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Pathfinders

Pathfinders: Tempus Non Fugit

Socialists who are not among today’s socially-connected youth and who do not read The Sun newspaper will probably never have heard of Jack Maynard, the Brighton YouTube vlogger (like blogger, but with video, geddit?) and will certainly not care that he got himself thrown off I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here late last year after just three days on the show. But the reason for his summary expulsion from this must-be-seen-on if not must-see show is revealing.

Pathfinders: The Fall and Rise of the Electric Car

Connoisseurs of outlandish conspiracy theories will fondly remember one set of nerdy non-petrol-heads who, a few years ago, were desperate to tell us at great length why and how the electric car industry had been effectively 'killed' by the existing fossil car producers. Not that the carmakers were entirely innocent of any ill-will, but the failure of this early horizon tech at that time didn't require any complicated or conspiratorial explanation. There was simply a lack of market demand and social infrastructure including charging stations. Fast forward a few years and these same nerds must now be mourning the death of their pet conspiracy, killed off by a changed political, environmental and commercial landscape. Now that France has announced a plan to phase out all diesel and petrol cars by 2040, and the UK has followed suit with a similar scheme, the electric car industry is well and truly plugged in and heating up once again.

Pathfinders: Subscription-based Capitalism

Everyone knows that cutting costs means boosting or at least safeguarding profits, and some elements in the capitalist class are now figuring out that they can cut their administration costs by doing away with individual purchase transactions and moving towards a subscription-based business model.

We’re familiar with subscriptions with things like unions, clubs, political parties, rail travel, telephone lines and mobiles and newspapers. You could add the BBC TV licence fee, the NHS and any kind of insurance policy too. One can think of a subscription as another form of rent for something you use but don’t own. The advantage to you is simplicity. The advantage to the provider is low admin costs, locked-in customers or ‘members’, and reliable, predictable income, an especially bankable asset for any business.

Pathfinders: The Activism Gap

Given that women are not especially rare in the general UK population, why are there not more of them in the Socialist Party? Is this a specific failing on our part, or more of a general trend? If it’s a trend, what other trends are there, and what changes are taking place?

There are, to be sure, various ‘activism gaps’. Young people are in general less politically engaged than older people, black and minority ethnic (BME) groups less than whites, and indeed the party spectrum itself divides somewhat along income and education lines, from high-end active association with the Tories, Lib Dems and Greens to low-end activity (or former activity) in Ukip, with Labour pertly straddling the higher and middle strata.

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