This week's guest editors

Book review - The Blunders of our Governments

Modern governments of all stripes screw up too often.  A new study of their blunders suggests that ‘strong government’, traditionally the great strength of the governing system, is to blame.  Let’s hear it for deliberative democracy.

The politics of 'regeneration' in Euston

It is absurd to replace inadequate housing for the poor with adequate housing for the poor - let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. Shiny regeneration will shift them out to somewhere they can afford and provide great opportunities for property speculation to boot. This is London, after all.

Book review: A Quiet Word

This book shines a bright light on the murky dealings surrounding politics, PR, big business and journalism, but the real issue it uncovers may not be lobbying but rather the dire state of our democracy.

Free event: After the Party? The future of and beyond the mass party

In collaboration with OurKingdom, the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life at Birkbeck are hosting a free debate on April 24 about the future of mass party politics - is radical reform needed, or will we move beyond parties completely?

Let's forget about EU reforms

Those who bet their political career on EU reforms are likely to return from Brussels with little to show to their voters. It is time to embark on a more realistic European agenda.

Justice for asylum seekers: Back to the drawing board, Ms May

The British High Court has found the level of support given to asylum seekers ‘flawed’: a political calculation rather than an assessment of what constitutes an essential living need. We must force reason back into the system, says Sile Reynolds.

Law or compassion? The deportation of teenagers

In the past 5 years, over 500 young people who migrated as lone children have been removed after spending their formative years in the UK. We have a responsibility for their long term safety and flourishing, says Emily Bowerman.

UKIP is closer to the left than many think

UKIP is a work in progress. Its membership is among the most receptive to policies which many see as left wing, and its structure will almost inevitably encourage policy initiatives which reflect this. A new book, ‘Revolt on the right, has started the process of making this understood.

Muslims in prison: over-representation and under-reformation

Much more work needs to be done in understanding and interpreting the high rates of Muslim incarceration and re-offending in Britain as the picture is more complex than some suggest.

Why we should all be alarmed about our new university 'businesses' and their enforcers

As has become clear, the universities are colluding with police and even the unions to clamp down on student protest and workers' demands. There is a common strand that links these elements, and the overall picture is deeply alarming.

Scotland, independence and the EU elections

The European election is the last major political set piece event in the UK before Scotland votes on its constitutional future. Who wins that vote could have a profound impact on the country.

Lords impede UK citizen-stripping move

In the latest episode in the UK government’s attempts to extend its power to strip UK citizens of their nationality, the House of Lords has thrown a spanner in the works.

Creating a culture of participation

As part of our series of interviews with practitioners and activists, Participation Now researcher Hilde C. Stephansen spoke to Mikey Weinkove of The People Speak, an artists’ collective that creates ‘tools for the world to take over itself’. Their many projects include Talkaoke, a mobile talk show, and Who Wants To Be?, an ask-the-audience game show.

Sex workers in democratic societies

While there are certainly gendered imbalances in the actual structures of current sex markets, these imbalances are created, reinforced and strengthened not by sex work itself but by laws criminalizing sex work and by treating sex workers as second-class citizens without rights.

In praise of the 'economically illiterate' academic

University staff are now being drilled to see their work as part of a great financial machine to generate revenue, much of which is then absorbed in astronomical salaries for senior staff. Is this really what we want for our universities?

Barton Moss: policing in the absence of democracy

Violence has been a running theme within the policing of anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss. Individual officers are acting with impunity. Is this reflective of a policing strategy seeking to disrupt the protests on behalf of vested interests?

The drone-casualty-law-civic nexus

The issue of civilian casualties from armed-drone strikes in Afghanistan and elsewhere needs transparency from Britain's military establishment. Both legal and civic pressures are rising.

Taking responsibility for Friern Barnet Community Library

“Barnet claims to know what people want.  But if you go into some of the libraries in Barnet, I would have to say that they probably don’t know what people want.” Nick Mahony talks to the Chair of Trustees of a library saved by occupation for the community in north London.

A call to action in memory of the woman I never knew

At least 20 people have died in immigration detention in the UK: how many more must die before the UK changes its detention policy? The public must shout louder, says Eiri Ohtani. 

Complaints Choir: what is it?

"This project stays dynamic when people take the Complaints Choir as a tool and make use of it in their own context and modify it. That’s the spirit of open source." Hilde C. Stephansen interviews the founders of the choir for Participation Now.

Changing public opinion through direct action

“Starbucks felt so pressured by the public that they felt obliged to pay £20,000,000 to the HMRC.” Our series of interviews with activists and practitioners who organise public participation initiatives speaks next to Sarah Kwei from UK Uncut, the direct action group that works to raise awareness of tax avoidance and austerity cuts through creative forms of protest.

Death at Yarl’s Wood: Women in mourning, women in fear

On Sunday morning a 40 year old woman died at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire, England. Jennifer Allsopp spoke, via telephone, to a woman in Yarl’s Wood who knew her.

Refugee women in the UK: Pushing a stone into the sea

From personal experience I know that arrival in the UK for asylum seekers does not signal safety, but reform is a ‘chaser game’: refugee women are pressuring the Home Office to improve decision making and end detention, says Beatrice Botomani.

Organising today: stewarding and responding to ‘the people’

38 degrees aims to bring people together to take action on the issues that matter to them. As part of our series of interviews with practitioners, Participation Now researcher Nick Mahony talked to Becky Jarvis and Rebecca Falcon at the 38 Degrees office in London about their work.

It is bust, so fix it: time to discuss the basic income

Witnessing first hand the problems in our current system of welfare payments, basic income has many attractions. But are the alleged pitfalls justified?

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