Social cohesion. A drippy phrase; an important idea. And it turns out that it has improved over the past decade. A huge New Labour achievement, repairing the damage done by the bad side of Thatcherism.
There was a good exchange on the Freedom of Information Act between Alastair Campbell and Chris Mullin at a Chatham House event last month. This was the subject of Campbell’s second disagreement with Tony Blair during the conversation (the first was over whether Labour did enough in its first parliamentary term).
Campbell said that FoI was [...]
Blueprint Theatre Company are staging his arguably most successful play, 25 years after it was written. Such a revival begs the question of how far we have moved on from the England in which it was first staged, and asks whether a play that seemed just right for its time is still relevant a quarter of a century later.
The Prime Minister feels we have a “culture of entitlement” when it comes to welfare, and polling shows huge public support for a crackdown on benefit payments. But do many young people leave school expecting to be looked after financially? Do the wealthy elite expect to rule?
George Osborne gave an assured performance at the Leveson inquiry today. He was as impressive as Jeremy Hunt was the opposite, and reminded us that you do not become Chancellor at the age of 38 without some raw political talent.
He had no view on Rupert Murdoch’s bid for the whole of BSkyB, except that it [...]
I was looking at data on the New Labour governments’ record on the economy, when I came across this excellent presentation, UK Economic Performance since 1997, by Dan Corry, Anna Valero and John Van Reenen, at the LSE Centre for Economic Performance, 15 November 2011 (pdf).
Real GDP per adult grew by 22 per cent between 1997 [...]
Julian Petley, co-author of the book Culture Wars , once observed that the British press had ‘perfected a way of representing the ideas and personalities associated with socialism as so deranged and psychotic that they presented a danger to society.’
I received an email the other day from Darren Canning, which I reproduce with his permission. I think it speaks for itself:
I joined the Labour Party in 2005 to help fight an election where I feared Tony Blair’s New Labour could be defeated on the basis of the Iraq war. I had been a supporter [...]
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for David Cameron’s ‘big society’. After just six months as a pilot city for the programme, Liverpool announced it has withdrawn from the scheme due to the pressure funding cuts are placing on the voluntary sector. You know it’s bad when everyone from the Archbishop to the celebrity backer joins in the criticism. Meanwhile down in London, the government’s big society champion Lord Wei is reducing the number of days he spends working on the project in order to free up time to ‘have a life’. He’s discovering, it seems, that sometimes there just isn’t time to fit in voluntary work around a paid job and family commitments.
Science clearly plays a key role in modern society. It was one of the few areas spared drastic cuts in George Osbourne’s spending review, after having provoked hundreds of scientists to take to the streets the week previously under the slogan “Science is Vital”. But there’s something more to the current debate than the traditional support for scientific R&D. Indeed, it would have been embarrassing for a government of any colour to cut back the science budget given the increasing importance that politicians claim to place on science in their decision making – so called “Evidence-Based Policy”.
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