Poli 349 fall 2016 course outline: The City and social and political theory (under construction)

Poli 349 AA (4645):Political and social theory and the city Course outline fall 2016
.Professor Harold Chorney
Tuesday 2:45-5:30
H433 SGW
Sept.6-Dec.5, 2016

This course focuses on the rise of the metropolis and its links to economic and technical change that underlay the beginnings of nineteenth and twentieth century industrial capitalism. The city has always played a central role in both conservative and radical social theory.The search for community and the overcoming of alienation and loneliness is at the heart of considerable social theory. The rise of mass society and its displacement of class society is also a central theme in much post modern literature and has a useful role to play in explaining the cultural and communicative nature of society in an increasingly globalized high tech world with an ever enlarging virtual reality.

We explore these themes by carefully examining the work of a number of writers from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries.

The grade will be based upon a term essay due in class in the first week of March 50 % and a final test at the end of term.There is also an option to submit and present an artistic work which focuses on some aspect of the urban for a value of 20 % .In this case the essay will be worth 30 % and the final 50 %.

Texts: Harold Chorney, City of Dreams: Social Theory and the Urban Experience, Nelson Canada 1990. Lawrence Cahoone, editor From Modernism to Post Modernism.Blackwell publishing 2003.Selected chapters.(Other selected Readings tba)

Lecture topics:

1. Introduction and overview: the rise of cities and the search for community. Post modernism versus modernism.From Descartes to Derrida.

2. Alienation, class consciousness and urbanization: the work of Marx and Engels and Marx’s Hegelian roots.

3. Gemeinschaft versus Gesellschaft :the work of Ferdinand Toennies

4.Georg Simmel: the Metropolis and Mental Life.

5.Urbanization and anomie and the conscience collective: the work of Emile Durkheim .

6.Max Weber: Modernism and Disenchantment. The economy of cities.

7.The Chicago School , mass society and American mainstream urban sociology. The early roots of post modernism.

8. Georg Lukacs and the theory of reification.

9. Walter Benjamin and the Theory of Technical Reproduction.Benjamin and Baudelaire.

10. The Frankfurt School and the dialectic of enlightenment.Horkheimer and Adorno.

11. The phenomenology of the Urban:From social theory to public policy. Jacques Derrida, Merleau Ponty,Jean Paul Sartre, Hal Foster, Richard Rorty, Michel Foucault, Max Weber, Jurgen Habermas and Jean Baudrillard.

12. Toward a critical theory of urban policy and politics in the global metropolis.

Essay assignment:Write a 10-12 page essay on one of the following topics.Be sure that your essay is free of grammatical errors and has a bibliography and is properly footnoted . Use a manual of style like the University of Chicago or Harvard Manual in guiding your notes or footnotes and bibliography.

Essay topics: (Still under revision)

1.Explore modernism and post modernism as philosophical concepts and cultural movements. How are they usable in building a theory of social change in cities. Why is Marx a modernist and Benjamin more of a post modernist ?

2. Explore the work of Walter Benjamin in depth. How is it that he transcends political analysis and enters the realm of art and literature.

3. Select two writers in City of Dreams other than Benjamin and Marx and explore and compare their work.

4. Explain and analyze global metropolises . How does the phenomenology approach aid us in our understanding of a global metropolis ?

5. Use some of the theoretical perspectives developed in City of Dreams to analyze Montreal city politics in recent years.

6. Do an in depth analysis of the work of Jacques Derrida. Explain how it is the outgrowth of his rejection of Sartre’s conception of modernity.

7. How has modern technology facilitated the growth of community? Can the kind of community which this social media driven community has created be considered comparable to the community which writers like Toennies , Durkheim and Marx were searching for.

8. Explore the economic, philosophical and sociological aspects of Marx and Engels’ analysis of cities and capitalism. What if anything in their analysis is still relevant in the the 21st century.

Class notes:

A:Useful in conjunction with the lectures on Marx and the metropolis

1. The falling rate of profit. Major financial crises like the one we have just experienced and the tensions surrounding globalization raise fascinating questions about the structural problems of modern capitalism. In the nineteenth century and for much of the twentieth century many economists debated this question. Keynes was convinced that there was little value in returning to any debate that was wedded to the anachronistic labour theory of value. Instead, he approached the issue of crisis from the point of view of less than full employment aggregate demand and the failure of the classical labour market clearing mechanism to operate consistently to deliver full employment. The labour theory of value that originated in the work of David Ricardo and was built upon by Marx to develop his theory of crisis that was rooted in the tendency of the rate of profit to fall over time because of a tendency to increase the organic composition of capital, that is the ratio of embodied technology, physical plant and raw material that was a key ingredient in the production process. These increases were motivated by the entrepreneurial and corporate desire to increase labour productivity.If the productivity gains are large enough they can reverse the tendency for the profit rate to fall. This was the argument of Bortkiewicz .In a funny sort of way it is also the argument of those who argue that high end technological innovation will rescue the first world from the global outsourcing that is going on whereby production is being shifted from North America and West Europe to countries like China, India and Asia generally. The unresolved problem still remains that high end technology does not appear so far to generate enough jobs quickly enough to replace all those that are being lost due to outsourcing. In addition there is the very real problem of ensuring enough global effective aggregate demand to purchase all of the high end output generated by these high tech centres of activity. Keynes dismissed the labour theory of value as out of date controversializing, but members of his circle like Michal Kalecki were less certain. Even Keynes chose to use an hour’s employment of ordinary labour and the remuneration it received as his numeraire in the General Theory.(see ch.4 GT) Bortkiewicz and Bohm Bawerk in their work raised effective critiques of Marx’s doctrine, according to Sweezy, although Sweezy remained much more convinced that Bortkiewicz was closer to the truth than was Bohm Bawerk.( Bohm Bawerk, Karl Marx and the Close of his System, P.Sweezy editor, London , 1948; L.Bortkiewicz, “Value and price in the Marxian system” translated from “Archiv fur Socialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, ertrechnung und Preisrechnung in Marxschen System” Bd.xxlllHeft 1, 1906, International economic papers no.2.) Bortkiewicz argues that Marx was guilty of methodological inconsistencies and neglected the mathematical relation between the productivity of labour, dependent upon the organic composition of capital and the rate of surplus value.The rise in productivity may be such as to totally reverse any tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Roman Rosdolsky attempts not completely successfully to refute both Sweezy and Bortkiewicz and Keynes’s colleague, Cambridge economist Joan Robinson in their critique of the falling rate of profit in his work The Making of Marx’s Capital, (London, Pluto Press, 1980, pp.398-411). Meghnad Desai in Marxian Economic Theory, ( London, Gray Mills publishing , 1974) has pointed out that Michio Morishima (whose class I regularly attended at the L.S.E.) believed that it would be better to abandon the labour theory of value because of the very difficult technical complications requiring complex mathematics to resolve in order to transform values into prices.(See also Desai’s work Marx’s Revenge:The resurgence of Capitalism and the Death of Statist Socialism, London:Verso books 2004) Morishima wrote ” We conclude by suggesting to Marxian economists that they ought radically to change their attitude towards the labour theory of value. If it has to determine the amounts of labour which the techniques of production actually adopted in a capitalist economy require, directly and indirectly , in order to produce commodities, it is not a satisfactory theory at all.” M.Morishima, Marx’s economics, Cambridge University press, 1973 p.193. Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy attempted to do precisely that in their classic Monopoly Capital wherein they substituted the tendency for the surplus to rise and the problem of surplus absorption for the falling rate of profit.Piero Sraffa’s classic work The Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities:Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory, 1960, Cambridge University press, demonstrates a workable mathematical method for assessing dated labour in terms of its contribution to the value and price of a commodity which makes a very key contribution to this debate. Sraffa demonstrates convincingly how prices and values vary with variations in the rate of profit. Sraffa was a friend and colleague of Keynes who Keynes had helped rescue from fascist Italy before the Second World War by helping him secure a position at Cambridge. Sweezy in his classic Theory of Capitalist Development reduces the falling rate of profit to the following striking formulation; p=s'(1-q) where p is the rate of profit and q the organic composition of capital i.e. c/c+v (Marx in Capital vol 2 defines it as c/v rather than as Sweezy defines it c/c+v )p.625 chapter 23, vol.2 Dutton, Everyman’s library edition, London&N.Y. translated by Eden and Cedar Paul, introduction by G.D.H. Cole. &vol.3 p.214 ch xlll, progress edition, 1966.) He arrives at this as follows. p= s/c+v = sv/v(c+v) = sc+sv -sc/v(c+v) = s(c+v)/v(c+v) – sc/v(c+v) = s/v – s/v times c/c+v =s/v(1-c/c+v) where c/c+v is the organic composition of capital, s/v =s’ the rate of surplus value and q is the organic composition of capital so p (the rate of profit) =s'(1-q) so that the greater is q the lower is the rate of profit.

(p.68)) We won’t be pursuing this controversy further in the course but those who wish to read further about it can consult the works cited above and also look at Ronald Meek, Studies in the Labour theory of Value, Jesse Schwartz, The Subtle Anatomy of Capitalism and M.Desai, Marx’s Revenge as well as Paul Mattick, Marx and Keynes. Desai who is a former teacher of mine who may now want to revise his assessment about the success of globalization in the light of recent events has an interesting chapter on Marx, Hayek and Keynes.You might also want to look at my conference paper which I presented to the association for heterodox economics in London in 2001 which is part of The Deficit Papers, The Theory of the Business cycle in Keynes, Hayek and Schumpter:What do we know in the Age of globalization ? David Harvey, Limits to Capital, Verso 2006 is also very accessible and useful in integrating spatial and urban issues from a radical geography perspective.

Perspectivism:One of the students brought up this approach in a previous year which is identified with Nietzsche’s view of the relativity of belief according to the perspective of the individual , as opposed to the objective circumstances of reality. You are right , of course, to suggest a close affinity between the views of the post moderns, relativism and those of Nietzsche. However, in City of Dreams I drew not upon Nietzsche but rather upon the phenomenology of Husserl, Merleau Ponty, Schutz, Mead and Berger and Luckmann among others, as well as my own observations about the metropolis and the work of Benjamin.Clearly the approaches are related.

Jurgen Habermas: for those interested in exploring the work of Jurgen Habermas and the culture of communications in more detail you can start by checking out the references in footnote 34 on pp.52-53. see also Harold Innis’s Bias of Communications. See also, Jurgen Habermas’s prolific writing for example: Knowledge and Human Interests; Toward a Rational Society;Legitimation Crisis(available on the internet)The Theory of Communicative Action; also Thomas McCarthy, The Critical Theory of Jurgen Habermas.

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Poli 349 A (8256):Political and social theory and the city Course outline fall 2016
.Professor Harold Chorney
Tuesday 2:45 -5:30
Sept.6 -Dec 5, 2016

Posted on Jan 2, 2016

This course focuses on the rise of the metropolis and its links to economic and technical change that underlay the beginnings of nineteenth and twentieth century industrial capitalism. The city has always played a central role in both conservative and radical social theory.The search for community and the overcoming of alienation and loneliness is at the heart of coniderable social theory and reality. The rise of mass society and its displacement of class society is also a central theme in much post modern literature and has a useful role to play in explaining the cultural and communicative nature of society in an increasingly globalized high tech world with an ever enlarging virtual reality.

We explore these themes by carefully examining the work of a number of writers from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries.

The grade will be based upon a term essay due in class in the final week of October week 50 % and a final test at the end of term.There is also an option to submit and present an artistic work which focuses on some aspect of the urban question for a value of 20 % .In this case the essay will be worth 30 % and the final 50 %.

Texts: Harold Chorney, City of Dreams: Social Theory and the Urban Experience, Nelson Canada 1990. Lawrence Cahoone, editor From Modernism to Post Modernism.Blackwell publishing 2003.Selected chapters.(Other selected Readings tba)

Lecture topics:

1. Introduction and overview: the rise of cities and the search for community. Post modernism versus modernism.From Descartes to Derrida.The city as the focus of rational enlightenment and modernism.

2. Alienation, class consciousness and urbanization: the work of Marx and Engels and Marx’s Hegelian roots.

3. Gemeinschaft versus Gesellschaft :the work of Ferdinand Toennies

4.Georg Simmel: the Metropolis and Mental Life.

5.Urbanization and anomie and the conscience collective: the work of Emile Durkheim .

6.Max Weber: Modernism and Disenchantment. The economy of cities.

7.The Chicago School , mass society and American mainstream urban sociology. The early roots of post modernism.

8. Georg Lukacs and the theory of reification.

9. Walter Benjamin and the Theory of Technical Reproduction.Benjamin and Baudelaire.

10. The Frankfurt School and the dialectic of enlightenment.Horkheimer and Adorno.

11. The phenomenology of the Urban:From social theory to public policy. Jacques Derrida, Merleau Ponty,Jean Paul Sartre, Hal Foster, Richard Rorty, Michel Foucault, Max Weber, Jurgen Habermas and Jean Baudrillard.

12. Toward a critical theory of urban policy and politics in the global metropolis.

Essay assignment:Write a 10-12 page essay on one of the following topics.Be sure that your essay is free of grammatical errors and has a bibliography and is properly footnoted . Use a manual of style like the University of Chicago or Harvard Manual in guiding your notes or footnotes and bibliography.

Essay topics: (Still under revision)

1.Explore modernism and post modernism as philosophical concepts and cultural movements. How are they usable in building a theory of social change in cities. Why is Marx a modernist and Benjamin more of a post modernist ?

2. Explore the work of Walter Benjamin in depth. How is it that he transcends political analysis and enters the realm of art and literature.

3. Select two writers in City of Dreams other than Benjamin and Marx and explore and compare their work.

4. Explain and analyze global metropolises . How does the phenomenology approach aid us in our understanding of a global metropolis ?

5. Use some of the theoretical perspectives developed in City of Dreams to analyze Montreal city politics in recent years.

6. Do an in depth analysis of the work of Jacques Derrida. Explain how it is the outgrowth of his rejection of Sartre’s conception of modernity.

7. How has modern technology facilitated the growth of community? Can the kind of community which this social media driven community has created be considered comparable to the community which writers like Toennies , Durkheim and Marx were searching for.

8. Explore the economic, philosophical and sociological aspects of Marx and Engels’ analysis of cities and capitalism. What if anything in their analysis is still relevant in the the 21st century.

Class notes:

A:Useful in conjunction with the lectures on Marx and the metropolis

1. The falling rate of profit. Major financial crises like the one we have just experienced and the tensions surrounding globalization raise fascinating questions about the structural problems of modern capitalism. In the nineteenth century and for much of the twentieth century many economists debated this question. Keynes was convinced that there was little value in returning to any debate that was wedded to the anachronistic labour theory of value. Instead, he approached the issue of crisis from the point of view of less than full employment aggregate demand and the failure of the classical labour market clearing mechanism to operate consistently to deliver full employment. The labour theory of value that originated in the work of David Ricardo and was built upon by Marx to develop his theory of crisis that was rooted in the tendency of the rate of profit to fall over time because of a tendency to increase the organic composition of capital, that is the ratio of embodied technology, physical plant and raw material that was a key ingredient in the production process. These increases were motivated by the entrepreneurial and corporate desire to increase labour productivity.If the productivity gains are large enough they can reverse the tendency for the profit rate to fall. This was the argument of Bortkiewicz .In a funny sort of way it is also the argument of those who argue that high end technological innovation will rescue the first world from the global outsourcing that is going on whereby production is being shifted from North America and West Europe to countries like China, India and Asia generally. The unresolved problem still remains that high end technology does not appear so far to generate enough jobs quickly enough to replace all those that are being lost due to outsourcing. In addition there is the very real problem of ensuring enough global effective aggregate demand to purchase all of the high end output generated by these high tech centres of activity. Keynes dismissed the labour theory of value as out of date controversializing, but members of his circle like Michal Kalecki were less certain. Even Keynes chose to use an hour’s employment of ordinary labour and the remuneration it received as his numeraire in the General Theory.(see ch.4 GT) Bortkiewicz and Bohm Bawerk in their work raised effective critiques of Marx’s doctrine, according to Sweezy, although Sweezy remained much more convinced that Bortkiewicz was closer to the truth than was Bohm Bawerk.( Bohm Bawerk, Karl Marx and the Close of his System, P.Sweezy editor, London , 1948; L.Bortkiewicz, “Value and price in the Marxian system” translated from “Archiv fur Socialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, ertrechnung und Preisrechnung in Marxschen System” Bd.xxlllHeft 1, 1906, International economic papers no.2.) Bortkiewicz argues that Marx was guilty of methodological inconsistencies and neglected the mathematical relation between the productivity of labour, dependent upon the organic composition of capital and the rate of surplus value.The rise in productivity may be such as to totally reverse any tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Roman Rosdolsky attempts not completely successfully to refute both Sweezy and Bortkiewicz and Keynes’s colleague, Cambridge economist Joan Robinson in their critique of the falling rate of profit in his work The Making of Marx’s Capital, (London, Pluto Press, 1980, pp.398-411). Meghnad Desai in Marxian Economic Theory, ( London, Gray Mills publishing , 1974) has pointed out that Michio Morishima (whose class I regularly attended at the L.S.E.) believed that it would be better to abandon the labour theory of value because of the very difficult technical complications requiring complex mathematics to resolve in order to transform values into prices.(See also Desai’s work Marx’s Revenge:The resurgence of Capitalism and the Death of Statist Socialism, London:Verso books 2004) Morishima wrote ” We conclude by suggesting to Marxian economists that they ought radically to change their attitude towards the labour theory of value. If it has to determine the amounts of labour which the techniques of production actually adopted in a capitalist economy require, directly and indirectly , in order to produce commodities, it is not a satisfactory theory at all.” M.Morishima, Marx’s economics, Cambridge University press, 1973 p.193. Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy attempted to do precisely that in their classic Monopoly Capital wherein they substituted the tendency for the surplus to rise and the problem of surplus absorption for the falling rate of profit.Piero Sraffa’s classic work The Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities:Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory, 1960, Cambridge University press, demonstrates a workable mathematical method for assessing dated labour in terms of its contribution to the value and price of a commodity which makes a very key contribution to this debate. Sraffa demonstrates convincingly how prices and values vary with variations in the rate of profit. Sraffa was a friend and colleague of Keynes who Keynes had helped rescue from fascist Italy before the Second World War by helping him secure a position at Cambridge. Sweezy in his classic Theory of Capitalist Development reduces the falling rate of profit to the following striking formulation; p=s'(1-q) where p is the rate of profit and q the organic composition of capital i.e. c/c+v (Marx in Capital vol 2 defines it as c/v rather than as Sweezy defines it c/c+v )p.625 chapter 23, vol.2 Dutton, Everyman’s library edition, London&N.Y. translated by Eden and Cedar Paul, introduction by G.D.H. Cole. &vol.3 p.214 ch xlll, progress edition, 1966.) He arrives at this as follows. p= s/c+v = sv/v(c+v) = sc+sv -sc/v(c+v) = s(c+v)/v(c+v) – sc/v(c+v) = s/v – s/v times c/c+v =s/v(1-c/c+v) where c/c+v is the organic composition of capital, s/v =s’ the rate of surplus value and q is the organic composition of capital so p (the rate of profit) =s'(1-q) so that the greater is q the lower is the rate of profit.

(p.68)) We won’t be pursuing this controversy further in the course but those who wish to read further about it can consult the works cited above and also look at Ronald Meek, Studies in the Labour theory of Value, Jesse Schwartz, The Subtle Anatomy of Capitalism and M.Desai, Marx’s Revenge as well as Paul Mattick, Marx and Keynes. Desai who is a former teacher of mine who may now want to revise his assessment about the success of globalization in the light of recent events has an interesting chapter on Marx, Hayek and Keynes.You might also want to look at my conference paper which I presented to the association for heterodox economics in London in 2001 which is part of The Deficit Papers, The Theory of the Business cycle in Keynes, Hayek and Schumpter:What do we know in the Age of globalization ? David Harvey, Limits to Capital, Verso 2006 is also very accessible and useful in integrating spatial and urban issues from a radical geography perspective.

Perspectivism:One of the students brought up this approach in a previous year which is identified with Nietzsche’s view of the relativity of belief according to the perspective of the individual , as opposed to the objective circumstances of reality. You are right , of course, to suggest a close affinity between the views of the post moderns, relativism and those of Nietzsche. However, in City of Dreams I drew not upon Nietzsche but rather upon the phenomenology of Husserl, Merleau Ponty, Schutz, Mead and Berger and Luckmann among others, as well as my own observations about the metropolis and the work of Benjamin.Clearly the approaches are related.

Jurgen Habermas: for those interested in exploring the work of Jurgen Habermas and the culture of communications in more detail you can start by checking out the references in footnote 34 on pp.52-53. see also Harold Innis’s Bias of Communications. See also, Jurgen Habermas’s prolific writing for example: Knowledge and Human Interests; Toward a Rational Society;Legitimation Crisis(available on the internet)The Theory of Communicative Action; also Thomas McCarthy, The Critical Theory of Jurgen Habermas.

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Some Surprises and Contradictions in New British Cabinet: Boris Johnson as Foreign Minister and Philip Hammond as Chancellor of Exchequer

The new Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May has made some interesting appointments to her new cabinet. First of all some big figures in the previous Cameron cabinet are not included. This includes most notably as Chancellor of the Exchequer the departure of George Osborne widely seen as the architect of Britain’s punishing and in my view misguided austerity policy. Osborne has been replaced by Philip Hammond who is also quite right wing and has a reputation as a fiscal hawk. So this raises a potential problem if the Prime Minister wants to move away from austerity and embrace a one nation strategy that strives to promote greater equality of opportunity and abolition of class division. The first test will be when the new Chancellor a former business entrepreneur brings in his first budget in an environment still likely to be suffering from the shock of the Brexit referendum and the general malaise in the European economy. In another appointment which has raised eyebrows in high places in both Europe and North America, Prime Minister May has named the leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. Johnson is, of course, a controversial charismatic intellectual figure but does he have the necessary diplomatic skills ? Already his critics in Germany and France have weighed in critically. For example, the French Foreign minister has called him somewhat undiplomatically “a liar” on account of Mr.Johnson’s declarations against the EU during the Brexit campaign. So it should be interesting to watch the new foreign minister perform over the next few months. Our own Minister of Foreign affairs, Stéphane Dion and our Minister of international trade should be quick to be in touch to open discussions about enhancing trade and exchange with Britain.

Other interesting appointments and dismissals include the dismissal of Oliver Letwin as Chancellor of the Dutchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove from justice and Nicky Morgan from Education in the Cameron cabinet and the appointment of Amber Rudd at energy, Liam Fox as Secretary of International Trade, David Davis as Secretary of state for exiting the EU and Andrea Leadsom to environment and rural affairs.

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Corbyn wins British NEC Labour party vote: his name will be on the ballot in fall leadership contest

The embattled Labour party leader has won a significant victory at the meeting of the National executive of the Labour party of Great Britain. The executive committee voted 18 to 14 that Corbyn had an automatic place on the ballot and he did not require the nominating support of 50 MPs as is the case of his opponents who are trying to oust him from the leadership. 172 parliamentary Labour MPs voted no confidence in his leadership but since he won an overwhelming majority of party member votes less than a year ago he is likely, though not certain, to win the the bulk of their support in this new contest.

If so, the Labour party rebels will have been vanquished and the grip of Corbyn and his allies in the party strengthened. There is also the danger that the defeated rebels will bolt the party and seek to form a new centrist coalition opposed to both the left and the tory right. But first we have to see how successful Corbyn will be in this leadership race. The anti-Corbynites may have strengthened their position somewhat by tightening the rules on members who will have voting rights and demanding that new members who sign up in the two days between July 18 and July 20 or have previously signed up at 3 £ will have to pay 25£ in the those two days to acquire voting rights.There may also be a loophole which permits people to sign up with a union like Unite or another registered group for a smaller monthly fee and gain the right to vote as a registered supporter via this route. In such case the deadline would be postponed until August.

Some anti Corbynite journalists are predicting the demise of Labour and a restructuring of the party system with a new centrist coalition party emerging as a competitor to Labour. This may happen but its premature to conclude this. I would not rule Corbyn out at this stage. He’ s proved himself and his team are competent political competitors in a very tough environment.

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Theresa May 199, Andrea Leadsom 84, Michael Gove 46 Gove eliminated and Leadsom drops out. May will be prime minister.

The Michael Gove betrayal gambit turns out all for nought. Ruthlessness has its electoral limits. So the next British Prime minister will be a woman, Theresa May. How long she can keep the job without calling an election remains to be seen.It is also unclear to what extent she will follow the policies of George Osborne with respect to austerity and anti deficit hysteria.

In the opposition Labour party in the meantime chaotic self imposed disintegration has set in with the announcement of a challenge to the democratically elected leader Jeremy Corbyn by one of the MPs who was formerly in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Angela Eagle who previously had served in the cabinet of Gordon Brown as pensions minister and who voted for the Iraq war has launched the challenge to Corbyn on behalf of the rebels in the parliamentary party. She was an active campaigner on the remain side and is regarded as a soft left member of the PLP. Her sister is also an MP. Her support for the Iraq war in stark contrast to Corbyn’s refusal to vote for it will undoubtedly be an issue. The first hurdle Corbyn may have to overcome might be an attempt by the anti Corbynites to exclude his name from the ballot on account of his failure to get a sufficient number of MPs, 20 % of the party’s MPs and EU parliament MPS to back him. The union president of Unite who backs Corbyn Len McCluskey has stated that should the executive fail to include Corbyn on the ballot this act will split the party and yield a poisoned chalice to whomever the party chooses as leader. Labour’s hari kari would be complete.

Generally speaking people are very reluctant to vote for a party in the throes of civil war. They usually turn away from such parties in an election. The replace Corbyn coup will be seen in this way and is likely to be a bitter and divisive contest. The Iraq inquiry has severely damaged the Blairite wing of the party who seem to loath Corbyn. His very well reasoned critique of the Blair administrations mis-handling of the decision to go to war in Iraq backed up by the thorough report of the Chilcot Iraq inquiry is probably resented by them. But in the current state of British politics resentment is an unaffordable luxury.

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Iraq Chilcot inquiry report published.Tony Blair criticized for proceeding to war without carefully vetting intelligence.Crabb drops out of leadership race and along with Fox endorses May.

The UK Iraq war Inquiry report under the direction of Sir John Chilcot has been published. It strongly criticizes the British Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, for having rushed the decision to go to war on the basis of faulty intelligence. It also concludes that Mr.Blair gave premature support to President George W. Bush before he had legal permission to go to war from Parliament or the United Nations.In retrospect then Canadian Prime minister Jean Chretien’s decision not to commit to Canadian participation looks like a much better decision when compared to the error in judgement made by Blair for Britain. There may be some civil law suits undertaken by the families of soldiers killed or wounded in the war as a consequence of the Chilcot report.Without a doubt the reputation for good judgement and political leadership of Mr.Blair has suffered a major blow. To his credit Jeremy Corbyn, the embattled Labour party leader who had voted against participation rose in Parliament to remind the public and the House that there were also millions of Britons at the time who had been opposed and over a million people had marched in London in opposition to the war in advance of it.

On the tory leadership front Stephen Crabb has dropped out throwing his support to Theresa May. So now it is a choice between Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom for the second spot. The odds favour Leadsom but surprises can happen particularly if some May supporters throw their final ballot votes to Gove in order to shut Leadsom out of the final.

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May 165, Leadsom 66, Gove 48, Crabb 34, Fox 16. Fox eliminated in British Tory leadership race.

The first round results are out in the British Conservative governing party leadership race to succeed David Cameron. Theresa May is the big winner with 165 first round votes Andrea Leadsom a distant second with 66 votes followed by Michael Gove with 48, Stephen Crabb with 34 and now eliminated Liam Fox with 16.It looks quite likely that the two finalists are going to be May and Leadsom who will then face off in a vote of the party membership. May voted to Remain while Leadsom was an advocate of the Brexit Leave position.Two rounds remain. One on Thursday and a final one to determine the pair who fill face the party membership next Tuesday.

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