In the midst of Britain’s biggest wave of industrial action in years, the gang turn their attention to the long and bloodied history of strikes. Who do we find on the picket line? Nadia, Keir and Jeremy explore a lineage that stretches back hundreds of years, from matchgirls to miners, from 1840s century Chartists to 2020s university lecturers, from smoggy cities
Content note: suicide, self-harm. In response to Scotland passing a law (subsequently blocked by Westminster) that allowed 16-year-olds to change their legal gender, the mainstream media has began furiously writing articles attacking the law. The Daily Telegraph published a piece claiming that the law would allow teenagers to “have irreversible surgeries”,
A raid by Israeli forces in the Palestinian city of Jenin on 26 January has sparked fear in the occupied West Bank and beyond. Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians, including two children, bringing back traumatic memories of battles, invasions and massacres in the city. Jenin holds significance for Palestinians as a symbol of resistance against occupation.
In 1946 when he proposed the creation of a national health service to parliament, Labour health minister Nye Bevan set out one fundamental principle: “Medical treatment,” he said, “should be made available to rich and poor alike in accordance with medical need and no other criteria. The essence of a satisfactory health service is that the rich and poor are treated
When Alexander Darwall brought a legal case to get wild camping banned on Dartmoor, complaining about mess apparently made by campers on his land, he perhaps didn’t anticipate campaigners talking about re-enacting the Kinder Scout trespass in order to get the decision overturned. Darwall bought the 1,619-hectare (4,000-acre) Blachford estate on southern
Picture this: a UK capital city in the grip of a private rental crisis. Contributing factors include: gentrification, a developer influx, a growing student population and the overhang of the Covid-19 pandemic. No, not London, but Belfast.  In the past few years, the price of private rent in Northern Ireland’s capital has skyrocketed. ONS figures reveal a
Pension reform is a long-time dream of the French right who dislike the amount France pays out in pensions and who see the system as unsustainable in the face of an ageing population. In 1993, the country’s Gaullist (France’s rightwing tradition established by Charles de Gaulle) prime minister Édouard Balladur increased the number of years of social security
Last week, the Brazilian health ministry declared a state of emergency in Yanomami territory on the Amazon border with Venezuela following the discovery of thousands of cases of indigence and famine amongst the indigenous community.  A report compiled after a visit to the region produced some harrowing statistics – not least that an estimated 570
It wasn’t the first time a man had harassed me, nor was it the worst, but – for some reason – it’s the one which has stuck with me. It was four years ago, on a beautifully hot July day. I was on my way to my Mum’s house, with nothing on my mind other than whether I might find an ice cream van on the way. On the main road that runs alongside the park, a man yelled something obscene
If the British media had gotten their way, Prince Harry’s memoir Spare, released a fortnight ago, would have floundered. “Harry’s hatchet job memoir falls flat!” read the Daily Express, commenting on the lack of queues outside bookshops on publication day. “Prince Harry’s bombshell book Spare is heading for the bargain bin – before it has even been
When Arnold Schwarzenegger promised he’d “be back” in 1984’s The Terminator, the idea of killer robots was consigned to science fiction. Almost 40 years on and they are back in the form of autonomous weapon systems (AWS). But this time they’re deployed in war zones rather than on silver screens – and research at British universities is helping to develop
First thing’s first: what’s the public order bill? The bill is the Tories’ latest attempt to expand police powers to deal with escalating protest action, particularly from environmental and anti-racist movements, by effectively treating it as domestic terrorism. In fact, experts have suggested the bill is “more extreme than many counter-terror powers”.
There are few gifts greater than an enemy that believes its own lies. The UK has some of the most restrictive anti-union laws in Europe. Our trade union movement has been subjected to four consecutive decades of defeat, and our wages and living standards have eroded as a result. In order to go on strike, teachers, nurses, civil servants, postal workers, doctors,
The work that keeps us clean, fed, clothed and ready to go to work each day is known as social reproduction. Without this unwaged labour, capitalism would collapse. Yet the daily drudgery of cooking, cleaning and raising children is underpinned by our most sincere expressions of love and care. Writer and organiser Alva Gotby refers to this chimerical condition
Well, it happened. Deep into the afternoon of so-called ‘Blue Monday’ – supposedly the most depressing day of the year – UK Scottish secretary Alister Jack announced he would be invoking a little-known piece of legislation: Section 35 of the 1998 Scotland Act. This legislation gives the UK government the right to veto laws passed in the Scottish
Ahead of its publication in 2009, writer and academic Mark Fisher confided in his partner Zoe that he would be satisfied if his forthcoming book sold 500 copies. 14 years later, and with a second edition published last November, Capitalist Realism has passed 100,000 sales in English alone. Slavoj Žižek, perhaps the world’s most famous philosopher, has described
Last week, RMT organiser Gaz Jackson went on the news to explain why his union is demanding better pay and conditions for railway workers. Unfortunately, he had the nerve to be wearing his North Face winter coat at the time. One Twitter user was aggrieved. “Standing there in a £390 coat isn’t helping a cause about striking for pay rises,” said @Kent_Grandad. Unbothered,
After a decade of Tory under-investment, ambulance workers are the latest group to strike to defend the NHS. We speak to one of them.#tyskysour. Plus: Two Tory MPs go on mad rants; and Mick Lynch tells a Tory MP the reality of Britain’s railways. With Michael Walker and Dalia Gebrial.
I didn’t want to write this piece. The royals already take up so much oxygen, it’s merely adding fuel to the fire. But Prince Harry’s long-awaited memoir Spare (ghostwritten, of course) has finally found its way onto British bookshelves. Accompanying the release has been a PR offensive which, rather than bolster support for the errant royal and his wife, Meghan
In recent months, the state of the NHS has become such a national crisis that even Tory-supporting newspapers have turned on the government. The Daily Mail has called on ministers to end the “deadly NHS crisis”, the Telegraph claimed the health service was “imploding” and the Sun described hospitals as a “warzone”. The NHS has been struggling for a decade, but
Rishi Sunak’s proposed new anti-strike laws have provoked outrage from the labour movement. Tonight we speak to Riccardo La Torre from the FBU. Plus: Prince Harry’s has drawn criticism after saying he killed 25 people in Afghanistan; and Keir Starmer makes a bizarre election pledge. With Michael Walker and Aaron Bastani.
Ministers have announced new legislation that will enforce “minimum service levels” in key public services, including the NHS, in a major assault on the right to strike. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the bill would be introduced in “in the coming weeks” and will ensure “a basic level of service in some of our most crucial sectors
Inspired by the success of 2020-21, when strikers won £10.8m, students at the University of Manchester are again threatening to withhold rent. On Monday, the student group UoM Rent Strike announced another strike in response to the cost of living crisis. The strikers intend to withhold their second of three rent payments, which is due on 19 January. Their
It was a fun start to the year for Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who kicked off 2023 with a half-hour interview for CBS News. By the following morning, newspapers from London to New Delhi were repeating Georgieva’s prediction that one-third of the global economy, including half of the European Union,
UK prisons are now so overcrowded that 400 prisoners are to be put in police station cells, it was reported recently. Leeds prison, for example, currently holds 1,095 people; it is supposed to hold 641. The overcrowding speaks to the fact that over the past few decades, the number of people locked up by the British state has risen dramatically – even as crime
2022 saw three prime ministers, three chancellors and a heck of a lot of hopeful, hilarious, illuminating and downright bizarre moments. As 2022 gasps its last breaths, here’s an inexhaustive list of some memorable things that happened in the past year, collated by the Novara team. Squatters Vs. Oligarch.  Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine
If I had two pieces of advice for my younger self, besides anything too serious, it would be that life is too short for bad books, and that reading fiction is not a wasteful extravagance. In fact, far from a vehicle for escapism, it is a device to prize open the greatest questions in philosophy, psychology and history.  I used to read a lot of fiction as a teenager and
As we approach the holiest festival of family arguments (three years ago, one-fifth of us predicted a Christmas bust-up – think how many more things there are to argue about now!), many Novara Media readers will be asking themselves: how do I win? Below are two stories of people who’ve taken near-opposing approaches to this task of persuading reactionary
Ghosts have got their own festival: Halloween. So why do they spook us at Christmas too? Do they represent forces of goodness and charity, or some nameless demonic evil? And what gifts have they brought? Jeremy Gilbert shields his eyes from the ghostly apparitions of Jacques Derrida, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and M.R. James as he explores the connections
It’s 2018 and Cecile is on her way to a flat viewing in Greenwich. She’s in her mid-twenties and some might say, a landlord’s dream tenant. Cecile completed her law degree a few years ago and has taken up a full-time job in insurance – a stable, well-paid career. She has no kids, no pets, doesn’t smoke. She’s making adult money for the first time. Having lived
Believe me, I would love to stop writing about Twitter. Hopefully over the Christmas period, a large wormhole will open up in San Francisco, hoovering up the bird app HQ. Until then, all I can do is reflect on a year where the social media platform went from providing a home for farcical discourse to being the subject of it. This was thanks to Elon Musk, whose $44bn
Cutting-edge research has recently revealed that festive movie The Muppet Christmas Carol is actually based on a book. Many are now speculating that there may even be historical context at play. But what could it be? To unwrap the politics of A Christmas Carol, Eleanor Penny is joined by James Butler, co-founder of Novara Media and a contributing editor at the
Two weeks ago, New York mayor Eric Adams issued a directive to city agencies to involuntarily hospitalise homeless people deemed mentally unwell. Adams, who is leading a longer-term push to close homeless encampments, argued the move was part of the city’s “moral obligation” to help vulnerable people. Many non-disabled people in the US responded to the news
With the media furore around the world cup being held in Qatar, one might think that the mission to launder their reputation and establish themselves as a player on the world stage has failed. One might also think that the arguments about LGBT rights, migrant labour and FIFA corruption haven’t actually bothered the Qatari elites all that much. In fact
Adam Smith claimed that “the propensity to truck, barter and exchange… is common to all men”, but anthropologists know that this isn’t the case. In fact, humans tend towards the opposite. So why do we feel compelled to give away our wealth? Nadia, Jem and Keir unwrap the cultural and economic pressures on doing pressies in a loosely
Last week, an energy company broke into Cecilia Klincsek’s home while she was out running errands. With the help of a locksmith, an engineer sent by the provider installed a pre-payment meter without her consent and failed to activate it, leaving Klincsek, her husband, her five-year-old daughter and her elderly mother without heating or hot water.  As temperatures
As the Qatar World Cup draws to a close, Tom Williams and Keir Milburn wonder about the future of international football and ask the most important question of all: what is to be done? On the final episode of Pro Revolution Soccer, they’re joined by David Wearing, political journalist and lecturer in international relations at the University of Sussex,
Labour would support using the army to break NHS strikes, according to a media briefing from the office of Wes Streeting MP, shadow secretary of state for health and social care, seen by Novara Media. The briefing was sent to all Labour MPs on 15 December, the same day that up to 100,000 nurses with the Royal College of Nursing staged the first national strike in
It’s three weeks until the first Christmas free of Covid-19 restrictions for two years. Across the UK, people are preparing for journeys back to their loved ones. Usually, this group would include thousands who grew up in Northern Ireland who now live and work in Britain – especially London – where it’s considered easier to find work and
Football elicits some of the most intense emotions we’re capable of feeling, from the hug-a-stranger joy of winning trophies to the phone-in misery of relegation. At the end of the day, it’s only a game – but maybe games are more serious than we think? To discuss the emotional and social meaning of football, Keir and Tom are joined by writer, filmmaker
Complaints about younger generations are nothing new in social commentary. “Youth were never more sawcie,” opined Thomas Barnes in 1624. “The ancient are scorned, the honourable are condemned, the magistrate is not dreaded.” Indeed, the idea of cultural degeneration – with children at the vanguard – goes back as far back as Socrates and Horace.
What if all of Britain is stolen goods? In the 1970s and 80s, a series of Acts of Parliament defined who did and who didn’t count as a citizen. ‘The Law of Patriality’ might sound like an obscure detail in a dusty tome, but, argues legal scholar Nadine El-Enany, it’s fundamental to modern Britain. These laws stopped the racialised masses
It was dark by the time Lear* made his way alone to Shanghai’s Wulumuqi Road, on 26 November. The 23 year-old graduate student was attending a spontaneous vigil, called to mourn 10 victims of an apartment block fire that broke out in Urumqi, the capital of the autonomous Xinjiang region, in northwest China.  The tragedy had first sparked protests in Urumqi against
On Saturday 3 December, hundreds of renters across London mobilised to demand a city-wide rent freeze to tackle the cost of living crisis. Members from all six branches of the London Renters Union (LRU) – Brent, Lewisham, Hackney, Haringey, Newham and Tower Hamlets – took part in the launch of the union’s Rent Freeze Now campaign, which demands
A group of squatters who set up a homeless shelter have been angered by a “traumatic” eviction by an offshore property investment company that wanted to protect its wine collection, antique furniture and paintings. Legal documents shared with Novara Media show that Picasso Investments Corporation claimed repossession of Westminster Bridge House in Lambeth,