Busting the myths of the Alternative Vote

On paper, it was a good thing: give people the chance to vote democratically about how they want to choose their representatives in the future. But I increasingly feel that the Alternative Vote campaign has shown British politics at its very worst. All I want to do is shout ‘shame on all of you’.

More

Cameron is giving addicts the cold shoulder

Alarm bells were ringing when I heard David Cameron and Chris Grayling talking about alcoholics and drug addicts on benefits today. Apparently around 42,000 of those on incapacity benefits (IB) state alcoholism as their reason for being on long-term benefits, 37,000 state drug addiction and a further 2,000 obesity. This is a total of around 3 per cent of the 2.6 million people claiming IB (or ISA as it is now known). More

The value of women’s centres

I’m in a room with half a dozen people talking about the importance of love in what they do. In other contexts, this might bring out the cynic in me, but today I wouldn’t dare. The people I’m with work in centres supporting women living some of the hardest lives imaginable. Their day to day work reads like a checklist of the ills of modern urban Britain: street prostitution, drug addiction, destitution, sexual violence, domestic abuse. And frankly, if they want to talk about love, I’m here to listen.

More

The Big Society and the struggle for the soul of the voluntary sector

If anyone is wondering how the "Big Society" is playing out in practice at local level, here is an unsolicited report from a voluntary action organiser in South-East England. 

More

Tony Greenham on the Guardian Business Podcast