Digital rights and freedoms: Part 1

Under the rubric of state security on the one hand and commercial openness on the other, we are being lulled into an online world of fear and control where our every move is monitored in order to more efficiently manage us. See Part 2.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
Flickr/stephenjjohnson. Some rights reserved.

Digital rights and freedoms: Part 1

Under the rubric of state security on the one hand and commercial openness on the other, we are being lulled into an online world of fear and control where our every move is monitored in order to more efficiently manage us. See Part 2.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
Flickr/stephenjjohnson. Some rights reserved.

When judges disagree - the ECHR and British sovereignty

Although Conservatives cite Lord Judge in support of repealing the human rights act, his actual position on the matter undermines their case for repeal.

Child locked up ‘by mistake’ for 62 days at adult immigration jail

  • New report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons on Campsfield House, run by outsourcer Mitie, reveals:
  • • 16 year old detained ‘by mistake’
  • • Torture victims held in defiance of Home Office rules
  • • Dirty, overcrowded accommodation

The 2015 general election in Britain - free and fair?

Majoritarian voting systems and parliaments are a terrible way to govern pluralist societies - here are some simple ideas that could do a far better job. We should be considering them.

Labour NHS plan outrages privatisers

Labour's new plans to reduce private profiteering in the NHS have triggered a vicious counter-attack in the Tory press. Labour must ignore them - and do more to convince campaigners of its intent to protect and restore the NHS. 

Change? How? England arises…

We are now clearly in the middle of a "constitutional moment" and those who want a new settlement for the country are beginning to stir and take action. How can you get involved, and what's coming up?

The Work Programme, people and economy: part 2

The second of a four part series on the government's controversial welfare reforms.

Video debate: is paying tax a moral duty?

Labour politican Diane Abbot, philosopher Jamie Whyte and former Liberal Democrat minister Chris Huhne debate a current heresy.

A locum A&E doctor speaks out about the silent privatisation of the NHS workforce

As MPs highlight soaring NHS spend on agency and locum staff, why is the government privatising its own in-house locum agency?

Basic income – transforming benefits in the era of the precariat

The time has come to seriously consider basic income - the current system of coercive sanctions and meagre benefits is not fit for purpose.

Why Dara still speaks to us today

Though centuries old, the play Dara has much to offer in relation to today's events.

We need more engineers, fewer bankers and estate agents

Blair's revolution failed. We now have many graduates failing to get a suitable job. All the while the UK's trade gap worsens. If we want an economy of production rather than service then the government must step in.

Brittan’s neoliberal legacy

In much of the gushing coverage of Brittan's legacy little mention is made of his role in breaking open the EU to business demands - TTIP is the latest stage of that project.

Suzanne Moore is wrong about the Greens - they are plainly left wing

A quick examination of their policies shows a Green party hard to reconcile with Moore's description.

What's really causing the A&E crisis - and how can we fix it?

Singularly stupid 'marketising' policies have caused our A&E crisis - and none of the main parties have fully grasped what needs doing to fix it.  

Useful work and useless ideas

The lives of most people are far removed from the concerns of the metropolitan coteries of influence, wealth and power. A good society would value useful work above the squandering of human and capital resources on meaningless schemes.

In defence of the Human Rights Act - laws must change with society

The law must adapt to remain relevant. The changing interpretation of human rights is entirely in line with our best legal traditions.

The ‘old and nasty’ left is not going away – and a British Syriza will need it

In the wake of Syriza’s victory, hopes for a ‘new left’ must rest on a serious renewal of ideas, not a rhetorical battle against “old” socialism.

William Blake: apprentice and master

While the English language is gifted with many great poets, William Blake was alone in writing so simply, and so powerfully, and so unforgettably. Now a new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum is celebrating his visual and literary work in tandem. 

The arguments against proportional representation have melted away

First Past the Post was designed for a previous era. We must change all of our politics - but the voting system first.

Why the UK needs improved caretaker conventions before the election

In 2010, the UK’s underspecified caretaker conventions caused the “Squatter in Downing Street” controversy, when Gordon Brown remained in office after Labour’s election defeat, and the country still lacks adequate rules to govern caretaker situations.

Could students swing the general election? No, obviously they can’t – and neither can badgers.

The election strategies of “modernised” unions and NGOs are becoming increasingly futile. We need to create mayhem to move the ground from under politicians, not fight on their terrain.

Defending the status quo: Labour and leftist responses to the Green Surge

Shouts of "you'll let the Tories in!" are again doing the rounds, will it ever be acceptable to vote for a lefty party that isn't Labour?

Red state, red power: Nebraska’s publicly-owned electricity system

Nebraska's energy is all publicly owned, yet it blows away the myth that public ownership is inherently inefficient, bureaucratic or unresponsive.

'Respect' for religion is often simply tyranny backed by violence

The monotheistic religions have a rich history of slaughter and butchery. Far better that we try to respect each other as human beings.

Democracy Day: we’ve got to break free

A real democratic energy is building-up in the United Kingdom but the existing system doesn’t seem able to vent or channel this demand for fresh thinking about how we live our lives.

Multilateralism: is the end in sight?

The P5 process was a British attempt to spark multilateral nuclear disarmament. It should no longer be accepted as an excuse for inaction.  

Campaigning at home is the route to tackling poverty abroad

Tax avoidance costs developing countries billions every year. So this week 16 domestic and internationally focused organisations have joined forces to launch a campaign for a Tax Dodging Bill.

Churchillism

The 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death brought forth a spasm of second-rate musings and hagiographical blather about the great man by the London media, but little understanding of the transformation of Britain which, despite himself, he personified. Here, by contrast, is the 1982 analysis of Anthony Barnett.

The Big Society - the passing of Cameron's dream

This was the government's revolutionary idea, its guiding light. Now, the government seems to have given up on it. What can we learn from the final audit of the 'big society'? The audit's primary author explains.

How many judicial review cases are received by UK government departments?

Government insists judicial challenges are now so frequent that they must be curbed in law. But the numbers don't seem to back this up.

The Work Programme, people and economy: what's happening?

A four part series on the government's controversial welfare reforms.

Let’s talk about prisoner rape and sex behind bars

Government complacency puts prisoner safety and public health at risk.

Prevent and anti-extremism education

In fact, the removal of the ‘duty to promote community cohesion’ in schools from the UK's Ofsted inspection regime sent a very clear signal.

What 'austerity' has done to Greek healthcare

The shocking 'austerity'-imposed destruction of Greece's once proud healthcare system is a key reason Greeks have turned to Syriza, finds London GP Louise Irvine in an eye witness account. 

Diagnosing the daily poison

We must see the tabloid right as a target in the battle for a better society.

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