It’s a Big Issue: Election Special

Big Issue - 1Confession time: I don’t often buy The Big Issue. I used to. Early days I would even write for it, the occasional column plus regular art and food reviews. I was a Director of a housing association at the time and when the Big Issue in the North had to set up in Liverpool and Manchester I was ashamed. Because if all our work from the previous 20 years had truly paid off they’d never have had to, was my main feeling.

Anyway, time passed by and I eventually dropped from ‘contributor and regular reader’ status to ‘very occasional.’

Which brings us to today when I noticed that this week’s edition is an Election Special. So I bought it from our polite and, in my case, very patient vendor. And I thought I’d show it to you. Not in any look at me kind of way, but because I think it’s good and want to encourage you to go and buy one too, if you haven’t already.

It's guest edited by Owen Jones.

It’s guest edited by Owen Jones.

Which didn’t wholly encourage me. I’d read and much enjoyed his ‘Chavs’ book a while ago, but had to give up on his ‘Establishment’ follow-up more recently as I couldn’t get on with it.

Anyway, I needn’t have worried that I was going to be hectored because this turns out to be a pretty well balanced look at our democratic options and why we should all be making up our minds and voting next week. Just the job for me because, as you’ll know if you read the stuff I’ve been writing, I’m not sure where my own vote will be going yet. I’m a traditional Labour voter and an even more traditional socialist. So though I know I’ll be voting on the left of the political spectrum, just where is still up for debate and inspiration.

So I appreciated Owen's own views.

So I appreciated Owen’s own views.

Which you can see summed up in the sub-heading there. I’ll say no more about what he writes as I want you to buy the magazine.

Probably

Probably my favourite article.

This is former ‘Telegraph’ journalist Peter Osborne, who resigned from the paper over their too cosy attitude to their banker advertisers. I’m always an admirer of people who can stand back at times like these and see history happening, and this he does. Talking about the Conservatives, he says:

“Meanwhile, the Conservative Party is no longer the solidly-based party of the provinces that governed with confidence throughout the majority of the 20th century. The party fighting the 2015 election has largely been paid for by financial interests concentrated in the City of London and offshore centres.”

Much more valuable analyses when you get your own copy.

Peter Hitchens is in here too.

Peter Hitchens is in here too.

Taking the piss out of himself in a way his late brother Christopher would be proud of, and making some valuable points to illuminate his own sub-heading.

And oh, what else? Good stuff from Gary Younge and Al Murray, an interview with Nick Clegg (haven’t been able to bring myself to read that yet, but I will, honest).

And this about how you're more likely to be homeless if you're gay or transgender.

And this about how you’re more likely to be homeless if you’re gay or transgender.

At long last we are arriving at the General Election where housing is a major issue.

There are words from the Vendors of course.

There are words from the Vendors of course.

And there is this man too.

And there is this man too.

Who’s made a few headlines since yesterday, even making me warm to Ed Miliband, a bit.

End of commercial – it’s well put together and there’s plenty of stuff here to make you think, along with all their regular articles and reviews ( a three star verdict on the new Blur album) – so if you haven’t already got this week’s Big Issue, put that right with the next vendor you see, I say.

What do you think?

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