The coming food crisis?

So far, so familiar to most environmentalists and oil peakists. But Kell has also called for lb100 million of public money to made available for research into how crop yields might be maximised, so that the crisis might be averted. Now where do you think that money would go? More

No green shoots on climate change

The comparison is useful in more ways than one. It reveals how governments can recognise and act to avert systemic risk in some areas like high finance and flu, but have blind spots or grossly inadequate responses in others, such as climate change. More

Review: The Contingency Plan at the Bush Theatre

Looming environmental destruction, on the other hand, hasn't ever grabbed artists in quite the same way. More

Value, not efficiency, is what public services need

SROI promotes the idea of 'social value', a concept that is gaining increasing currency across the political spectrum. In some ways its legitimacy is indisputable; few people would argue that things that are bought and sold and have an 'economic value' are the things that matter most, yet in our daily lives we generally unwittingly accept that to be the case. What people have resisted is the notion that this type of value is measurable and quantifiable. While concerns about this are understandable they are misguided and ultimately unhelpful. More

The banks also need to feel the pinch, George

Let's hope, as the chancellor prepares his Mansion House speech on Wednesday evening, that he has already included brave words about the banks along the lines of "I know that the cuts I am announcing are in part the result of banking folly and greed. And so I am entirely with my colleague Vince Cable, who is even now preparing root-and-branch banking reform. We cannot have a public service cuts programme without the banks being equally painfully reformed."

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Labour must turn its attention to taming the banks

We need a universal banking obligation. It would mean that everyone, by right, would have access to the full range of banking services – whereas at the moment, one of the great fights with the banks has been the way they’ve chosen customers to maximise profitability and created finance deserts for poor communities. On the ground, it propels people into the hands of vulture lenders with baseball bats.

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The rise and fall of BP

As names go, the First Exploitation Company sounds like an inspired slight dreamed up by an angry anti-oil campaigner. In fact, it was the original title, coined in 1903, of the troubled company we now know as BP. But then, public relations have never been its strong point.

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Supermarkets spell the end of civic life

Today sees the publication of a report from the think-tank Demos which argues that supermarkets should be seen as an intergral part of creating the so-called ‘Big Society’. The report’s author said:

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Hay Festival: Cuba’s lessons in survival

Today, the UK and the US are living through challenging economic times. But, so far, we face nothing compared to the shocks endured by Cuba over the last two decades. It was uniquely unlucky at the end of the cold war, losing the support of one superpower, the Soviet Union, while keeping the animosity - and a comprehensive economic embargo - of the other, the US. Only now, years later, is there a suggestion of a thaw in relations.

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90 months and counting…

The fall of the Roman Empire was due to a large extent, writes the historian Adrian Goldsworthy, to a system of government that became inward-looking and weakened by internal dissent. Gone was the singular focus from the golden days of the Republic, when a small, trusted coterie of around 1,000 administrators ran the whole empire efficiently.

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