Welcome one and all to the 25th Carnival of Socialism. There's no special theme to the carnival other than "political stuff from the last two weeks that I'm interested in and hopefully you are too". If there's are posts or subject matters you'd like to have seen but didn't by the end please add it to the comments or submit it to the next carnival.
In a spirit of equality and fraternity (which if there was any real equality would of course be called "fraterni-sorority" or "non gender-specific sibling-hood") there is no particular order to the stories, just the things that grabbed me on the way round.
Starting locally we have the Glasgow Bye-Election. The SNP won following a massive swing away from Labour. But what of it? Certainly many, such as Liberal Burblings, and Lenin's Tomb have concluded this is a death knell for Gordon Brown's Labour. Others such as David Osler at Dave's Part see an even more bleak future. Now personally I am a little confused as to why David Cameron (who as Tim Ireland at Bloggerheads points out is a moron for getting his bike stolen!) is so happy about this? Maybe someone should tell him - the Tories DIDN'T win - if anything the Glasgow East result tells us that the swing towards the Tories in other areas recently has been more of a swing away from Labour's inability to deal with poverty (although Stan at Radio Free Stan thinks that might not be as bad as we fear, I am less convinced) and declining standards of healthcare and education and towards ANYONE else. This is downright stupid in my opinion, it's like saying "This cream isn't sweet enough, I think I'll have sprouts for dessert". There are other parties out there. On which note William Ewart Gladstone - still blogging 150 years on - looks at who did win - the Scottish Nationalists, and calls for big ideas south of the border. Sadly Nick Clegg's big ideas seem to be drifting further to the right, Peter Cranie reports, but at least Socialist Unity actually have some big left wing ideas.
Moving along to more international political goings-on we have Barack Obama's Visit To Germany. Here we start with Radical Blue's view that we should enjoy the euphoria around Obama while it lasts, because it won't last long. A point oddly enough backed-up by Senator Obama himself when he told Gordon Brown only today that "You're always more popular before you're actually in charge". As he also said "Once you're responsible you're going to make some people unhappy" and, as Wufnik at BazzFazz explains, there are quite a lot of unhappy Americans already. Meanwhile Jesse Taylor at Pandagon keeps an eye on the coverage of Obama's trip on the right hand side of the media.
And those seemed to be the two stories that got the most coverage in the last couple of weeks (unless of course Amy Winehouse has had a haircut or anything REALLY amazing like that, and if you're craving light-hearted reality-based entertainment why not join in with Feministe's search for the Next Top Troll and spare a thought for the sort of offensive crap us women bloggers have to put up with much of the time). Which brings us to the things the papers seem to have mostly glossed over. We start with the government's plans for the welfare state, you know, that thing that means that people struggling in society, often through no fault of their own, are not allowed to simply disappear and die in helpless poverty? Remember that? Yes well it's being "reformed". And when I say "reformed" I mean that in the way that "reformed ham" is "reformed" - i.e. all the valuable substance taken out and a load of rubbish added. David Osler at Liberal Conspiracy has the story. And it appears that Anji at Shut Up, Sit Down has noticed what's going on too, and responded in her usual verbose manner! Meanwhile Russell Eagling at Freethink wants more honesty in the debate about what is happening as well as having concerns about changes lined up in education and Gill George at Defend the NHS tackles the government's latest assault on the NHS.
And we're not the only ones with problems. Things are sliding surreptitiously to the right in Canada, DJN at If there is hope... has a thorough round-up. On the subject of Omar Khadr, the Canadian Guantanamo inmate, mirabile dictu has more in-depth coverage.
And sometimes when the media does cover a story we still don't get the full picture. For instance that whole thing about crime-gangs of illegal immigrants, as dissected by Charlie at RandomPottins. And we shouldn't forget some quality distorted media in New Zealand where, as Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty points out, some serious victim-blaming has been going on.
And if all that has left you too depressed to read on take a little heart from someone who appears to be a genuinely good leader for once! Step forward Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia, on the negotiations at the WTO, in completely his own words...!
Everybody loves a party. That's one of those truisms that just doesn't hold in politics and bloggers have been highlighting the worst of leadership from around the world. Phelim gets the ball rolling, pointing out how homophobic elements of the DUP can be. Splintered Surise is no fan either on account of their entrenched Catholic position on abortion. And there's another Catholicism-related issue - the leadership in New South Wales who have failed at last in their bid to prevent people "annoying" pilgrims visiting the Pope, from Stroppy Blog. Can you imagine the kind of misogynist leadership that would consider offering a male veto on abortion - seriously on the cards in Ohio, from Feminist Philosophers, or is so paranoid about immigration that it allows arresting women in such a way that leaves their young children unattended by a busy motorway overnight, as discussed on Echidne of the Snakes. Shudder. Oh hold on, no, stop press THIS, from Shakesville, is the has got to be the worst political leader the world could have right?
And speaking of really, really bad ideas - here's one. Private defense contractors working in war zones. Bad news for women as discussed on The F-Word, bad news via Iraq-for-Sale for water-drinkers, bad news for the servicemen and families whose lives have been destroyed by faulty electrics wiring in showers built by KBR (from me) and bad news via Spot-On for anyone coming in to contact with KBR (including the US taxpayers who fund it but excluding senior management and shareholders of course who are just debating how to divide up the £40bn without allocating too much to actually doing anything more than the cursory minimum they think they can get away with). Or (daily) maybe, the worst idea ever would be to throw our stretched resources into supporting another corrupt oil dictatorship...
Of course there were a few things that didn't fit neatly into any particular paragraph so here's a run down of the other things you should definitely read right now, yes - stop working at once and read more bloggage!
Short sharp shocking statistics on abortion from Natalie at Philobiblon.
Normalisation of cosmetic surgery watch part one from M LeBlanc at Bitch PhD and part two from Jess at Feministing
And an accidental admission of the failings of capitalism from Stuart Jeffrey at Stuart's Big Green Spot.
And finally a reminder of how to be involved next time around. Nominate a post of your own or that you love for the next Carnival of Socialism to be held at A Very Public Sociologist.
Cheerio and thanks for reading! Please stick around and read some of my other stuff, if you like it you can load me in to your Facebook/Technorati/Google/etc favourites or just bookmark me and swing by again sometime.