Was it nationalism wot won it?

As the early UK elections results started to confirm last Thursday’s exit poll predictions of an SNP landslide and overall Conservative victory in the 2015 General Election, Peter Mandelson was asked what went wrong for labour. His answer was that it was squeezed by two nationalisms – the SNP bringing Scottish nationalism into play north of the border while UKIP’s blue English nationalism took its toll elsewhere. And on Friday, as David Cameron reflected on the Conservative victory he stressed the need to bring together the nations of the United Kingdom. Given the...

Against resilience

‘Resilience’ has become a buzzword among a range of policy networks, wherein it serves as an ambition. People ought to become more resilient. The world is threatening: the economy, the climate and terrorism all figure as dangers against whose impacts we must resile. The fertile discourse of resilience spawns activity in research, policy development and service delivery. If we can educate our children to be resilient, if we can structure our communities to become resilient, we may survive a world of risk and then… And then what? This survivalist doctrine paradoxically...

Reminder: the budget deficit was not cau...

The ConDems incessantly justify cut after cut with reference to Labour’s supposed welfare profligacy. So maybe its time to remind ourselves why the budget deficit has increased dramatically… Here’s a useful graph (from the BBC) that shows the fluctuations in the budget deficit since the 1980s, with the deficit expressed as a proportion of GDP. Prudence was Gordon Brown’s watchword as Chancellor and when Labour came into power in ’97 they quickly turned their inherited deficit around. It creeps up again after the invasion and occupation of...

The ‘Big Society’ Needs Soci...

Jesse Norman MP was on last week’s Politics Weekly podcast at the Guardian talking about his new book on The Big Society (Indy review). He said that the Conservatives weren’t trying simply to shrink the state in order to replace it with the market, but instead wanted to harness and ‘unimaginable reserves of social energy’ to do good. This energy apparently exists in institutions outside of the state and the market: ‘the local church, the local school or even Manchester Football Club; the things that give people purpose and meaning’....

We fought the law… and won!

The European Court of Human Rights today issued its judgement on the case that Penny Quinton and I have been taking against the government over section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. They have agreed that this piece of legislation offends against Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and does not contain sufficient safeguards for members of the public. [1] The case stems from events in September 2003, when Penny and I were independently subject to stop and search under the Terrorism Act. We’d both been attending protests at the DSEi arms fair, myself...