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Labour Party

Book Reviews: 'The Silk Roads', 'Corbyn. The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics', & 'Hayek vs Keynes'

The Road Much Taken

'The Silk Roads: a New History of the World'. By Peter Frankopan. (Bloomsbury £10.99)

The name of the Silk Road dates only from the late nineteenth century, but a connection between the Mediterranean and parts of south and east Asia began over two millennia ago. In this substantial volume, Peter Frankopan traces the history of this vast region and its influence on the wider world, emphasising its role in global movements of people, goods, ideas and armies. We cannot summarise the book here, just pick out some of its main themes.

Greasy Pole: Farewell To Tristram

Greasy Pole

There are a number of personal qualities which need to be developed by anyone with ambitions to rise to the top through the pressured universe of politics. For one there is the motivation to refashion the meaning of certain words so that, for example, poverty can be described as security, ruthless calculation as an enduring concern for human fallibility, a ready resort to falsehood as an unshakeable devotion to truth. Also an energising requirement of a talent to face full up to the observant cameras. A recent example of this is Tristram Julian Hunt who, apart from being encouraged to prefix his names with the word Honourable as the son of Baron Hunt of Chesterton and who performed so satisfactorily at Cambridge to earn the title of a FRHistS, won his way into Parliament as the MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central. Until, that is, he was offered the job of Director of the world-respected Victoria and Albert Museum.

Where Reformism Fails

The dispute between Reformists and Socialists is not a very easy one to disentangle. This is partly due to the variety of arguments put forward by reformists, but above all to the failure of reformists to grasp the Socialist explanation of the problem that has to be solved.

The problem is not that of a social system that is satisfactory on the whole and only needs improvements here and there. If it were the reformist would be on the right road —but then there would be nothing in the Socialist case for the abolition of Capitalism.

Activities in West Ham: Labour Party Shirks Debates

It is becoming increasingly evident that the districts of both West Ham and its eastern neighbour, East Ham, are not going to be such happy hunting grounds for the activities of the vote-catching political confidence tricksters as they have hitherto been. Slowly, but surely, the workers here are learning the real position. This encouraging state of affairs is mainly due to the efforts of the West Ham Branch. Our propaganda meetings have been held regularly throughout the season; outside Forest Gate Station, and at the corner of Kempton Road, East Ham, on Wednesday and Sunday evenings respectively.

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