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

Why don’t politicians answer the question?

Though they may think it a sound strategy in the short term, in the long term it degrades politics and fuels apathy and, in turn, a lurch towards the political 'outsiders' - like Nigel Farage.

A call for better prison policy in a time of austerity

As prisoner numbers soar in England and Wales MPs express grave concerns about rising suicides and increased assaults.

Journalism for sale: can media overcome the corruption now threatening the newsroom?

Peter Oborne's revelations were just the tip of the iceberg. Corporate influence runs deep in the media.

Welcome to the echo chamber

From Reuters to the BBC the future of journalism is being presented as cyber-utopia. For many in the industry, though, the reality is of poor quality content fuelled by dodgy ethics. 

FAQs: Staffordshire Cancer Privatisation

What's really going on with the Stafford cancer privatisation? Documents were leaked to Kate Godfrey - here she answers your questions.

Leak reveals worrying truth behind the biggest NHS privatisation yet

A leak obtained exclusively by OurNHS reveals deeply worrying details of one of the largest NHS privatisations yet - the proposed privatisation of cancer care in the Staffordshire area.

Meet the UK’s latest weapon against organised crime and asylum seekers

Tools and rhetoric designed to combat terrorism and serious crime are being deployed against asylum seekers and people who work with them.

The Met lose on water cannon - for now

News that the Met won't be allowed to use their water cannon is welcome - but may not be the end of the story.

Sweets Way evictions: building community in resistance

As a housing estate is evicted in Barnet, a community is brought together in resistance.

UK activists prevent deportation of Afghan migrants

Activists "put their bodies on the line" to delay a deportation flight to 'unsafe' Afghanistan.

Public health concerns mount as 'personal health budgets' imposed on 10,000 chronically ill patients

Patients across the country are to have their health funding rolled into their social care funding and be expected to manage both themselves. Is this empowerment, or something more sinister, health experts wonder?

"Nobody has a God given right to be heard": an interview with John Humphrys

John Humphrys, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, gives his view on the changing world of journalism and the challenges facing young people who wish to enter the industry. 

May 2015: Who forms the UK government in the event of a hung parliament?

The polls predict a hung parliament after the May 2015 election. More than one potential government could be viable. How will negotiations proceed? Which actors will have a privileged role in the bargaining process?

Trident: weak defence

The Conservative-led government of austerity Britain is facing the sacrifice of its sacred cow of high military spending—to preserve the even more precious elephant in the room: the UK’s ‘independent’ nuclear weapon.

Wolf Hall is a history lesson in power

Wolf Hall depicts the dehumanizing effects of power pursued for its own sake. Acting without impunity, irresponsible power undermines common morality for selfish motives. Jimmy Savile is a case in point.

What have we lost in the shift from cigarettes to smartphones?

The transition from cigarettes to phones highlights wider social shifts that the digital age of late capitalism has ushered in.

How eBay and Gumtree are strangling journalism

The collapse of classified adverts has left journalism at the whim of corporate cash.

Here’s the tool – now start the job and save our NHS

There must be no horse-trading over the future of the NHS - that is why the NHS Bill presented in parliament today is so important.

Localism: a tale of GVAs, grandees and The Guardian (but not much greenery)

Will localism form part of the forthcoming election manifestos? If so, what exactly? Some early indications on the Coalition side.

Are self-builds the solution to London’s housing crisis?

Self-build schemes can be empowering in so many ways. We need to renew and expand on the self-build legacy.

Michael Sheen - the NHS "is about as powerful a symbol of goodness as we have"

In a passionate St David's Day speech in defence of the NHS, actor Michael Sheen tells politicians "Stand up for what you believe - but first of all, by God, believe in something". Reproduced here by kind permission of the actor.

#DevoNorth and #DevoManc

A new campaign wants to put the 'DevoManc' proposal to a referendum of the people of Greater Manchester. It is one sign of a growing desire to put the people, rather than politicians, in control.

The making of the Greater Manchester mayor - what next?

The creation of a new elected mayor for Greater Manchester takes further forward a decade of constructive innovation - but there are crucial issues of inclusion and public engagement which must be got right.

Could Ministry of Justice & Grayling be prosecuted for manslaughter over prison suicides?

In just 12 months, 89 prisoners in England and Wales took their own lives. What is the government doing about it?  

The law of the forest and the freedom of the streets

The forest idea is not based on centre-periphery economies and spatial hierarchies, but on equitable networks of livelihood and exchange. It embodies many historic associations with freedom and social justice.

The ‘Election Debates’ debate: is legislation the answer?

Ed Miliband has promised legislation that would see regulators imposing a debate structure at future general elections. Could it work? And is that the best answer? 

The BBC's imaginary crossroads

Tony Hall’s speech on March 2 was full of invented threats. This was a denial of the imminent need for change: the BBC needs rivals and the UK needs more voices. 

One Bradford woman’s journey out of horror, into the light

When Naz Shah told her mother that she wanted to stand for Parliament they both knew that a terrible story from 22 years ago would resurface.

Homo liber, homo idioticus

What can a document sorting out ruling class differences 800 years ago be used for? David Carpenter’s Magna Carta with a New Commentary is a book about documents, which is both its glory and its downfall.

The UK's constitutional future: a view from the US

A leading US constitutional lawyer and political scientist asks if the UK is moving towards federalism, making the need for a written constitution imperative. If so, how to decide on a written constitution?

Misdirection at the Chilcot Inquiry

The Inquiry shows us that when asked a difficult question there is nearly always a way to deflect responsibility.

Yarl’s Wood: legal black hole

Women in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre have become increasingly desperate as repeated rounds of legal aid cuts introduced by the UK Government have made it more difficult for them to access justice.

One bath for 12 women and 11 babies: UK asylum housing by G4S

On a suburban street in Leeds, security company G4S packs 23 women and children into one house with a single bathroom.

British universities and the prevalence of 'bad governance'

As universities embrace their for-profit role they have adopted practices which would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

Charities help out the NHS… or do they?

Labour's offer this week of 'NHS preferred provider' status to voluntary sector organisations raises some fundamental questions about their role in today's world.

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