Of political parties claiming socialism to be their aim, the Labour Party has always been one of the most dogmatic – not about socialism, but about the parliamentary system
One thing I’ve learnt... is how shallow, facile, ill-informed many of the supposedly well-informed major commentators are in our media. They shape a debate that is baseless and narrow
Ralph Miliband’s thesis that the Labour mainstream tended to reject any kind of political action which fell, or which appeared to them to fall, outside the framework and conventions of the parliamentary system, remains apposite.
However, the inverse of this is arguably also true – that the left, partly in despair at the actions of the mainstream, has placed an emphasis on extra-parliamentary means. While this emphasis is both understandable and wholly necessary, in vacating the parliamentary space to the same mainstream it opposes, the left has helped to perpetuate the state of affairs Miliband correctly identified in the early 1960s.
Meanwhile, coverage of Westminster – the opaque and often impenetrable sphere of Parliament, Government, the Civil Service and the lobbying industry – is dominated by a closed clique of predominantly conservative journalists. At its least toxic their reporting is narrow and ill-informed – at its worst it is willingly misleading and obfuscatory. We seek to provide a corrective to this.
New Socialist operates under no illusions as to the limitations of parliamentary action. However, we recognise the centrality of Parliament to mainstream political discourse and believe firmly that the left must engage practically (e.g. by supporting the election of more left MPs) and critically (through clear-eyed, informed reporting and analysis).
To this end, we invite contributions that will:
- Highlight and celebrate the contribution of left parliamentarians, both within Parliament and outside of it
- Provide rapid rebuttals to inaccurate and misleading reporting by the Lobby
- Help to build a radical programme for parliamentary, electoral and governmental reform
- Expose and explain Westminster’s more obscure or arcane aspects such as the legislative process, the influence of the lobbying industry and the machinery of government
Photo: Miguel Mendez
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