Danny Dorling on Rev Paul Nicolson, the housing crisis and hope for the future

Following our successful event on The Future of Social Justice held in association with the Bristol Festival of Ideas at University of Bristol on Monday, here is the full speech from Danny Dorling, one of the speakers.

Looking at the impact of changing housing policy over the years, and recent months, Danny points the way towards creating a fairer future and good quality housing for all.

Danny Dorling

Danny Dorling

“Margaret Thatcher’s government sowed the seeds of today’s housing crisis when it abandoned rent regulation in the private sector.

Those seeds were watered by the administrations of John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg who failed to realise the extent of the growing disaster that they were all nurturing. The results are the bitter harvest that it falls on Theresa May’s government to reap: rising homelessness, fear, destitution and dismay. The housing crisis will not end until homes are again seen as places to grow people, not profit. [1]

 

“The housing crisis will not end until homes are again seen as places to grow people, not profit.”

Inequality, towards equality… and back again

I want to talk to you tonight about Paul Nicholson, the retired vicar who created a group that published nine blogs on the housing crisis in the last few months. He named the group “Taxpayers Against Poverty” as everyone pays taxes and the poor pay most through VAT, and to contrast with “The TaxPayers Alliance” which was created by Mathew Elliot in 2004. Mathew later became Chief Executive Officer of the Brexit Leave campaign.

Paul Nicolson is 84 years old [2]. Born on 10th May 1932, for most of his life Paul saw the battle for better housing being won again and again. He was a child in an era when most people rented privately, when most housing was overcrowded, when many people lived in slums and the UK was incredibly economically unequal.

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Paul Nicolson

In 1937, when Paul was five years old, the best-off 1% of the population, which then included many landlords, took 17% of all national income. Of every six shillings received by anyone earning in the UK, one went to this tiny parasitic group of people, and most of what was left went to those who were almost as well off as them. The vast majority of people in Britain were poor and their greatest expense was the rent.

In 1957, when Paul was 25 years old, the best-off 1% only took 9% of all national income. A great transformation had taken place and it had begun before Paul was even born. Rents had been regulated since 1915 and so the takings of landlords fell throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Slums were cleared to the ground and new social housing, and housing with mortgages was built.

In 1957 the Conservative Prime Minster, Harold Macmillan would tell people that they had ‘never had it so good’. His administration did build many council houses; but people had never had it so good because they had never been more economically equal, and that was won by rent strikes in Glasgow ushering in that rent regulation in 1915 and then by campaigners winning concession after concession from Conservative and Liberal politicians, then another war, and then a brief but extremely effective Labour government (1945-1950).

More and more better quality housing was built as the population grew in number. Most of the rest was greatly renovated. Social security was improved and tenants rights further strengthened. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s people were better housed year after year, overcrowding declined rapidly and housing quality grew. Because rents were so affordable and the rich were controlled, by 1977 (when Paul was 45 years old) the best off took less than 6% of all income in Britain; three times less than when he was born. The lowest they have ever taken.

Paul could have expected the situation to become better still. It did in most of the rest of Western Europe in the years that followed, where people are usually better and more affordably housed today than they have ever been before. But it did not get better in Britain.

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Image: The People Speak! CC by 2.0

In 1979 a new kind of Conservative government was elected and it tore up the previous protections. Rent regulations were abolished, along with the building of social housing, and a rise in inequality was encouraged. Mrs Thatcher called it “letting tall poppies bloom”. The result was a catastrophe of national and international speculation by the better off, and especially by the very richest 1% who gained the most as most others began to lose out. Housing prices and rent soared.

 

 

“OECD estimates suggest that UK income inequality is now highest of all the countries it compares in Europe.”

 

In 1997 (when Paul was 65 years old) the take of the 1% had doubled to 12% of all national income each year. This occurred in just twenty years. When he turned 75, 10 years later in 2007, that take had risen to over 15% (under ‘new’ Labour). Levels of inequality had returned to what they were when Paul was a teenage boy. Today their take remains very high, around 14%, or a seventh of all income, although increases in tax avoidance makes the precise proportion harder to estimate now. OECD estimates suggest that UK income inequality is now highest of all the countries it compares in Europe. [3]

Thatcherism had taken such a hold of the thinking of those at the top that even the election of a Labour government in 1997 did not halt the rise in economic inequality or the deterioration of housing affordability for most people. Those that ran that Labour government no longer understood why rent regulation was needed and why the rich getting ever richer and buying up more and more homes created misery for the majority. The number of people renting privately doubled between 2001 and 2011.

New Labour believed that the rich should be rewarded and the poor should be bullied. Sanctioning of the benefits of the poor first rose abruptly under the 1997-2010 government. It was not a real Labour government and although it quietly spent a great deal on renewing some social housing that had been neglected, it did not help make housing more affordable. When it was kicked out of office in 2010 it was because it failed to secure enough support from those it had championed in the past.

The 2010 coalition government’s greatest “achievement” was to sanction over one million benefit recipients in 2013. More money was taken from the poorest people in Britain that year through benefit sanctions than all the fines imposed by magistrates and sheriffs courts. [4] A new poor law had been introduced. But still the Labour party did not offer the electorate a change in direction large enough to be worth voting for.

The Conservatives won a very narrow working majority in 2015 and quickly set about trying to dismantle the remnants of the welfare state, including affordable housing. They were lead by David and George, people who had been teenagers when Margaret Thatcher became prime minister and who worshiped her as a hero. And they lasted only just over a year in office before David Cameron had to resign and his chancellor George Osborne was sacked. Only just over a year when fully ‘in charge’ after waiting half a lifetime to get that power!

Housing policy in 2016

A great deal has been written about why Cameron lost the Brexit vote on the 23rd June 2016. Just as in the United States in the November 2016 presidential election, it was people from across the income spectrum who voted against business as usual. A majority of leave voters in the UK were middle class and, on average, Trump supporters in the USA were better off than those who did not vote for him.

 

“In both the UK and USA poorer housing and declining health have been linked more closely than any other factor to the political turmoil we are now in.”

 

The UK and the USA are the two affluent countries with the worst housing systems in the rich world, in which health is currently deteriorating the most, often largely as a result of housing problems. In both the UK and USA poorer housing and declining health have been linked more closely than any other factor to the political turmoil we are now in. It was the places where the old are suffering more that have voted most for change because they can remember a better past. [5] But neither vote is for a better option.

The change in the political mood is remarkable. People have not voted for better options because they were not presented with that choice, but they have voted against carrying on as before and they are now far less predictable in what they might now do. This has shaken politicians who are suddenly enacting U-turn after U-turn, especially when it comes to housing policy in the UK.

In October 2016 the Conservative government announced that its main flagship ‘help to buy’ policy would end abruptly on the 31st of December. Taxpayers’ money would no longer be used to boost peoples’ mortgages to help housing prices stay high and to allow people to borrow money those lenders would not otherwise lend. It was a policy devised to ensure that homes remained expensive. For another four years lower ‘help to buy’ 20% loans on newly built property will remain but they too are now set to be phased out by 2020. [6]

The Conservatives threatened to introduce ‘pay to stay’ where social housing tenants social-housingwould be forced to pay ‘market rents’ if the combined income of everyone living in their household rose above £30,000 a year. Some 60,000 households would have been evicted from their homes after April 2017 if it had been introduced. Following months of opposition and protest, on November 21st 2016 the policy was suddenly officially abandoned. [7]

Three weeks earlier, the Conservatives had delayed extending the right to buy to housing associations – another of their previous flagship policies. Ministers gave Brexit as the reason, but what they feared for was their own popularity. [8] The public mood was turning against them, and one by one they were unravelling their housing polices. It was housing that government turned to first to try to reduce the anger.

Before he gave his autumn statement on November 23rd the new chancellor, Philip Hammond, let it be known that letting agency fees would be banned in England and Wales. Those fees had been successfully banned years earlier in Scotland. When that happened the Conservatives said the idea would not work and that it would harm “the market”. Now they suddenly embraced the idea. Shares in companies that made money charging such fees fell by 6% to 8% on that day because the fees had been being taken largely as profit by the share holders of the letting agencies. [9] The fees were bogus.

 

“There are thousands of nasty pieces of law left to fight over.”

 

There are thousands of nasty pieces of law left to fight over. The so-called national living wage will rise to only £7.50 an hour from April 2017, but that is still 4% higher than now. Had corporation tax, not been reduced to 17% that minimum legal wage could have been increased further and faster or benefit cuts could have been reversed. [10] The tide has only just started to turn on housing polices. Families with disabled children are still having their benefits capped at new lower rates so that they will be evicted from what were previously secure tenancies and have to find cheaper insecure private accommodation wherever they can. That is happening now.

Councils will still have at their discretion the right to charge higher rents to some tenants; they just no longer have to do that. Insecure tenancy agreements will still be issued in social housing just like private renting, even as government continues to have to be told, again and again, that the beliefs of its ministers and MPs over housing are fundamentally wrong. At least now we know that they do eventually listen. Changes circumstances force in better polices when those are argued for again and again and when the population at large begins to no longer believe their leaders.

Paul Nicolson was born between the wars. He was born at a time of rapid social progress although few people at the time realised this. The progressives fought and agitated for a better world and better countries because they recognized that conditions were so unfair and that change was possible. 84 years on and again with street homelessness rising, evictions rising, millions forced into poverty because of the high rent or high housing prices it is widely accepted that conditions are unfair but it is not yet widely accepted that great change is possible. That does not matter. It can be achieved as it was before: battle-by-battle.

 

What we need to do now

Rent regulation, common in Europe and many states of the USA, is now urgently needed across the UK. Paul Nicolson has called for a rent freeze in the private sector. We need this while regulation is being introduced, otherwise private landlords will try to push rents up even higher as they begin to realize that regulation is becoming a plausible political option again. It is in the private rented sector that the most urgent actions is required.

More social housing is needed, much more than will be provided with that the paltry new funding announced in recent days allows for; but at least we are at a new a beginning. Capital gains tax need to be introduced on privately owned homes to end speculation and it should be set at a much higher levels on second and subsequent homes. Government is going to need greater tax revenue soon. It was right wing governments that raised taxes the most when Paul was young, and in the two decades before he was born – because they had to.

We need to aim towards being a country in which people are as well housed as is now common on most of the European mainland. This is not asking for Utopia, it is asking for what already exists elsewhere. This is only possible if income inequalities are reduced. They do not simply fall by themselves and the UK is currently the most economically unequal country in Europe. The best off 10% take 28% of all income, a higher share than in any other European country; and the best-off 1% take half of that 28%!

housingOne day we might have a fair land value tax. Good quality housing for all, including well-adapted housing for the millions of us in old age, housing costing less than a third of our daily incomes.

Housing we are happy with and that we can see our children starting families in. If all this sounds fanciful it is not more fanciful than imagining, in 1934, that within three decades a prime minster could declare that people in Britain had never had it so good; and then see his party voted out of office a year after he resigned in 1963, for something even better.

Private rent regulations were introduced in Britain under the 1915 rent and mortgage restrictions act, which was subsequently and repeatedly strengthened every year as income inequalities also fell from then right through to 1977 when Britain began the most economically equal it has ever been and the take of the 1% was lowest. However the rent act of 1977 was the last act of parliament that limited landlords’ ability to increase rents as they wishes. The Conservative government that came to office in 1979 abolished rent controls in the 1988 Housing Act. [11] Every year after that housing became less and less affordable and income and wealth inequalities in Britain rose.

 

“The most important change of all is in what we believe to be right.”

 

Do not underestimate how quickly things can change. The most important change of all is in what we believe to be right. In late November 2016 a young Labour MP spelled it out “Why should people in this country work the longest hours in Europe and be paid some of the lowest wages? Why should people not be able to have access to an affordable safe home? Why do we have to wait in long queues in our National Health Service which is increasingly being sold off?”. Clive Lewis explained that politics was not about “left or right” but about “right or wrong”. [12] Change is in the air.

Taxpayers Against Poverty recommends a standard of affordability for governments to aim at were a home is affordable when the income remaining after rent, income and council tax have been paid is enough to buy a healthy diet, the fuel to cook it and keep warm, clothes, transport, other necessities, with enough left over for cultural and social participation. This is the standard that was first called for by Seebohm Rowntree in 1901 and which was opposed then by people who did not wish to see inequality fall. [13] There are always people who argue against progress. They failed then, they will fail again, and one day soon we will be able to set our sights higher.

 

References

[1] This text first appeared as a blog here: http://taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk
[2]https://www.theguardian.com/global/2016/jun/08/vicar-dibley-paul-nicolson-council-tax-refusing-benefit-cuts-jail-prison
[3] http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7484
[4] http://www.dannydorling.org/books/allthatissolid/
[5] http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/11/daily-chart-13
[6] http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/homes/help-to-buy-alive-well-and-staying-until-2020-1-8203452
[7] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-just-quietly-ditched-one-9305426
[8] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/22/death-pay-to-stay-government-housing-act-crumbling
[9] https://www.ft.com/content/ee2803a6-b0d8-11e6-a37c-f4a01f1b0fa1
[10] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/business-38028907
[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent_regulation_in_England_and_Wales
[12] http://labourlist.org/2016/11/lewis-not-about-left-or-right-but-right-or-wrong/
[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty,_A_Study_of_Town_Life

 

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Injustice  by Danny Dorling can be ordered here for £8.79. 

Danny Dorling’s article ‘Policy, politics, health and housing in the UK‘ is free to access until 31 January 2017.

Also keep an eye out for The human atlas of Europe by Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling and Benjamin Hennig, coming soon! 

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

It’s Time to Change Our Approach to Change

While many are wary of Donald Trump’s next steps as president, others are eagerly anticipating the changes that their chosen candidate has promised them. However, is voting really enough to incite progressive economic change? Joel Magnuson, author of From greed to wellbeing, argues that we must all do much more to bring about real change to society. 

SAMSUNG

Joel Magnuson

Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House does not signify a new beginning or a new era.

Quite the opposite – Trump and his band of reactionaries symbolize the last gasps of a greed-inspired economic system that is crumbling into obsolescence. But like so many instances of imperial decline, this can also signal a time of regeneration. Like the yin and the yang, disintegration and renewal are both aspects of the same process of change. And change we must.

Climate change, financial system instability, and global resource depletion remain the most profound crises of the 21st century, and they cut across all national boundaries and cultural identities. As we look to the future and at our current circumstances, it seems clear that societies everywhere will have no choice but to completely rethink how to address these major problems in our economies. Particularly in the United States.

“Getting to the other side of major global crises will require much more than ballot box voting.”

If we have learned anything from this election year, it is that relying on national politics for real progressive economic change remains largely futile—at least for now. Getting to the other side of major global crises will require much more than ballot box voting or making demands on politicians. All of us need to be much more engaged in building new ways of organizing economic activity in our communities. Beyond protest marching and organizing petitions, people need to be actively building new “shadow” economies structured around values and ideas that stand aside from business as usual. In other words, we need to be ready to change how we approach change. I believe our survival depends on it.

Even before the presidential election, the futility of relying on federal government politicians for economic justice was made clear as we watched its response to yet another banking scandal involving Wells Fargo. Wells tried to boost its revenues and share prices by creating sham bank accounts and filching millions from its customers.

wells-fargo

After it was caught, the bank was vilified in the media and its share prices began to fall. Wells scrambled to cover its tracks by sacking over five thousand employees who were involved in the scandal. It eventually pressed for the resignation of key executives such as CEO, John Stumpf, and the head of community banking division, Carrie Tolstedt; both of whom seemed to have scurried off in one of those Wells Fargo wagons loaded with tens of millions in cash and stock options.

Meanwhile federal government officials were expressing their usual indignation before the CSPAN cameras. But the shows were quickly over and nothing really changed.

“Federal Reserve and Treasury regulators would prefer to be more like moral counselors to bankers rather than genuine regulators”

Away from the cameras the approach taken by banking industry regulators remains remarkably tepid. President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, recently commented that, “There is evidence of deep-seated cultural and ethical failures at many large financial institutions” as if this idea was new to him. And Thomas Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency—the principal banking regulatory body within the US Treasury—demurred from taking a hard stance on regulating the banking industry because, “It is not going to work if we approach it from a lawyerly standpoint,” he said whilst suggesting that the role of government, “is more a priest-penitent relationship.” Federal Reserve and Treasury regulators would prefer to be more like moral counselors to bankers than genuine regulators pressing hard for corporate accountability. Given the intimate relationships between Wall Street, Treasury, and the Fed, that means basically nothing.

Trump is something of a loose cannon and it is hard to know for sure what his administration will do. But based on what they have said and done so far, there is no reason to think that they are planning to do anything to make banks or corporations more democratically accountable.

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So what then?

In my new book, From Greed to Well Being, I urge people to begin creating new and alternative financial institutions in their own communities. With the shock of Trumpism and the failures of the Democratic Party, suddenly millions of people everywhere are galvanized, mobilized, and looking for new alternatives. This resurgence of energy is palpable and the movements that are forming around it could very well be the dynamic force needed to finally break from business as usual. In this book and others I have contended that getting involved in creating new, local, and values-based financial institutions – economic models that are democratically accountable, responsive to the needs of people and communities, stable, and ecologically sound – could be the most empowering thing any of us can do right now.

Borrowing from the Buddhist concept of “right livelihood,” which means pursuing economic activity without causing undue harm, I call this approach Right Livelihood Banking. With any measure of success in this sort of grassroots-institution, building communities can be much more empowered and in a better position to push upward for genuine reform at national and international levels.

Examples of grassroots economic alternatives abound. People everywhere are creating models that are creative and genuinely directed at progressive change. A new bakery here, an affordable health clinic there, or a new bank established on the values of permaculture. Most of these are small steps that are unlikely to be heralded as something that will shake the world. But that is less important than the fact that these initiatives are being fostered out of genuine care. The more we take this kind of action, the more we change our perceptions of the world around us, and the more our perceptions of the world around us change, the more our actions will shift creatively toward a spirit of renewal.

 

from-greed-to-wellbeing-fc-4web

From greed to wellbeing by Joel Magnuson can be ordered here for £11.99.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

2016: a good year for publishing with a purpose

It’s rare that there’s something positive to say about 2016, given the recent political upheaval, but we’re thankful that it has been a good year for Policy Press.

Alison Shaw

Alison Shaw

We celebrated 20 years, won an Independent Publishers Guild award and are about to host a high-profile Festival of Ideas event. Most significantly, October saw the announcement of the new University of Bristol Press, an exciting new venture in collaboration with the University of Bristol.

Here, Director Alison Shaw explains the developments, highlights key moments from 2016 and describes what they mean to her.

Creating the University of Bristol Press

ubp-landing-page-image

The formation of University of Bristol Press (UBP) is the beginning of an exciting new era. When I created Policy Press (PP) 20 years ago I never dreamed that we would have achieved so much. UBP represents a wonderful recognition of our team’s achievements, and an opportunity to take what we have learned into new disciplines.

With the creation of UBP we will be able to expand into new areas – economics, politics and international development, business and management and law – whilst continuing our commitment to high quality scholarship and author care. We will also be expanding our publishing in sociology, criminology and social geography under UBP, keeping the Policy Press imprint focused on social problems and social action.

“…new opportunities for our authors and their work.”

The world has changed dramatically since 1996. The world of scholarly research dissemination, teaching and learning especially has changed and, with UBP, we can help support the international academic community through these developments. Flexible formats, Open Access and digital developments are all roads we are travelling down, allowing us to offer new opportunities for our authors and their work.

We are delighted to be part of the thriving University Press sector here in the UK. I believe there is a resurgence in support for University Presses, both among scholars and educational institutions, as publishers from within the scholarly community working for the scholarly community. It is extremely important to me that we continue to operate as a not-for-profit press focused on this community and not shareholders.

The social mission at the heart of what we do

social-mission-titles

I was not shocked by Brexit or by the election of Donald Trump. I am afraid the work we publish led me to predict that both votes would happen. I believe that when people see their standard of living fall and no clear future ahead, they retract into their own communities and fear those that are ‘other’ than themselves.  There are many other factors behind both votes, but the outcome is the that the ‘left behind’ in our globalised world have made their voices heard.

I am equally unsurprised by the continued lack of care for the most vulnerable in our society we saw with the announcements in last Wednesday’s autumn statement. The gap between rich and poor is ever growing and policy, unfortunately, continues to benefit the better off. In these cruel times of austerity and political turmoil, we will continue our ongoing commitment to social change through our publishing under the Policy Press imprint.

“I was not shocked by Brexit or by the election of Donald Trump.”

Making a difference and finding ways for research to reach an audience where it can help policy and practice to address social issues and improve individual’s lives has remained fundamental to the development of the business. Policy Press will keep its focus on these social action aspects where UBP will focus on the more traditional scholarly work across all the core social science disciplines.

Winning the IPG award

ipg-win-banner-new

Winning the IPG Frankfurt Bookfair Independent Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year award was a turning point for Policy Press.

This recognition by our industry means so much to me, and to the team. It means that all the hard work over 20 years incrementally building a business from its tiny start was a goal worth pursuing.

It says ‘thank you’ to the amazing authors, editors and partners that we work with and without whom we could not have won the award. It also shows that the faith the University of Bristol has shown in us has been repaid a little.

Why we’re hosting ‘The Future of Social Justice’ event

festival-of-ideas-event-banner-web

On 5 December we are hosting ‘The future of social justice’ event in Bristol, with Melissa Benn, Danny Dorling, Kayleigh Garthwaite and Owen Jones speaking. It’s a huge privilege to bring together these speakers and the general public in a debate that I’m sure will present some hope for the future.

This will also be the final event in our 20 year celebrations and the official launch of University of Bristol Press by Professor Hugh Brady, University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President.

And the future?

I am optimistic about the future for publishing and fundamentally believe that if we continue to publish great quality books and journals well, University of Bristol Press and Policy Press will continue to go from strength to strength. We will be there to help researchers, teachers and professionals to get their work read and used.

“Every single book or journal article we publish educates and, in so doing, has the potential to change the world”

Over the next few years the team is going to grow significantly, with new staff from commissioning to marketing and sales. This will bring exciting new opportunities for creative collaboration and product development as we become stronger in our existing subject areas and emerge in those that are new. Policy Press, as an imprint, is now in a better place than ever to produce books that can really make a difference.

Every single book or journal article we publish educates and, in so doing, has the potential to change the world a tiny bit. That’s the beauty of publishing – particularly academic publishing – and of being a press dedicated to making a positive difference.

It’s in this that a more hopeful, socially just, future lies.

Keep up-to-date with developments at Policy Press/University of Bristol Press by signing up to our newsletter. You will also receive a code that gives you 35% off all our books when ordered at www.policypress.co.uk.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women


Emma Williamson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol, and a Co-Editor of the new Journal of Gender-Based Violence.

A version of this blog post was originally published on 22 November 2016 in the Policy Briefing section of Discover Society, which is provided in collaboration with the journal Policy & Politics. The original post is available at: http://discoversociety.org/2016/11/22/support-international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women/.

emma-williamsonNovember 25th marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, followed by 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

On this day, communities reflect on the damage caused by violence against women and its impact on women, children, men, and societies around the globe.

As well as acknowledging the harm that violence against women causes, November 25th is also a day to celebrate the achievements of a movement which seeks to eradicate the gendered violence which many face every day.  To recognise the men and women who work to support victims and perpetrators, to challenge abusive behaviours within societies across the world, and to stand up to the causes of violence by naming misogyny and oppression in its many forms.  Continue reading ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’

Open education is not a luxury

polly-thistlethwaite

Polly Thistlethwaite

Polly Thistlethwaite, co-author of Being a scholar in the digital era talks about open education and how higher education’s practices and products must become more democratic to better serve democracy.

Chapter 3 of Being a scholar in the digital era – ‘Opening education and linking it to community’ – is free to download here (pdf), or from the Policy Press website during December. Subsequent chapters will be available over the coming months.

Audre Lorde famously asserted that “for women … poetry is not a luxury.” Artistry and lived experience shared, while valued less than dominant notions of thought and process, is “a vital necessity of our existence,” she wrote (Lorde, Audre. Poetry is Not a Luxury. Chrysalis: A Magazine of Female Culture, 1977, no. 3.).

Open education is no less a luxury. Markets cannot administer equitable access to education or to cultural and scientific information any better than they can fairly manage access to health care. To invoke Lorde’s essay once again, it is vital to share “living as a situation to be experienced and interacted with,” to deepen understanding, to resist oppressions, and to improve lives.

Continue reading ‘Open education is not a luxury’

Brexit and working-class politics

the-rise-of-the-right-updated-fc-4webTo mark the timely publication of the ebook of The rise of the right by Simon Winlow, Steve Hall and James Treadwell, we are offering the postscript to the book FREE on our website.

Read the intro here, then click on the link to download.

We wrote the majority of this book in 2015. Our project was at an end by the time the nation went to the polls in June 2016 to vote on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.
Roughly 52% of those who voted wanted to bring Britain’s membership to an end. More than 33.5 million people voted in the referendum, and almost 17.5 million people voted to leave.
Most columnists, commentators, pundits and broadcasters – and the enlightened liberals who dominate our academic institutions – were shocked by the result. They just could not understand how and why so many voters had been persuaded by the fearmongering of the Leave campaign. How could voters place their trust in Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove? These men represented the elite, and they were committed to ensuring the continued dominance of capital over human life. Couldn’t people see this? How could so many voters fall for the absurd claims the elite made about the economic benefits of leaving? Didn’t these voters find the Leave campaign’s blatant demonisation of immigrants distasteful? Didn’t they know that the EU generally benefits Britain’s economy, and that a vote to leave the EU was a vote for economic uncertainty and a reduction in living standards for the majority? Continue reading ‘Brexit and working-class politics’

Is the idea of an independent third sector still relevant?

Ahead of the #ARNOVA16  conference, authors Valerie Egdell and Matthew Dutton discuss third sector organisations’ struggle for independence and how this struggle affects the delivery of the various services that these organisations provide. 

valerie-egdell

Valerie Egdell

matthew-dutton

Matthew Dutton

Government outsourcing of public services through competitive tendering has created significant new opportunities for third sector organisations to expand the range of actions they undertake but has also threatened their independence.

The third sector is a trusted partner because of its independence of purpose, voice and action. The third sector itself values its independence from political influence in representing the needs of service users. However, does the third sector’s role in the delivery of government funded services compromise its independence? Is the idea of an independent third sector still relevant?

“To survive, some third sector organisations have had to adapt to deliver services that are not core to their function”

Continue reading ‘Is the idea of an independent third sector still relevant?’


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Helen Kara

Writing and research

Peter Beresford's Blog

Musings on a Mad World

Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy

Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Stirling

Path to the Possible

Democracy toward the Horizon

The GOVERNANCE blog

Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Shot by both sides

The blog of Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP

Paul Collins's Running Blog

Running and London Marathon 2013 Training

Bristol Civic Leadership Project

A collaborative project on change in local governance

Stuck on Social Work

And what a great place to be

Points: The Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society

short and insightful writing about a long and complex history

Urban policy and practice

Publishing with a purpose

TessaCoombes

Policy Politics Place

Blog

Publishing with a purpose

Public Administration Review

Public Administration Review is a professional journal dedicated to advancing theory and practice in public administration.

EUROPP

European Politics and Policy

Urban Studies Journal

Publishing with a purpose

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