Servitude: the way we work now

Exploitative work contracts have become the norm. Casual, ill-paid or unpaid work creates servitude. In such a climate actual slavery, though illegal, flourishes.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

Servitude: the way we work now

Exploitative work contracts have become the norm. Casual, ill-paid or unpaid work creates servitude. In such a climate actual slavery, though illegal, flourishes.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

Tory plans to deny patients the right to refuse treatment are an assault on human rights

The Conservative manifesto has announced that people on benefits who refuse treatment may have their benefits cut - but will professional ethics stop such a repellent policy?

Tenants in danger: the rise of eviction watches

Collective resistance to the erosion of housing rights is growing. We need to turn this into a national movement.

Against ad hocery: we need a more democratic approach to UK devolution

We need a process for determining devolution that is more considered, democratic and which tackles devolution in the context of the wider failings of the UK state.

Servitude: the way we work now

Exploitative work contracts have become the norm. Casual, ill-paid or unpaid work creates servitude. In such a climate actual slavery, though illegal, flourishes.

Why £8bn is a zombie figure that won't save the NHS

As the former boss of the NHS slams politicians for not addressing the financial 'black hole', will the pledged £8bn merely be used to pump prime further privatisation and cuts? The introduction to a series examining the parties' NHS manifesto pledges.

Universal Credit: the fantasy of a tidy world

The coalition presents its benefit reforms as fair, rational and efficient. For many, however, the world is not as ordered as those in power seem to imagine.  

Foreign aid is not dispensable. It’s the condition for a fairer future

UKIP among others treat foreign aid as if it were inconsequential charity. Cutting this budget, however, effects us all - rendering the world a more unequal place. 

NHS pledges - do even the politicians making them, believe them anymore?

Recent history suggests NHS pledges are there to be broken - or subverted. Perhaps voters would prefer less manifesto, and more information on the financial interests driving policy making. 

So much for free speech: Southampton University and the pro-Israel lobby

If our universities can’t stand up to the Israel lobby and uphold free speech, how will the international community ever stand up to the state of Israel and uphold international law?

Good Friday and the wait for a new politics in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's peace process may be upheld as an international "model", but it still has a long way to go in shifting identities away from tribalism and towards mutual recognition. 

BMA backs principles of NHS Reinstatement Bill to save NHS from destruction by market forces

As politicians squabble over NHS funding figures, the British Medical Association's Council has backed the principles of radical legislation which would get the costly 'market' out of the NHS.

What Dave, Vince and Ed don’t tell you about zero-hours contracts

Zero-hours contracts have existed for decades, so why are they suddenly a hot topic? Instead we need policies that tackle the wider problems of employer control and working-time insecurity.

OurKingdom rolling election blog

Asking the questions and covering the stories most media won't.

Scrutinising the Scrutineers: part 2

Infuriated by the BBC’s lack of coverage of its work, The European Scrutiny committee is at the centre of a discussion about the ‘limits’ of the corporation's independence. 

Scrutinising the Scrutineers: part 1

The European Scrutiny Committee has locked horns with the BBC, repeatedly accusing it of a pro-EU bias. Is the corporation’s editorial independence under threat? 

Democracy exists by the act of doing it: a meeting with Podemos in Manchester

A meeting with Podemos in Manchester provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of democracy and the need to challenge the undemocratic politics of 'DevoManc'.

Internet journalism and the rise of a new satire

With a general election just round the corner, we should be wary of those who try to silence British satirists.

The Public and the Public Interest

A journalism fund, financed by levying the profits of incumbent media companies, could transform local and investigative journalism in Britain. Such a move has the support of the public. 

Rule Britannia

Today’s parallel with feudal 1215 is the absolute dominance of a “collective monarchy”, combining the power not merely of the Westminster state but also of the corporate and financial institutions and their elites. 

The old order is dying, but refuses to go quietly

As the election approaches, the Tory press is becoming increasingly delusional.

Just how anti-war is Ed Miliband?

His supporters see in him an alternative to the Conservatives’ aggressive foreign policy, but Ed Miliband has repeatedly backed wars of choice to further his own career. 

Five things you should know about foreign policy this election

Half a century ago, the US Secretary of State Dean Acheson said that Britain “has lost its empire, but has yet to find a role”. The same is true today.

Even on its own terms Westminster journalism makes increasingly little sense

The elite world of Westminster journalism used to be irrelevant to people's lives. Now, as an election approaches, it can barely comprehend itself. 

Michael Fallon and Ed Miliband are both wrong about Trident

Westminster's pro-nuclear consensus is held together by irrational speculation about future threats. Trident must be decommissioned for the sake of life on our planet. 

Radical, that dirty word

Last night’s election debate in Scotland saw Patrick Harvie snubbed for being “too radical”. It is this kind of hubris that sustains our dystopian status quo. 

Coming to a university near you: casualisation through internal outsourcing

Warwick University’s new ‘Teach Higher’ initiative aims to centralise ‘casual’ academic work. This move will only exacerbate the problem of precarious labour in the university. 

What would a world without the BBC look like?

The author of the recent BBC history Pinkoes and Traitors responds to her critics, arguing for the book’s contemporary relevance. 

Writing the BBC: the perils of historiography

Jean Seaton’s book on BBC in the 70s and 80s has been widely faulted. But is there some intrinsic reason why writing histories of the BBC is so difficult?  

This Glaswegian kickboxer should be next UK Tory leader

She's one of the few people who could take the Conservatives out of their terminal decline - and save the union.

The BBC and the arms trade: a silent scandal

In its recent appointments to the BBC Trust, the government has deeply associated our public broadcaster with the arms trade. Why aren’t we talking about this?

The Great Charter of Liberties

Looking at the distance between the Westminster parliamentary system and those to whom elected representatives are ultimately accountable, the Chartists had a point – in fact, at least six points.

Video debate: the housing crisis - a very British disease.

Would we be more innovative and prosperous if property was not a national obsession?

Being 'MargaretHodged'

Hodge, chair of Britain's PAC, attacks individuals and organisations with the impunity afforded by parliamentary privilege. What happens when she gets it wrong? Nothing.

The newspapers are preparing for a coup, and Labour is doing nothing to stop them

Britain's constitution is being re-written in Daily Mail and Telegraph headlines to keep Labour out; and Labour's Jim Murphy is helping them.

Danger, overcrowding, no time to talk: a UK prison officer speaks out

Government reforms put prisoners and staff at risk. A frontline officer talks to Prison UKs Alex Cavendish. (See also How to survive in prison, by a former inmate).

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