Justin Reynolds reflects on four fascinating and exhausting days at The World Transformed, the Momentum-organised festival that took place concurrently with the Labour Party conference in Brighton.
‘For many on the independence side this is all a bit of a let down, but instead it should be seen as a challenge and window. Scotland’s journey to greater self-government isn’t all about the SNP. Nor is it about keeping quiet and burying any reservations until Independence Day.’
Top down policy won’t transform those wasted spaces. Meaningful regeneration grows upwards from community grassroots but it needs help from above. Fay Young introduces two articles by Susan Mansfield describing how empowered communities can transform local environments and quality of life.
Jeremy Corbyn’s serene countenance during the election campaign drew frequent parallels with that of a Buddhist monk, Corbyn himself at one point referring to his efforts to attune himself to a Zen mindframe. But Corbyn’s unaffected homily at Glastonbury suggests a comparison with another spiritual archetype might be more appropriate.
“It is this total vacuity of devolved politics, self-consciously free from conflict and danger, that allows the spectre of Scottish Toryism to haunt us so brazenly. They can happily adopt the rhetoric of the centre-left parties that have predominated in Scottish politics, articulating a politically empty ‘Scottish’ interest that means whatever the voters want it to”.
Owen Hopkins’s book Lost Futures surveys the rise, fall and rise again of the reputation of British post-war architectural modernism, including iconic Scottish projects such as Glasgow’s Red Roads Flat and Hutchenstown C, the Cockenzie Power Station and St Peter’s Seminary.
“If it is baby boxes for all as a sign of our equality, let it be free fuel for all, free transport for all, citizen’s income for all, free school meals, shoes and coats for all. If the aim is the best start in life for all of Jock Tamson’s bairns, then why not? What would stop us?”
Voting is a founding block of citizenship. Mark Lazarowicz urges UK and Scottish governments to make a clear declaration on maintaining legal rights of EU citizens to vote in devolved parliaments and local elections after Brexit.
“If 2016 was the year in which millennials realised that they had to confront the true reality of their meagre inheritance, 2017 must be a year in which resistance to authoritarian nationalism takes definite form. The awful questions that the past twelve months have posed can only be answered if we first understand this moment as a generational coming of age.”
Communitarianism doesn’t have to be regressive: the pre-war origins of social democracy hold lessons for today’s left.