Monthly Archives: May 2006

The Euston Manifesto, officially launched today, proclaims itself as a way forward for “the left” – and is again defended by one of its writers, blogger and Manchester University Professor Norman Geras, over on the Guardian’s website.

Fine – a laudable aim. The British left has needed a way forward ever since the gang of four split the Labour party, a problem only compounded by the fall of the Soviet Union and Tony Blair’s careful guidance of the party towards the centre ground. The British left has to seriously reconsider its approach to the promotion of socialist ideals, and to what parts of the old left-wing obsessions are likely to be acceptable to the electorate in this post-Thatcherite age of rampant capitalism.

Obsessing over the Iraq war achieves none of this. Read More

Today sees the official launch of the Euston Manifesto and Professor Norman Geras has written an article defending this document against accusations that it is in some way pro-war. Has he missed the point?

The issue can be seen as one of consistency. The Euston Manifesto is scathing in its condemnation of terrorism and those who would “understand” it. As Professor Geras puts it:

We express our opposition to terrorism and to indulgently “understanding” (where this means condoning) it because it is thought to be motivated by legitimate grievances.

This is a perfectly sensible view.

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The south-eastern corner of England is facing a water shortage this summer. Water companies are applying for drought orders and drawing up plans for a desalination plant on the Thames estuary. Journalists have stopped writing articles about how London subsidises the rest of the country and could survive as an independent city-state.  Instead, they are reviving the old demand for a national water-grid.  London may yet have to go cap-in-hand to the rest of the country for its water.

Outside the South-East, the problem is much less severe. Most of England has had a dry winter but only the area within 70 miles or so of London is deemed at risk of drought. This is partly because south-eastern England has less rain in an average year than the rest of the country.  Thames Water’s antiquated leaking pipes don’t help either. The main cause of the problem, though, is that there are just too many people living in and around London.  Like the shortage of housing, traffic congestion and high property prices, the water shortage could be eased by rebalancing the population. Read More