by The Editors
‘An atmosphere of deep unease is building’ in what ‘is likely to remain a bleak landscape’. The words are not those of Salvage – though we concur – but of a report into the British manufacturing sector from Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. The sector is in contraction for the first time since 2013, falling from a low base to 49.2. This occurs as UK construction sees its weakest expansion since 2013, and the Office for National Statistics reports a fall in UK GDP growth to 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, from 0.6 per cent in the previous quarter. ‘[T]he outlook’, according to HSBC, ‘is getting worse, not better’.
The government blames the slump and this baleful vista on Brexit fears, on which even mainstream economists have politely called bullshit: ‘It is hard,’ demurs Pantheon Macroeconomics, ‘... to attribute the decline in consumer goods demand solely to Brexit risk.’ In addition to problems of sterling appreciation and weak foreign demand, is a domestic problem: ‘We think that weaker demand for consumer goods reflects a fundamental slowdown in households’ real income growth. Inflation is slowly picking up, employment growth has faded markedly, and welfare spending cuts intensified in April.’More
by The Editors
Long before this referendum was called, Salvage made our position on the European Union crystal clear. In the perspectives of Salvage #2: Awaiting the Furies, we wrote ‘If the Greek crisis has reaffirmed the imperial character of power within the EU, the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ has shown its external face.’ Faced with the ‘migrant crisis’, we noted, our rulers debated ‘whether to have a Europe of razor-wire, or a Europe surrounded by razor-wire.’ It would appear they chose not to choose – while fences have been erected along the borders of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria, Europe has also outsourced its border policing to Turkey, which is set to become an open detention centre for migrants and refugees refused by Europe.
by The Editors
1) The Elephants
The dark carnival of the US election season is upon us. In considering it, we must start by admitting sheer surprise.More
by the Editors
Do you want to know if we condemn the slaughter? We do. Do you want to know if we regard it as horrific, inhuman, unjustifiable? We do. Pick your noun – butchery, massacre, murder – and your adjective – horrendous, heinous, ghastly, barbarous – and we’ll sincerely sign off on it. We lost comrades. We don’t take lessons in grief.
Where did that get you, though? Any closer to understanding what happened, and where it came from? Any nearer to a world without such monstrosities? Haven’t you heard the shop-worn 1930s references before, and it doesn’t get any better, just metastasises into more and worse? Haven’t you seen the inherent resolve, the Iraqi Freedom, the Prevent come and go without freeing anyone, without preventing anything, resolving nothing? The Islamophobic back-lash that is by now indistinguishable from the front-lash, the calls for unity: do you think that’s going anywhere good? Now, more than ever, we need division.
We need the right kind of division. Tragedies, as Sam Kriss writes, are always political in their origin and consequences – if you want fewer of them you have to politicise them in the right way. It is political to demand that politics be put on hold. It is political to insist that now is not the time for thought – that if you do not emote, the terrorists have won. And this is a politics we reject. Here are our theses:More
by The Editors
Anyone, of any politics, who does not start by acknowledging the profundity of this shock is a bullshitter. For the first time since George Lansbury, the Labour Party has a leader who is both a socialist and an experienced activist. He did not win by the skin of his teeth, nor by fluke: his crushing 59.5% first-round win – coupled with a miserable 4.5% for the hard Blairite Liz Kendall – is a demolition job on the entrenched Labour elite. Nor is his win merely due to support in the unions, or from the influx of registered supporters – though he won 57.6% and 83.8% of these votes respectively – he also gained 49.6% of votes from full members; a full 26.9% ahead of his nearest rival. In a few short months, Corbyn has radically shifted the balance of power that has obtained in the Labour Party since the end of the Miners’ Strike.More