With so many articles and other writing stuck in production, I thought I”d knock out a quick blog inspired by Matias Vernengo at Naked Keynesianism; he posted an article called, The Fiscal-Military State and Western Hegemony. The article has a quick look at a select choice of the literature, and reminds us of Charles Tilly‘s allegedly famous argument that “War made the State, and the State made war”, although I suspect that Tilley was not the first to make this argument. Most interestingly, he argues that where cavalry warfare was in the ascendancy, it acted as an inhibitor to military technological development and latterly superiority. I suggest it was the development of cities, and their density in Europe together with their walls that necessitated the invention of artillery to conduct siege warfare and an infantry to protect it. Similarly, the development of naval warfare and overseas empires, incubated by Europe’s geography reinforced, or maybe preceded the evolution of land based cannons.
Yesterday evening, Brockley Labour passed the following motion in response to the Labour Party’s review on rules and democracy. This review is being undertaken by Ray Collins, an ex-General Secretary of the Labour Party and an interim report was presented to Labour’s Conference, Collins Review Interim Report Sep 2013. I commented on the debate at conference on this blog in an article called Labour’s Rules considered by those that can change them.
One step forward, two steps back?
Ed Miliband reshuffled Labour’s Shadow Cabinet earlier this week, 1½ weeks after the #lab13 and since three of Len McCluskey’s four horsemen of austerity have been either demoted or sacked many, particularly the Tory blogosphere saw this and reflected on it as a reinforcement of Miliband’s conference speech vector and a move to the Left. The full story is probably more nuanced than the stories told by the mainly right wing commentariat but you can take your choice from Red Ed stamps McClusky’s Marxism on Labour to Miliband punishes the poor messengers.
Earlier today, Torrent Freak published an article detailing the number of take down requests that Google receives and acts upon, in the previous week, they report
Google received DMCA notices from 5,407 copyright owners and reporting organizations requesting the removal of 5,310,080 URLs spanning a total of 37,413 domains.
Obviously, I have been exposed to the copyright maximalist’s constant propaganda at #lab13 and further with the press coverage of the Select Committee, so its great to see this reported. The Torrentfreak article ends,
In the aftermath, of Ed Miliband’s conference speech, I came across two important articles published on the Touchstone and IPPR blog sites. Responsible Capitalism Takes Shape by Duncan Wheldon, and On left populism and Labour’s conference by Nick Pearce. It was Wheldon’s article that caught my eye first but both he and Pearce suggest there is a tension in the Labour Party between those who believe that British Capitalism no longer serves the interests of the majority; that what’s good for business is no longer good for people and the ‘simple keynesians’ who follow the old New Labour policies of using macroeconomic policy and demand management to encourage private sector growth. Pearce argues that Miliband believes that it’s broken and needs rebuilding, he’s on record as saying he thinks the 2015 election will be as transformative as that in 1979 and as he put it in the conference speech in speaking about the fact that capitalism seems no longer to let people afford a decent life,
Today, Parliament released the “Culture” select committee’s report “Supporting the Creative Industries”. The headline pursued by most media outlets is that Google’s efforts to limit copyright infringement by its ‘users’ is, to quote the committee chairman, John Whittingdale, “derisory”. This is reported by Computing, which extends Whittingdale’s quotes which demand further action from Google which is erroneously singled out as the single largest source of piracy and thus the single largest source of damage to Britain’s creative industries. Peter Bradwell of the ORG, and Paul Bernal of UEA cover the report and its impact, in Peter’s case on the ORG Blog, in an article called, Culture Committee copyright report one-sided and simplistic and in Paul’s case on his blog in an article called, Supporting the creative economy?. The ORG verbal evidence to the committee is available as a video here…, on Parliament TV. Enjoy the show and Peter’s persistant return to statistics and facts
While I was meeting up with fellow conference delegates from Lewisham on Sunday night, the results from the German general election were being forecast and announced.
As expected the German conservatives increased their share of the vote and the number of seats in the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Federal Parliament, but their parliamentary allies and the source of their parliamentary majority, the Free Democrats (FDP) failed to reach the threshold required to get seats. The FDP have been voted out of the parliament and consequently the right wing are five seats short of a majority.
On the journey home, I shared a table with one of the exhibitor staff; we spoke about Ed’s speech and Labour Party Reform, particularly the suggestion that we should hold a primary for our Mayoral candidates. My fellow traveller said that he’d like the opportunity to help choose Labour’s candidates; since he also lived in Lewisham, I am not sure if he was referring to Lewisham or London and while I spoke about the supporter’s organisation he didn’t seem that interested. I need to think about this.
He also said he thought the speech was left wing, and I expressed surprise. Miliband is speaking about improving markets and making them work, not imposing worker’s or even consumer’s control. It’s about regulation. This is in contrast to the right but it’s not in itself left wing. Renationalising the Utilities would be left wing, although I am not sure that we really want that method of control re-imposed.