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Bridging the election of the coalition government and set against an east London backdrop of local crime, the Olympics and the associated yuppification of the area, Roland Muldoon’s novel is a page-turner grounded in reality. This is not a novel about the removal and destruction of working class communities, though – there are only passing references to the implantation of the cushioned middle class into areas such as Broadway Market – but a crime thriller.
A white van parked in Romford is found to contain papers, transcripts and tapes. Together they reveal a story of cops (some in the lowest echelons with all the problems of insane shifts and attacks on their pay and pensions) and robbers. The story features ‘undercover Home Office-sanctioned cops’, an old East End ‘firm’, ‘royalty, drugs, police protection of institutionalised crime, murders and murderers, corruption, and the old establishment practice of being beyond the law, protecting their class interests as they felt the need to do’.
Written in breathtaking staccato style, the plot is centred on two undercover coppers who are monitoring Bob Crow. The story reveals how the British state has been involved in murders and rendition. While not developing a major political thesis, it contains sufficient hints, references and pointers to the author’s sympathies and experiences. The role of the state in Northern Ireland, the setting up of stories of Jamaican gangsters flooding London with coke, the infiltration of leftist groups and the involvement of the extreme right are all in the melange. And you keep reading to unravel it all.
But within this fiction is a truthful commentary on the way the state permits its ‘servants’ to operate outside the law. It is not only current events such as the embarrassing papers found in Tripoli linking MI6 and the rendition of Libyans. The state has a long history of paying informers and maintaining connections with people who are criminals but are thought to be useful.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns