Alan Simpson's Blog

Metanoia for the many – can we save the planet from ourselves?

Is it all too late? I hope not. But we are cutting it fine. In all recorded history, there has never been a more urgent need for an new societal vision. This is not just about redistribution from rich to poor. It entails a fundamental rethink of how we live and what sustainable economics is…

Wielding Power

Britain: a case study of how wealth corrupts Dennis Skinner once referred to David Cameron as ‘Dodgy Dave’. It may have seemed a disrespectful remark from an MP to the (then) Prime Minister, but Dennis was just telling it like it is. It’s only because Sunak’s government is so much further to the Right that…

Stuck in the muddle with you – the politics of complete confusion

“This is the new extinction and we are half way through it. We are in terrible, terrible trouble and the longer we wait to do something about it the worse it is going to get.” Sir David Attenborough I want to weep. The Sunak government has announced it is putting Britain on a ‘war’ footing.…

Crap politics – from the rivers to the sea

The headlines about illegal sewage disposals have been stark enough. They make the nation’s map look like a bad case of chicken pox. Now the owners of Thames Water have defaulted on the debts they owe. The situation spirals from bad to worse. Water companies have dumped 4 million hours worth of sewage into Britain’s…

Say it with flour – could Gaza be the turning point?

The human slaughter in Gaza is an abomination. The only silver-lining is that this may be the global wake-up call we have needed for decades; challenging dishonesties we’ve turned a blind eye to and forcing a complete re-think of international peace-building priorities. Israel’s saturation bombing of Gaza, and their casual use of Palestinians for target…

From farce to (corporate) feudalism

The dangers of Parliament’s retreat from reality Let me be absolutely clear. I do not support violence against the person under any circumstances. This doesn’t just apply to MPs, but to all public service workers operating in stressful situations. But the interweaving of arbitrary violence and the right to public protest raises bigger issues about…

Food crises and the spectre of collapse

“Tractors to the left of us, Tractors to the right. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.” This isn’t how Tennyson’s ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ poem opens up, but residents of across Europe’s capital cities could be forgiven for thinking it should have done. In Brussels, people had to run the gauntlet…

Implosion – can politics be rescued from the Alt-Right?

It is easy to become disillusioned. Wherever you look, identity politics is pushing equality politics to the sidelines. The individual has become more important than the collective. And even the collective is eroded by factionalism. Religious extremism then pulls apart the remaining weave of integration, inclusion and social solidarity. In India, you can see it…

‘Get Back’ – alternatives to a better yesterday

It will be 55 years this month since the Beatles’ iconic, rooftop performance on Saville Row. This was the end of an era, end of a dream. With any luck, this year will see the end of a nightmare. The Conservatives have taken British politics to an all time low. The public are losing faith,…

In the Land of the Bland …

COP28 has been a retreat from nativity into pantomime. For the real world, it drifted closer to tragedy. As the deadline approached, climate activists held their breath but fossil lobbyists held the pursestrings. A host of good people worked their socks off in Dubai, all urging world leaders to grasp the existential emergency we face.…

Who will save Israel from itself?

The world breathed a sigh of relief at the ‘pause’ in the Gaza bombings. Most shared something of the relief expressed by families of the released hostages and of the aid getting into Gaza. Many connected with the anxiety of those still waiting for more. And many more just wonder what will follow. Inside Gaza,…

From the river to the sea – how global politics has abandoned the Middle East

I can barely decide whether to write or weep. The relentless bombing of Gaza is a tragedy of epic proportions. Nothing excuses the atrocities committed by Hamas. But as things stand, a Palestinian child is being killed every 10 minutes from the bombings in Gaza. Some 3,500 children in Gaza have died already; more in…

The Sound of Silence

A politics beyond breakdown It’s hard to focus on anything other than Gaza at the moment. Its incessant bombing won’t have had anyone celebrating Paul Simon’s 82nd birthday by singing “Hello darkness, my old friend…”. By margins that are difficult to comprehend, we are well beyond Israel’s credible limits of ‘legitimate self defence’. The collective…

The Unravelling

When systems break down, contradictions pour out everywhere. Just as the flood waters washed whole districts of Derna (Libya) into the sea, former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, claimed it was unreasonable to give the Bank climate duties. Mervyn lives on the wrong planet. Over 20,000 people remain unaccounted for in Derna.…

Broken Britain

What happens when everything falls apart? The roof is falling in on the British economy. For over 150 schools in England this is a literal as well as a figurative truth. On the eve of the autumn term, schools were notified they couldn’t re-open because defective concrete in their roofs put them at risk of…