Prisons are like holiday camps; benefit claimants are mostly lazy scroungers; and, on the other hand, zero hours contracts are nothing but a return to exploitative Victorian labour conditions? All views widely held and, as it turns out, wrong. They – along with misconceptions about everything from immigration to the health service – are often […]
Andrew Mitchell MP – when he swore at the police’, it fitted with the popular idea of the ‘Nasty Party’. The real divide in politics isn’t left or right, it’s whether you like people or not. The reason the ‘Nasty Party’ tag has stuck so long to the Conservatives is that it accurately sums up […]
UK politics is bust? So it might seem. Fewer than 1 in 100 of us belong to a political party (the figure was 10% in the 1950s). Parties have grown even more despicably dependent on ‘donors’ – a polite word for the people who purchase power and influence from them. No government, since 1945, has […]
Who isn’t a social entrepreneur these days? My inbox just took delivery of an email about Healthwatch Birmingham claiming it is a ‘groundbreaking independent social enterprise’. I’m confused… because as far as I know, Healthwatch is the body set up the Health and Social Care Bill 2012 to act as ‘the new consumer champion for […]
Appalled by the effect of cuts on your community? But you want to improve public services, not defend them? I was speaking to one of Birmingham’s genuine social entrepreneurs yesterday. He was telling me about his experience of making his voice heard in relation to cuts in public services. The cuts are having a real […]
You can tell a lot about a society and its politics by its architecture: conservative and re-assuring, or brutal and ‘new’. But where would a future historian look for the defining architecture of today and what would they find? Ambiguity? Lack of conviction? A growing feeling that both architecture and politics have grown irrelevant? If they looked harder, might they find architecture, of a different sort, that promises – for the first time in our history – the potential to build structures that will support genuine democracy at last?