Each one will die, and yet together
Mankind will surely live forever.
Though you and I will surely die,
Mankind will soon take wing and fly,
Throughout the void, the galaxy;
There’ll be no end to you and me.
Our never-ending future shall
Make every one an immortal.
So we may face our single fate,
And know that we will live on yet.

We made a compact, time gone past –
The world would end, but we would last.
The earth goes round the sun, we’d say,
And sure its orbit must decay,
And God we banished from the scene,
Forbade to ever intervene,
And doomed…


We have been here before, haven’t we? It’s an ever-present question, but one that really comes to the fore in the wake of a shocking electoral defeat. The choice is presented thus: should Labour be practical or principled, focus on winning elections or on changing the system? In its current form the question reads: Does the party need to move back to the centre, or must Corbynism survive beyond the (eventual…) departure of the man himself?

Framing the debate over Labour’s identity in such binary terms is nothing new — but since Corbyn’s first leadership campaign it has taken an…


A few words on Danny Baker, prompted by coverage of ‘that tweet’ in the Guardian.

Gaby Hinsliff’s article, ‘Sorry, Danny Baker — sometimes comedy is just off limits’, makes a very reasonable argument: that even if you believe Danny Baker’s explanation for that tweet, it was still right to sack him — because it appeared racist to people, and therefore sacking him sent a much needed message.

I think I can agree with that argument. (Although I don’t agree it should be the end of his career. Also: he should not have been summarily sacked. He should have been suspended…


Left-wingers who want a hard Brexit would throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Grace Blakeley, Larry Elliott, and others have been restating the case for a hard Brexit recently, on the basis that only leaving the EU fully would enable a future Corbyn government the ability to deliver a programme of democratic socialism. The side-argument (also made by Steve Keen) is that Brexit would deliver such a major trauma to the British system as to remove the establishment barriers to radical social and economic progress.

To keep things polite, there’s a large element of fantastical thinking here.

This isn’t…


Even with the best of intentions behind them most local Labour Party motions are no good, says Richard Douglas. Drawing on his previous experience of drafting recommendations for House of Commons select committees, he suggests some ways of improving on them.

Motions give a voice to rank-and-file members, and lead to truly democratic policy-making. They must be a good thing, and the more motions, the better.

That’s one way of looking at things. Another is to see that most motions are, in practice, either a waste of time or an intrinsically bad way of deciding anything. I speak from some…


‘There it is. The bad mother.’

Sam peered at it. The flickering image was underwhelming. But still riveting. A quiet came over them as they watched it.

‘How’s that?’ Steve couldn’t stop himself. ‘It’s an app you can download from NASA! It’s had over 500 million downloads! That’s half a billion. And counting.’

Sam just stared. He dimly understood what was going on. This thing, it was the ultimate celebrity. Steve was basking in the reflected glow, like he had a personal connection. That was the thing with household names.

Sam nodded to indicate they ought to return to getting…


The Referendum

a play by

Richard McNeill Douglas

CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY

FlameOn! campaign

OSCAR POTTSDAM, an ealdorman of Mercia

REV MILES WASTER, a priest

JULIUS STURRIDGE, Leader of the Worshipful Company of Nutters and Fruitcakes

BRIGITTE LOKI, an ealdorman of Mercia

Squirt campaign

DONALD CAMPBELL, Lord of Mercia

CHUZZLEWIT COBSTONE, Leader of the Guild of Rude Mechanicals

CHERYL DONALDSON, envoy of the People’s Republic of Clydeonia

Others

HAYLEY SMITH, a strolling player, and host of the Referendum Hustings

DAVE GRAYSON, truth-teller, ex-scribe on the Chronicle of Mercia

PHIL HAWTHORNE, Chair of Rumpus — the Group for Progressive Mercians

WOMAN


Labour’s strong showing in the general election was built on a partnership between Corbynism and the wider Labour Party: together this added up to a triumph for the soft left. (Recut from an original post, with revised coverage of progressive alliances, and the importance of a Lib Dem revival to split the Tory vote, at the Renewal blog.)

Let us take a moment to marvel at Labour’s general election campaign. Starting out 17 percentage points behind the Conservatives, Labour finished with a gap of a mere 2.4 points. …


So I saw La La Land the other day, and here are a few brief words on it. Before going any further, let me say there are some spoilers to come. I mean, don’t worry, I’m not Sight and Sound; I’m not going to give away the ending in my first paragraph.

I’m going to give it away in the eighth paragraph.

Because this is what I want to talk about: the ending. The plot. There’s something about La La Land’s plot, its format, its basic concept, which makes it of some wider cultural relevance. …


or THE BOX OFFICE IN HEAVEN

A play in one act

by

Richard McNeill Douglas

The Characters

KATE / JANE AUSTEN

SUSANNA / MARIA CALLAS

DAVID / ALBERT EINSTEIN

HANNAH ARENDT / JOAN OF ARC

HUW / VLADIMIR ILLYICH LENIN

BRIAN / OSCAR WILDE

HAROLD PINTER

ANGEL

The Setting

The behind-the-scenes of a box office; ie, the office part, that which remains invisible to the public. The office is not too large (there is seating for about ten people), but it is open plan, which makes it seem spacious. On each desk there is a computer terminal and a telephone…

Richard McN Douglas

Father of Bairns 1 & 2. PhD student at Goldsmiths / CUSP. AFC Wimbledon & armchair Spurs. Social democrat, trade unionist, & environmentalist. Likes / dislikes.

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