Posted 20 hours ago

GO BIG: How To Fix Our World

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Full of ambitious ideas about how to solve gigantic social issues such as working life, childcare and climate change .

One hesitates to invoke Miliband’s father, as if genetics were any predictor of political allegiance, but perhaps the point is made simply by observing that it is nigh-on impossible for Miliband to be ignorant of the fundamentals of Marxism and its critique of capitalist society. An example: he notes that revenues from natural resources have all-too-frequently been squandered by governments on day-to-day spending – the North Sea oil so beloved of Scottish Nationalists is a case in point. Femi’s exuberant words and talent saw him named as the first Young People’s Laureate for London in 2016, following his 2015 win at the Roundhouse Poetry Slam.William Dalrymple with Fergal Keane: Rapacity and Excess in Imperial India In the hands of William Dalrymple, history becomes a rip-roaring, rollicking adventure; the reader embarking on a visceral odyssey into the subject thanks to Dalrymple’s glorious gift for storytelling and his eye for detail. We do care about each other, we do have a deep well of empathy…” That “we” becomes so insistent in the course of his book that you start to wonder who he means by it – all of his likely readers?

Miliband has remained in British politics since ceding the Labour leadership, and his book Go Big – based on his popular Reasons to be Cheerful podcast – argues that we are at a rare moment in history when people everywhere see the need for big change. Both the IMF and the OECD have now acknowledged that income inequality is the result of the weakening of unions, the latter concluding: “Growing inequality is harmful for long-term economic growth… the key driver is the growing gap between lower-income households… and the rest of the population. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the UK politics, especially now as we are in dire need of knowing that things can get better in the dumpster fire that is UK politics right now.This is a book that reaches out beyond divisions of left or right but describes a form of politics that is a better fit for our times: interactive, local, and inclusive. The bigger flaw in the book, which is in turn the central flaw of Miliband’s politics, is that he is utterly incapable of a broader analysis of the class society in which we live. The point of Miliband’s proposals are not to aid the working class in winning its struggles; nor even to gently popularise a limited form of economic democracy which could at some later date be adopted wholesale. Yes, it had a big effect years ago on White South Africa, points all well-made, but what about today and the Israel debate?

I had always considered him decent, thoughtful, intelligent – and, on the couple of occasions I met him, personable and (dare I say it) attractive. great ideas straightforwardly presented - you may not agree with them all but the view that if you don't do something about ideas for change you passionately believe in then why on earth you think the change can come about is fairly logical and underpins these. Ultimately these should be seen for what they are – just another way of bourgeois politicians passing the buck for even a modicum of progressive change.He asks why social housing has such a poor reputation in the UK when it provides homes for 60% of people in Vienna, the capital consistently voted the best place to live. In fact, it's more of an extension of the podcast he co-hosts, in the sense that it addresses different issues facing Brits today — twenty in total — and makes some recommendations as to how to best address them. He notes that this view implies “ that bosses are constantly trying to maximise profits and do down the workers”. But to cast this as one individual’s attempt to launder his own reputation would be both fruitless and would miss the wider point. For instance, public polls regularly show that a majority of UK voters are in favour of sweeping public ownership to a level not seen since the 1970s.

A rare beacon of positivity in these challenging times, Ed Miliband’s Reasons to be Cheerful podcast highlights ingenious methods employed across the world to bring about change for the better, and in Go Big he expands on these schemes and encourages readers to aim high in their ideals. Given that employee-owned businesses including sole trades currently contribute around 2-4% of GDP, this is really meagre stuff; not least when one bears in mind the scale and urgency of the climate emergency facing us – an issue which is supposed to be Miliband’s strong suit. He served as Minister and Secretary of State in the governments of Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown, and became Leader of the Labour Party himself in 2010, a position he held until 2015. You can only trust that President Xi of China and comrade Putin, not to mention our own Brexity prime minister, have received advanced copies of his book. As he likes to say, in a phrase that presupposes a different world to that in which we live, “global problems require global solutions”.

Even setting aside that cooperatives are in themselves not a clear route to socialism, the bar for what Miliband considers social progress is shockingly low. And then there's this incredible forgiveness she has for the person she tracked down who was part of the killing. I was left with such an unusual feeling that I didn't at first realise what it was, and then I remembered: optimism. As said in the conclusion, “we must meet the moment by raising the scale of our ambitions for what politics can achieve ”. Cooperatives are of course not a solution to the problem of exploitation in general – not that Miliband is looking for such a solution.

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