Robin Ramsay has been producing the twice-yearly Lobster for a very long time, and he is very very good at it. Lobster has been beavering away at the meeting place of the Secret State, the “Special Relationship” and “para-politics generally diligently and intelligently.
The format is always the same- an A4 journal, roughly 50 pages. Seven or eight meaty lead articles on a variety of themes, with footnotes to keep you searching. There’s various snippets of information that you’ve either never spotted, or saw and simply didn’t realise the context. This is something Lobster is good at- re-arranging the pieces we get in the mainstream media into a more plausible/coherent narrative. [That said, Lobster writers seem scrupulous in separating what they can prove from what they merely suppose. They’re alive to the siren-call of making (up) the facts fit the theory.]
There’s a series of judicious book reviews too, again mostly on themes around economics, politics, the secret state. Ramsay and his fellow reviewers will shower praise, but also get the boot stuck in where necessary.
This latest Lobster is of the same exemplary standard.
Scott Newton opens accounts with “Harold Wilson, the Bank of England and the Cecil King ‘coup’ of May 1968.
Simon Matthews has an excellent piece on Ken Livingstone, full of interesting titbits. I for one had never grasped the obvious point that-
“… the Labour Party is overwhelmingly oritenated around an axis of Scotland + Wales + the North and has a low tolerance level for London (something that Herbert Morrison- a completely centre-right figure- found out in his attemptst ot become Labour Party leader between 1935 and 1955)….
“The low regard that the Labour Party has for London has also extended to doing little about its own structures and apparatus in the area when it is threatened by the ultra-left… perhaps it expects nothing better from the Metropolis. Note that it only took actoin against Militant when Militant threatened Liverpool and had two MPs elected- neither for London seats. Note also the number of prominent individuals who have tiptoed away from any involvement in London politics for calmer pastures elsewhere: Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Charles Clarke, both Milibands, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper. The disinterest [sic] the Labour Party shows in its own structures and organsiation in the capital city of the country it seeks to govern is striking.”
Colin Challen MP (head of the All-Party Group on Climate Change) has a long thorough piece on the Bush family dynasty.
The highlight for environmentally-focussed activists in this issue will be Philip Conford’s “The politics of the organic movement.” It really is- like Lobster- first-rate.
“The position of this “younger” generation is more clearly paradoxical in another respect though. Those who went off to escape the system and live self-sufficiently found that they could not survive unless they were able to sell what they grew. It is not too cyncial to suggest that one major reason for the assault launched on the old guard at the Soil Association was a desire to increase the market for organic produce; and so the radicals, who had imagined they were dropping out of the system, soon found themselves back in it again and, in effect, trying to change it from the inside. Some voices were doubtful about, or downright opposed to, cosying up to supermarkets and government bureaucracy, but they were ignored by those who felt that ‘the market’ could, through the power of the consumer, ensure that increased demand for organic goods led to increased acreage being cultivated organically rather than industrially. At one time the call was for ’20 per cent by 2000′, but this proved impossibly optimistic.”
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