Mike Faulkner is a British citizen. He lives in London where for many years he taught history and political science at Barnet College, until his retirement in 2002. He has written a two-weekly column, Letter from the UK,for TPJ Magazine since 2008. Over the years his articles have appeared in such publications as Marxism Today, Monthly Review and China Now. He is a regular visitor to the United Sates where he has friends and family in New York City.
Recent Essays by Michael Faulkner, Letter from the UK
By Michael Faulkner - 02.14.2016
“I swear by God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty against all enemies.” The Armed Forces oath of allegiance to the Queen.
Let’s start by turning the clock back a century. In Britain during the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the imperialist war in 1914, rising tensions in continental Europe and beyond had not been a matter of great concern. After 1911 it was rather the “Irish Question” that dominated political discourse on domestic and foreign affairs, and, specifically, the near-certainty of the passage...
By Michael Faulkner, January 10, 2016
It is customary, in Britain at least, during the days of the winter solstice from late December to early January, for most people to succumb to the spirit of “the festive season.” This is understandable and there is much about the festive celebrations that is genuinely warm-hearted and convivial. There are no national day celebrations in Britain as there is no national day and no notion of what might be acceptable as one. So the family Christmas lunch or dinner is the closest this country gets to the US Thanksgiving. Most people celebrate Christmas, but only a very tiny minority of them celebrate it as a religious festival. This is something that must be quite puzzling to those who follow other religions such as Judaism, Hinduism or Islam, whose festivals and holy days are times of religious observance. After all, unlike the United States and France, England and Scotland have an established church – the Church of England and Scotland, which have a legal position in the state. The Queen is the head of the church and is officially named “Defender of the Faith.” Yet only 1.5% of the population attend church on anything like a regular basis. According to Christian theology, the three most sacred days of the year are Christmas Day (the birth of the divinity in human form), Good Friday (his death) and Easter Sunday (his resurrection from the dead). Yet in the consumerist bonanzas that have come to dominate all three commemorations, they are associated predominantly with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Easter eggs and Easter bunnies. Religion hardly gets a look-in. Regarding Christmas, it might be said that if a committee had been set the task of expunging every element of religion from the festival and replacing it with an appeal to “shop until you drop”, they couldn’t have come up with anything better than this. The “success” of Christmas is measured in terms of sales figures and profit margins and for the legions of cash-strapped parents struggling to make ends meet, in the increasing volume of personal debt. But Prime Minister Cameron, in his Christmas message, tells us that Britain is a Christian country.
By Michael Faulkner - 12.13.15
Jeremy Corbyn has been under sustained attack from most of the media, all the Tories, most Liberal Democrats and a significant number of Labour MPs, Labour Peers and Blairite and other former government ministers. Never has any party leader been subjected to such an unrelenting bombardment from virtually the whole of the Westminster political establishment and their loyal echoes in the media. Compared to this, the attempted character assassination of his predecessor, Ed Miliband, which was bad enough, was mild indeed. The fact that Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party with an unprecedented majority of votes cast and that he enjoys the enthusiastic support of the great majority of the vastly increased membership the party has achieved since his election, is of no concern or interest to his critics and detractors.