SQUALOR, OVERCROWDING, EVICTIONS – THE TORIES HAVE NO ANSWERS ON THE HOUSING CRISIS

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by Olivia Hanks

“Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see. Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford.” Sajid Javid’s words, in his speech launching the government’s latest white paper on housing, were rather unfortunate. The sight we’ve all been seeing on high streets this winter is the clusters of sleeping bags in doorways, the faces those of people failed so badly by society that they no longer have anywhere to live at all. This lack of understanding of what the housing crisis really is – not just thwarted aspirations of ownership, but squalor, overcrowding, evictions – sets the tone for this misfiring, misleading, self-contradicting paper.Continue Reading

US ELECTIONS: WHAT WENT WRONG?

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by Gunnar Eigener

The victory of Donald Trump to become the 45th President of the United States has shocked and dumbfounded many. What does it say about the state of politics when the first female major party presidential candidate – who was, by far, the most technically qualified – is defeated by a man who has never held any political office? Continue Reading

SEVEN WAYS THE TORIES HAVE UNDERMINED OUR DEMOCRACY

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by Chris Jarvis

Since coming to power under the coalition in 2010, the Tories have repeatedly paid lip service to the principles of democracy. David Cameron’s concept of the ‘big society’ was outlined in democratic terms, where local communities would be empowered to have control over public services and community projects. ‘Localism’ and rhetoric around extending local democracy were key components of both the 2010 and 2015 Conservative Party General Election platforms.

Ultimately though, the reality is far from the picture Conservative ministers and strategists are painting. Through Cameron to May, the Tories have repeatedly undermined democracy in Britain and we are far worse off as a result. Here are just seven of the many ways they have done this.Continue Reading

CENTRE POLITICS AND THE DANGER OF ARRON BANKS

Arron Banks, co-founder of Leave.EU, sits for a photograph at the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, May 2, 2016. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Arron Banks

by Freddie Foot

A recent poll by Opinium has been touted as a depressing realpolitik electoral brick wall for the Labour Party. The poll on the surface shows a continued – and growing – commitment to centrist politics by the population, represented by liberal wings of the Tory Party and Neoliberal Labour, more than likely bolstered by general apathy.

The prominence of the centre is hardly surprising given that it covers a wide range of opinions and periodically incorporates, and equally periodically abandons, policy from both the left and right. This flies in the face of the idea that the centre of the past couple of decades – based broadly on a socially liberal but economically conservative agenda typified by New Labour and the Cameron years – is over.Continue Reading

SOCIAL EQUALITY, NOT SOCIAL MOBILITY

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by Olivia Hanks

Theresa May’s indication earlier this month that she will reintroduce selective schooling has reignited the debate on ‘social mobility’. Tory backbenchers believe the secondary modern system (or the grammar school system, as they insist on calling it) was good for social mobility, but various reports support the opposite view, that selective schooling entrenches inequality. Of the tiny percentage of children from working class backgrounds who attended the old grammar schools, two-thirds did not manage to achieve three O-levels.Continue Reading

NOT SATISFIED, BUT IRATE – WHY STUDENTS MUST BOYCOTT THE NSS

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by Lucy Auger

Just last week, a key date in the university calendar fell for another year – the release of the results of the National Student Survey (NSS). The NSS, completed by thousands of final year undergraduate students each year, is a data collection tool that is used to promote competition and rank student satisfaction in universities across the country.Continue Reading

‘DEVOLUTION’ AND THE TRIUMPH OF TORY DOUBLESPEAK

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by Olivia Hanks

“Let local people decide!” urged George Osborne in his budget speech last summer, as he announced details of his plans for English devolution. What an excellent idea, as, on the face of it, almost everyone across the political spectrum agreed. Unfortunately, local people did not ask for devolution, had no say in deciding its form or content, were kept entirely in the dark about negotiations, and, in the case of East Anglia, are now to be ‘consulted’ on a deal of whose existence they are probably unaware and which, the Treasury has confirmed, there will be no opportunity to amend.

Report after report, from councils, public sector bodies and journalists, has enthused about the ‘golden opportunity’ to give local people a say in the decisions that affect them. Even those expressing serious reservations have praised the ‘principle’ of devolution — ignoring the glaring fact that when you examine the detail of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act, or of individual ‘deals’, this principle is conspicuous by its absence.Continue Reading