Island Story

The writer J.D. Taylor recently wrote about the ‘strange energies’ that have been ‘unleashed by the Brexit campaign’ and ‘no political faction looks capable of containing, whatever the outcome.’ He wrote this before the referendum result was in. For him, we were coming apart anyway:

‘Whilst efforts are being expended, often ineffectually, to argue for the values of cosmopolitanism or political sovereignty, less has been made of the decades-deep disempowerment and disaffection by which the island’s own collective story has come undone.’

Taylor’s book Island Story, published by Repeater, discovers the Britain of deep disempowerment, but also the Britain of everyday struggle and triumph in the face of uprooting forces.

Social Science Centre and Manchester Left Writers are jointly organising a talk with J.D. Taylor that will explore his book on Britain, essentially a ‘tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain’ on a bicycle, through the lens of the recent vote to leave the European Union. Taylor has set off on his bicycle again – to tour his new book – and he will be with us in Manchester, plus bike, on the 15th of August.

This talk will be free and held at Friends’ Meeting House, Manchester, M25NS, on Monday August 15th, 2016, at 6pm.  Register via Eventbrite for your free ticket:



Net flyer

A new Social Science Centre (SSC) for Manchester will provide free, co-operative Social Science Higher Education (HE) in the centre of Manchester this autumn.

Membership will come with a subscription fee – and AGM voting rights – but scholarship will be free. This means that the educational sessions will be completely free at the point of delivery. SSC is now seeking members and scholars, alongside funds to get off the ground.

Run as a co-operative, and owned by its members, SSC Manchester will eventually be self-sustaining. The first Social Science Centre, in Lincoln, has successfully offered free, co-operative higher education since 2011 and granted approval for the new Manchester branch at its 2016 AGM in May. SSC Manchester will begin with exactly the same model and constitution as SSC Lincoln, and it is hoped that it will be the first of many more new SSC branches.

The 2016-2017 term of SSC Manchester will take place each Monday evening, from 6pm-8pm, at the Friends Meeting House on Mount Street, beginning on Monday 5 September. This area is saturated with radical history, including St Peter’s Fields, the location of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre.

Dr Steve Hanson of SSC Manchester commented: “The new HE white paper clearly places Higher Education in the market, and as a servant of the market, although no-one inside has been naive enough to think it anywhere else for some time. HE will not be miraculously liberated from neoconservative policy in the near future. There is no point relying on a long wait for internal change.”

“It is time to create new values: a more flattened hierarchy, no fees, a message that all of us are ‘scholars’, a Higher Education co-op. SSC Lincoln were the first to do things differently after the Browne Report of 2009 and the Millbank Riot of 2010, and we will be extending this to more people with the establishment of SSC Manchester. If you believe in an alternative to the current neoliberal model, please help, either by making a contribution to our start-up costs or registering as a scholar or member.”

SSC is currently fundraising to cover the costs of room hire for the first phase, September to December 2016, and printed materials. Contributions can be made at