Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thank God for Danny Boyle. The launch ceremony could not have been better - celebrating diversity (rather than the Chinese uniformity), history (rather than nostalgia), music fashion and dance - above all with humour. Tory commentators have castigated it either as "multicultural crap" or, for slightly more intelligent voices,like Toby Young as lacking an imperial dimension and leaving out Darwin and other scientists as well as positive images of capitalism. How can one not see the mention of the Windrush and indeed the very presence of so much diversity throughout all of the show as not being implicitly about Empire? On the Left we must become better at celebrating our view of the World in ways suggested by Boyle. We are on the side of history in stressing issues such as internationalism, cooperation, diversity, anti-racism and sensitivity to gender and sexuality etc. The nasty, selfish, small minded, parochial Tory view of life is not inevitable unless we allow it to be!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Rich don't need community

The Rich don't need community. Nor do they need social capital - they have the real thing. I doubt Tony Blair will ever be accused of lacking a community or social capital because he doesn't know who his neighbours in Connaught Square are. Cherie will not be seen as lacking bridging capital because she hasn't been round to her neighbours to say hello or borrow sugar when she has run out. As John Lanchester says in the Guardian Weekend ("Why the Super-Rich love the UK"): '"Community" that loaded word so beloved of politicians, is simply not a reality in most people's lives. It's normal for us to be cut off from each other. The super-rich, however, are so cut off that they are barely living here at all. Everything that can have the word "private" attached in front of it, they have: schools, hospitals, jets, islands." So much for "we are all in this together"'