Making participation work

Over at the BBC, Home Affairs editor Mark Easton is taking a look at the way the Conservatives in government are talking differently about who will hold public servants to account:


The Ecology of Growth

One of the few good things about the current financial crisis is the extent of serious soul-searching about the right way to deliver economic success. Britain has been among the worst-affected countries, losing perhaps five years of economic growth following the pricking of the credit bubble – predicted with precision by Ann Pettifor in her 2006 classic, The Coming First World Debt Crisis. Unemployment has soared, public-sector deficits have ballooned and a new age of austerity beckons. More

The truth about Tesco’s ‘anchor’ claims

A friend has passed me yet another cutting, this time from a magazine called Retail Therapy, which includes much the same quotation from the ubiquitous Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco’s corporate affairs director.

As usual, it pedals the same line that we have seen from Tesco for the past few months, quoting some research from the University of Southampton that says how much people welcome new supermarkets once they set up in the high street, or out of town (70% in fact).


Green Grin-o-meter launched

Whilst the Great Transition calls for immediate and rapid structural transformation, it has always been my belief that such transformation will not be sustainable unless there is an effort to rethink education. More

What if… Britain was more like Ecuador?

When was the last time you went out onto the streets and (slightly) risked life and limb to support your national government?  If you are from the UK then you, like me, probably haven’t done that all too often. More

University values

In the recent proposals for university fees reform, Lord Browne wrote; “The return to graduates for studying will be on average around 400%”. In this world view higher education is an economic investment. If his recommendations are adopted there will be even greater pressure to study only for a high paying job – and a strong deterrent to potential students who are uncertain that they can command the salaries needed to cope. More

1 minute to save the world

Above: Last year's winning film, My Paper Boat

Young film-makers are being asked to take part in an international film competition by entering 1 minute films on regional climate change.  The films will be shown on the internet, at targeted political screenings and film festivals worldwide.  


Beware the uni-directional impact generator

Francis Maude says that there has been no coherent plan by the government for efficiency savings.  He is absolutely right – the Treasury’s outlines for the spending review certainly don’t provide one. But I sincerely hope that Sir Philip Green’s boneheaded proposals for centralising public sector procurement do not take the place of one either.


Could the Big Society Network get more than they bargained for with participatory budgeting?

As David Cameron comes under fire from left and right for failing to present a clear vision of the ‘Big Society’, and a poll suggests that a majority of voters still haven’t heard o More

Don’t forget about the banks, George

This morning our Chancellor of the Exchequer will make his conference speech. What he says will tell us much about the focus and priorities of this government. Expect much talk of cuts in public spending, clearing up Labour’s mess and how their decisive action has averted international investors from running screaming from UK government gilts (because of course the UK and Greek economies are SO similar).

That much we can expect. But watch out for what’s missing.

George Osborne acknowledged in his budget speech that the crisis started with the banks. More

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