Does democracy have to be political?

This is by way of a polemic – I expect people to disagree but I also hope it strikes a chord. I can’t be the only one who has been struck by the way in which the people getting involved with the community clear-ups after the riots have been so keen to state that their […]

Co-creation and democracy: reflections from SIX

This post was written by Corline van Es and Anthony Zacharzewski What’s the connexion between co-creation and democracy? Earlier this week we joined the SIX Spring School in Amsterdam to discuss “co-creating democracy”. It was two fascinating days full of interesting lectures. However, we were left with the sense that discussions on co-creating public services […]

Pickles Unreasonableness

Here’s a strange pronouncement from Eric Pickles, reported in the Guardian: In what was seen as a marked change of stance, the minister [Pickles] said he was willing to block [voluntary sector] cuts that did not meet a test of reasonableness by inserting provision in the localism bill, currently going through parliament. It’s no surprise by […]

The deceptive beauty of technology

As I write this, I’m on a TGV heading down the Rhône valley towards Barcelona and the Personal Democracy Forum, which takes place next week. The tunnels and trains that can bring me from London to Barcelona in twelve hours are an amazing technological achievement, and also in their own way rather beautiful, as anyone who has seen a TGV streaking through the French countryside would appreciate.

Winter of what?

Lots of shouting about trade union influence in the Labour party today.

In thinking about how people respond to stories of union-led chaos, it’s worth remembering that the Winter of Discontent is outside the political memory of most people of voting age (though, due to differential voter turnout, not quite outside the memory of the majority of voters).

In 2015, when the next election is due, potential voters who were sixteen or over during the winter of discontent will be outnumbered 62:38 by those who were younger or weren’t born.

When is £14,000 more than £50m? When one’s in a press release and one isn’t

High-impact campaigning organisation the Taxpayers’ Alliance are in a right old tizz about EU flags. Yes, those bits of cloth with the blue and gold are an outrageous affront to the British taxpayer, costing £14,003 over five years – an outrageous £2,800.60 per year.

In case you are wondering, £2,800.60 per year is 0.00002% of the UK’s annual budget deficit.

But of course it’s the thought that counts, and in this case the thought is the usual mystical mishmash of Churchill complex, free market dogma and nationalism that could be called “Euroscepticism”, if sceptic weren’t a word that implied rationality and logic.

If the Taxpayers’ Alliance were really serious about European-level financial waste, they might look into the question of how much it costs the British Government to appease the Daily Mail by staying out of the Schengen agreement and maintaining our internal border with other EU countries.