This is the last of a set of seven essays, in which I have been trying to understand and to diagnose the political, economic and ethical ills of our times.
I was called this morning by the BBC. It wanted me to comment on the claims that Sports direct, a chain of sports clothing shops, mistreats its workers – keeping them on zero-hours contracts, sometimes not paying them even the minimum wage, scaring them out of going sick, generally treating them like dirt. Would I care to go on air to defend the right of employers to behave in this way? I am increasingly turning down invitations to go on radio and television, and this was an invitation I declined. I suggested the researcher should call the Adam Smith Institute. This would almost certainly provide a young man to rhapsodise about the wonders of the free market. My own answer would be too complex for the average BBC presenter to understand, and I might be cut off in mid-sentence.
Today, I’m going to compare and contrast the two sides in the big battle of our times. I call them Convivials and Politicals. Much of what I say today, I’ve already said in earlier essays. What is new, though, is how I choose to organize it.
When the 2016 Referendum went unexpectedly to the Leavers, the Conservative Party was handed a golden opportunity. It had only to manage a reasonable withdrawal, and it could look forward to a generation of electoral hegemony.
Every political philosopher worth his salt has written a book, or a chapter, or at least an essay, on the subject of the state. What is the state intended to be? What is the state, in reality? And where is it going?
It’s confession time …
Even before the USSR ceased to exist with the faith of millions of people in the possibility of building socialism in a separate part of the world, Europe saw the dark neoliberal coming. At the end of the crisis of the 1970s.
So you still believe Bernie Sanders (the 2016 and now the 2020 presidential candidate) is an anti-establishment/anti-war politician?