Is the General Power of Competence helping grassroots communities?

The Localism Act gives councils a ‘General Power of Competence’ (GPoC) allowing them the same legal powers as private individuals.  But are they using these freedoms in ways that benefit grassroots localities?

Leon Brittan and Channel 4: an unsung role

A role not mentioned so far in the obituaries. In memoriam.

Domestic slavery in Britain “worse than Saudi Arabia”?

This week, 200 years after Britain abolished slavery, the UK’s domestic labour laws have been unfavourably compared to a country in the top ten for human rights abuse

Magna Carta can still challenge the orthodoxy and help resolve today’s democratic difficulties

What influence does Magna Carta, signed 800 years ago at Runnymede by King John, continue to have over UK democracy and governance? A lot.

What we must learn from Podemos, and the Lib Dems

Truly radical change will only come when radical parties accept that they need to give power back to the people - not as a slogan but as a democratic process.

Video debate - Owning the world

Companies now own forms of life and fewer people own more and more. Is it time to consider radical limits to ownership in search of a fairer, more equal society?

Being in the same room with Mike Marqusee

A journalist's salute to a man who was more than a writer. In memoriam.

Davos Myth 2: Big business runs things better

Political elites say they love the private sector because it’s so much more efficient than the public sector. In truth, the private sector only works by scrounging billions of pounds of public money in the form. It is the corporate elite, not the poor, who are the real scroungers.

Magna Carta: what prospects for a Precariat Charter?

The events surrounding the signing of Magna Carta 800 years ago may sound more familiar to readers than they might expect...

Maurice Saatchi, his Medical Innovation Bill, and the booming ‘orphan drugs’ market

Maurice Saatchi's Medical Innovation Bill is more likely to make its proposer money than it is to help anyone who's sick.

Davos Myths: Myth 1: The poor are getting richer

Inequality doesn’t matter: the poor are getting richer. This is the fantasy the elite at Davos want us to believe. In reality, while executive pay soars, there are more people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa than ever before. The first in a series of Davos Myths.

Happy to do business with a prison service that flogs, stones and beheads its inmates?

Chris Grayling and the Ministry of Justice, through their “commercial brand” Just Solutions international, expect to make millions helping the Saudi prison service.

Why wait for government permission for a convention?

Lee Waters sets out the Institute of Welsh Affairs' plans to hold a ‘crowd sourced’ Constitutional Convention.

Troubled TTIP isn't the only 'trade' takeover busting our sovereignty

Even as controversial 'trade' deal, TTIP, sputters, other deals to give corporations as much power as countries are being negotiated even more secretively. 

The 2008 crisis and the role of exchange rates and trade flows

The 2008 crash wasn't simply a financial crisis. We must also look at the wider economics imbalances which had built up and which directly contributed to the unstable state of the world's finances.

Farewell Magna Carta: the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

A new law being rushed through Westminster with little scrutiny is a direct attack on our freedom.

Adam Curtis in the emperor's new clothes

Curtis has the glorious bounty of the entire BBC archives at his fingertips, he ranges across continents and across decades, and which voice dominates all of his programmes? The omnipotent narrator.

Capita death: Ombudsman exposed problems that Coroner failed to address, family says

Tahir Mehmood, aged 43, died in a commercially-run immigration lockup at Manchester Airport. The Coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes. A report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman tells a more troubling story.

Leader debates: Cameron’s calculations

The broadcasters can't "empty chair" the Prime Minister - he may well get what he wants.

Coroner finds Capita detainee died of natural causes at Manchester immigration lock-up

Tahir Mehmood’s family stunned by poor quality of medical care when detainee complained of chest pains.

Green membership overtakes Lib Dems and UKIP. Here's 13 reasons why.

Today, membership of the Green parties in the UK overtook that of the Lib Dems - only hours after it had overtaken UKIP. Here are 13 reasons for this astounding growth.

‘Prevent’ in education within Hampshire

Prevent, a counter-terrorism programme, is a success in Portsmouth, where delivery took the significance of identity for young people into account. It can’t deal with events which can’t be prevented.

Misinformed expert or misinformation network?

Terrorism "expert" Steve Emerson is more than a comic buffoon. His claims about no-go zones for non-Muslims in European cities are just part of a wealthy network spreading Islamophobia across the west.

Can a constitutional convention offer real and radical change?

Speaking with experience of the Irish convention, if done right they can produce real, lasting change.

If the constitution is to be codified it must be reformed

We must grasp this moment to not simply codify the "constitution" we already have, but to make sensible and principled reforms - the system is buckling.

How UKIP might save a generation from apathy

Along with the Greens, polls show that the rise of UKIP could see a surge in turnout among the youth vote in this year's general election. For the first time in a while there seems to be genuine 'choice'. This is a good thing.

Does the European Commission understand NO?

Despite an overwhelming rejection from the public, the European Commission wants to plough ahead with the EU/US Trade Deal.

Hinchingbrooke - why did England's privatised hospital deal REALLY collapse?

Shocking examples of poor care are the real reason Circle withdrew from running Hinchingbrooke Hospital - they've got their eyes on easier ways to privatise the NHS, anyway.

State of hate: Britain's far right is in crisis

The organised far right in Britain is weaker than ever before, though potentially more violent.

Why Paris will happen again if we rely on empathy and outrage

Despite the strong support for ‘free speech ‘from politicians in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders not a single proposal has come forward. The only response has been to re-double security.

Another note on party memberships in the UK

The Green Party looks set to overtake UKIP next week (update - the Green Party is now bigger than UKIP), the SNP will soon pass 100,000 and the far right has collapsed.

Forget parties, we need a system of 'issue based politics'

We should elect ministers directly, give them a substantial slice of votes, and combine their votes with those of other ministers, other elected representatives, and also direct votes from the public. What might this look like in practice?

The EU's giant and secretive deregulation blitz

It is not just TTIP, across the board the EU is bowing to business pressure to do away with 'burdensome' regulation - regulation that tends to save lives, protect consumers and ensure standards.

Three signs that privatised rail is unsustainable

Railway privatisation has failed. It's time to put the public in charge.

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