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If it ain’t broken Britain, don’t fix it

There’s a very important leader in The Economist this week that takes David Cameron (and a youthful Tony Blair) to task for the claim that Britain is broken. It uses a broad sweep of statistics to show that Britain’s social problems are not as bad as they once were and that the situation is getting…

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Gordon speaks

I attended Gordon Brown’s speech for the ippr this morning and it was pretty hard not to be impressed. The Prime Minister’s often accused of being stiff but he spoke passionately about the need to make politics the focus for people’s idealism and about the power of politics to resolve conflict and drive progress. He…

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Beyond Belief

In its report Beyond Tolerance: Making sexual orientation a public matter the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) recommends that local authorities and all other public agencies survey their staff and users of public services to ascertain the respondents sexual orientation. This is a potentially huge undertaking. It could involve surveying millions of citizens and…

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An end to national pay bargaining?

An interesting report was launched to day by the think tank Centre Forum. In More Than We Bargained For, Professor Alison Wolf argues that national wage bargaining in the public sector is damaging and should be replaced by individual contracts. The argument in essence is that public services in wealthy areas are unable to recruit…

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Boom? What boom?

The oft-quoted phrase is that the economic party is over and we’re now left nursing the hangover. But, on closer inspection, it doesn’t appear to have been much of a party at all. Researchers at Manchester University have today presented a pretty stark portrait of the boom. They show that the booming finance sector provided…

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Bad Boy Boris

Boris Johnson, London Mayor has today announced an increase in business taxes for all London businesses with revenues in excess of £55,000. The charge will apply from April 2010 across all thirty three London Boroughs. This increase represents the full two pence in the pound increase on business rates he is allowed to levy. The…

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Citizen empowerment: John Denham’s speech on the Labour vision

Unlock Democracy held the second in a series of lectures in the run up to the election about ‘Citizenship Empowerment’ yesterday. The first, in November was given by Oliver Letwin who gave the Conservative take on empowerment, and yesterday, John Denham gave Labour’s vision for the agenda. John Denham outlined that Labour strongly believe that…

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Cameron, character and councils

It’s taken me a while to get around to blogging about David Cameron’s speech on character and responsibility at the launch of the Demos Character Inquiry last week. But it’s worth returning to because it was a serious and compelling speech which gave a crucial insight into Cameron’s political philosophy while indicating that this narrative…

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Labour changes Leader: where next for LGA Labour

UPDATE on 2nd March:  Dave Sparks has been elected.  Original post below Talk of a Labour leadership contest, with all the backbiting, plots, and attempted coups, centres on a position that is not, at present, vacant.  But while Gordon Brown stands firm, a vacancy has arisen for the position of Labour’s leader in local government.   Jeremy Beecham is…

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2010: localism and governing ‘with the people’

The body politic faces two overarching and intertwined challenges in 2010 and beyond. The first is to begin to restore the public’s trust in the people they elect. The memory of the parliamentary expenses scandal will linger long in the public consciousness. Councillors can rebuild the political system by establishing strong local foundations, through honest…

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