UK watchdog takes another bite out of failing outsourcer G4S

Commercial outsourcers fail and fail again. Privatisation hurtles on. The Public Accounts Committee has been interrogating executives and civil servants about the degradation of asylum housing in England.

The nasty country? Debating immigration in the UK

A new Bill removes most grounds of appeal for immigration decisions, excludes undocumented migrants from the rental market, turns landlords into immigration police and extends charges for NHS care. On Monday 10 February Lords debated the proposals.

Caroline Lucas MP is wrong: the Public Service Users Bill is a bad idea

We need to get rid of the unfair advantages enjoyed by the privatisers but let’s not undermine democracy in a different way instead with more diktats from central government.

Another village is possible

Do you ever wonder what a town based on the principles of solidarity, cooperation and autonomy might look like? Marinaleda, Spain offers a taste, and Dan Hancox’ new book about it, The Village Against the World, offers an accessible, balanced and inspiring peek into what a microcosm of a better world could look like.

 

A tribute to Stuart Hall

Jeremy Gilbert reflects on the life and work of Stuart Hall, who died Monday aged 82.

What climate change denier Owen Paterson needs to learn about science

The UK environment minister pretends global warming isn’t happening. Advisers should put a new report from Medact on his reading list.

Don't Spy On Us - The day we fight back

A global day of action under the banner Don't Spy On Us against mass surveillance takes place on Tuesday 11 February 2014. The UK's GCHQ is an important contributor to the various programmes of bulk data intelligence gathering organised by America's NSA. Now an alliance of British organisations has come together to support Don't Spy On Us.

Seldon's proposals for school reform are fundamentally flawed

The British education system reflects long-standing social division. A recent Social Market Foundation paper proposes reforms  combining variations of previous attempts with radical marketisation of state education. Is a better functioning market the way to improve access to good schools, or will it only entrench the status quo?

‘Blokes don’t need help’

Men are more likely to be criminal, violent, alcoholic and suicidal. That’s their own fault, right? Last weekend’s Being a Man festival revealed a world that has turned its back on men’s problems.

On (not) telling the Scots what to do

To be free of Westminster's distant and venal elite is something the English should support - if the Scots can manage it, perhaps one day England might too.

The perils and pitfalls of patriotic history

War is said to be too serious a business to be left to the soldiers. By the same token, military history is too serious to be left to the politicians. When politicians pontificate about the past it is rarely in the disinterested pursuit of a complex truth.

The battle for Britain and why Alex Salmond and Independence has already won

Even if the vote is a No, independence is now a firm and plausible option which won't go away.

This treaty isn't about 'trade' - it's a fight for public services everywhere

Defeated in Seattle and Doha, US and EU corporations are once more trying to stitch up the global economy in the name of 'trade' - with our public services the biggest prize.

Hunt seeks to shed his duty to keep our medical data safe

Ministers dodge Labour grilling on the care.data controversy.

Torture – Strasbourg upholds immunity of state officials

The British and European courts have granted Saudi state officials who tortured British citizens immunity from prosecution. It's time to change the law so this can't happen again.

Small earthquake in Britain - devastates the economy

The 50p tax rate would apparently have minimal impact but also be devastating to the UK economy. It's worth recalling similar arguments made against the 1981 proposal for a maximum salary cap of four times average wage.

The Snowden Files: so much more than state surveillance

A new book on 'the most spectacular intelligence breach ever' falls short of interrogating what the surveillance industrial complex is doing to our societies, to our politics and to our minds.

Trade deals - is the mood turning?

Political sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic is turning against anti-democratic trade deals - but high geopolitical and financial stakes means we shouldn’t expect those pushing the deals to give in gracefully.

Taking democracy seriously demands that we identify and address the danger of oligarchy

What institutions do we need to secure our freedom from the danger of oligarchy? From Machiavelli to modern Brazil, there is much to learn...

Why we must get it right for every child in Scotland

Does the Scottish Government's proposed Children and Young People Bill represent an "unacceptable intrusion on liberty" that "could actually harm the state's ability to track genuinely at risk children", as Mel Kelly argued on OurKingdom last week? Barnardo’s Scotland argues that the proposals in fact represent a progressive model of universal services and early intervention.

Why the universities strikes are about more than just a ‘measly’ pay offer

It's not just the money, it's the direction our marketised universities are taking - enormous rewards at the top combined with a race to the bottom approach for all other staff, and a system of fees that is exacerbating inequality. It's wrong and we oppose it.

Politics as a vocation in a post-democratic age

A lecture first given at Warwick University on how we should think about political leadership in contemporary democracies, against a background of declining participation in representative democracy, increased concentrations of economic and political power, and challenges to public bureaucracies.

Over by Christmas – the non-debate that is BBC Charter renewal

Who is talking about BBC Charter renewal? Relatively few people. And it’s not too soon to start.

Wi’ the haill voice

With roots in Scotland but living in England, the author looks north, and discovers a nation finding its whole voice.

‘Do as I say, not as I do!’: Why radicalism requires self-awareness

Organisations which claim to challenge or seek to change the power structures of society too often mimic those power structures in their own organisations.

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