Back To The Future Of Socialism


Back To The Future Of Socialism
By Peter Hain
Policy Press – £19.99

The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Prize Winner Desmond Tutu, has referred to this book as: ”A clarion call for justice, equality and liberty to triumph. Greed and selfishness, a widening chasm between the haves and the have nots, indifference to climate change and poverty, threaten the very future of mankind.”

Fissiparous praise indeed from a man who really ought to know; although in this day and over-saturated sound-bite age of toxic induced politics, it’s praise that’ll most likely fall on a menagerie of purposefully mute ears.

To be sure, Back to the Future of Socialism, is the sort of detonatory read that could well cajole many a Thatcher-like-child, along with a good half of America, to resolutely run for the hills of honesty in search of both shotgun realisation and redemption. Reason being, the great Peter Hain (whose previous books include Don’t Play with Apartheid, The Democratic Alternative, Proportional Misrepresentation and Mandela to name but a few) has herein written/masterminded an exceptionally robust and terrific book.

The analysis of which ultimately shoots from the current-day hip of moral paralysis.

If only it were in a position to simultaneously shoot that myopic, repugnant yahoo, Donald J. Trump in the process, then readers and subscribers to that of the nigh redundant truth – not to mention society as a whole – would surely stand to benefit even more.

That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, who just a few days ago, trounced fellow Democrat Hilary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, has embraced this book with all the enthusiasm of a long-lost-lover: ”Back to the future of Socialism takes on the fundamental choice facing democratic politics today: between the right’s insistence on minimalist government and the left’s belief in active government; between the right’s insistence on a free market free-for-all, and the left’s belief in harnessing markets for the common good.”

Written in such a way that bucolic pundits of brazen bollocks will thankfully find hard to deny, these 318 pages (excluding Preface, Notes and Index), are, if nothing else, a pertinent reminder of just how magnificently out of touch the current day government is.

This is surely a sad and most unfortunate indictment of relations that ought never have come into being to begin with, which Hain wholeheartedly substantiates in the book’s penultimate chapter (‘A fairer, more equal society’): ”[…] inherited wealth perpetuates privilege from one generation to the next. It does so by provoking access to the best possible education, to contact networks and to career ladders, meaning that most of the best jobs stay in the hands of a favoured few – witness the composition of David Cameron’s Conservative Cabinets (mostly millionaires, may Old Etonians), the top ranks of the judiciary, Britain’s business boardrooms, our military and diplomatic services and the senior civil service. Income inequality therefore persists and inherited wealth is passed on.”

What with America going to the polls for the best part of this year, and the disparity of Britain’s cleavage betwixt the haves and the have nots growing ever wider, this scrupulously well researched and most honourable of books makes for timely reading of the most acute design.

David Marx

Since having published this review, Policy Press have informed me of a new edition available in paperback (for £9.99), along with an updated Afterword Peter Hain.

Further details, here’s the link:






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