post-rock and math as he’s contributed and collaborated with countless artists in his native Germany.

‘Siebzehn’ is a track taken from the album and his first video. It features Jan and his fellow musicians combine electro, jazz piano and beautiful instrumental compositions to create his signature quirky sound.]

Jan Roth on Facebook:

For more information, visit Sinnbus’ website:

via Lisa Jenkins God Is In The TV

God Is In The TV: Track Of The Day #299: Twice Young – Half Dust

Here’s a track from a cracking EP (or maybe mini-album – 7 tracks, 25 mins – you decide) by a band called Twice Young who I know bugger all about, other than the fact they place fantastic indie rock, the EP is called ‘Little Mind Alike’, it’s their first release and they’re giving the whole thing away for free if you choose – right here – go fetch.



via TC God Is In The TV

Rocksucker: Review: Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune


Empire of the Sun’s second album Ice on the Dune comes as resounding validation of anyone who thought Luke Steele’s erstwhile The Sleepy Jackson project was better.

Ice on the Dune announces itself grandly on “Lux” but immediately sags into an album’s worth of indistinct modern synth-pop, with ‘go to’ dancefloor synths and relentlessly safe tonality expunging any hint of character.

There are flashes of ingenuity amidst the perfunctory: the glimmering electronic twinkliness of the title track, for example, or the Flaming Lips-y harmony breakdown in “I’ll Be Around”.

Despite sounding a bit like a Tina Turner backing track, “I’ll Be Around” is actually one of the better tracks here, probably alongside the well overdue drama of “Old Flavours”.

More typical though is “Disarm”, which seems to draw influence from Pretty Much Any French DJ from the ’90s. Mostly, the dial is set to ’80s.

Were the ’80s so good that we need every second band to be a walking, talking homage to them? Didn’t we get enough ’80s from the decade itself?

Ice on the Dune is out now on EMI Records.

You can buy Ice on the Dune on iTunes or on Amazon.

Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Review: Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune appeared first on Rocksucker. Visit Rocksucker for more music news, reviews and interviews.

via Rocksucker

Rocksucker: Review: J. Cole – Born Sinner


J. Cole’s second album Born Sinner seems him stake a bold claim to be footballers’ favourite rapper, even ahead of Drake.

The beats, production and J. Cole’s flow are generally okay to good throughout album, so it’s a shame that he has precisely nothing of any interest to say whatsoever.

Take “Villuminati”: great shuffling beat, nice string sample, lovely smoky feel to the production, but it’s ultimately all just a platform for a procession of boasts interspersed with the likes of:

My verbal AK slay faggots / And I don’t mean no disrespect whenever I say faggot, okay faggot / Don’t be so sensitive / If you want to get fucked in the ass / That’s between you and whoever else’s dick it is / Pause, maybe that line was too far / Just a little joke to show how homophobic you are

Likewise this, from “Land of the Snakes”, which might well leave you grappling for subtext but finding the cupboard depressingly bare:

On the first night, nah I ain’t proud of it / I boned her in my dorm room and kicked her out of it / And I never called back, how thoughtfuless / Now I’m standing in the streets tryna politic with her

Not exactly Kendrick Lamar, is it? In case you’re wondering: no, thoughtfuless is not a word.

Look at those track titles: “Rich Niggaz”, “Mo Money”, “Power Trip”… There are attempts at sweetness on “Runaway” and “Crooked Smile”, but they too are laced with brags.

Most attention grabbing is “Let Nas Down”, an arrestingly honest account of his finding out that his hero worship for Nas was not reciprocated, but it ruins it all by ‘hitting back’ at him in the second and third verses.

J. Cole came into this many rungs below Nas and he doesn’t recover any ground with the lyrical likes of “I’m earnin’ stripes now nigga, got Adidas galore”.

You can deduct half a quail for that, straight off.

Born Sinner is out now on Roc Nation LLC.

You can buy Born Sinner on iTunes or on Amazon.

One and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quailhalf a quail

Review: J. Cole – Born Sinner appeared first on Rocksucker. Visit Rocksucker for more music news, reviews and interviews.

via Rocksucker