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Web forums and the ‘core self’ of mental illness experience

Theo Bass explains why people's increasing use of online health forums provides such a unique and important data-set for social science researchers.

The House of Commons Health Committee’s 2014 report highlighted the need for mental health services to keep up with the challenges brought by the Internet and social media. These include the stresses associated with a 24/7 digital culture; the proliferation of online bullying; and the advent of online forums or communities that promote resistance to mainstream health discourses (e.g. ‘pro-anorexia’ forums). Cited in the report, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust des...

Posted by Theo Bass
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Fit for Purpose

Research Director, Duncan O'Leary, comments on Ian Duncan Smith's speech on sickness benefits reform.

The key focus of Iain Duncan Smith's speech yesterday addressed sickness benefits, and how Government judges if people are fit for work. There is scope for real reform here. IDS diagnosed the problem as people receiving 'an assessment of their condition that focuses on what they can’t do rather than on what they can do'. This is precisely the criticism levelled by academic Ben Baumberg in his Demos Quarterly essay last year. In his essay Ben explains: &...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 25 Aug 2015
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Contours of a new Conservatism

Demos' Research Director, Duncan O'Leary, maps the emergence of two distinct strands of philosophy emerging in Conservative politics.

With media attention so focused on the Labour leadership race, something interesting is happening to Conservative politics at the moment. I think the contours of a new Conservatism are emerging, based on two main ingredients: just deserts and compassion. The two are not necessarily in tension with each other and it’s possible to see leading Conservatives representing both strands of thought. The ‘just deserts’ strand has been developing since the financial crisis and is ess...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 11 Aug 2015
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“The inherent right of every commoner” – changing how we petition Parliament

Demos' Raphael Hogarth welcomes the resurgence of the Petitions Committee and the launch of a new e-petitions website

“There is an idea that the presentation of a petition is an empty form – that it is ordered to lie upon the Table, and never heard of again. […] I believe that at this moment the right of petition [...] is a more important and efficient right than has ever been enjoyed by the people of England in this respect.” Benjamin Disraeli delivered this impassioned speech to Parliament in 1842, after Robert Peel had secured some curtailments in the “inherent right of eve...

Posted by Raphael Hogarth on 03 Aug 2015
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Making the Most of Online Health Data

Josh Smith introduces an exciting new project between Demos' Centre for the Analysis of Social Media and The King's Fund, which seeks to transform health services by harnessing the growing repository of online health data.

The internet is changing people's approach to healthcare. The last 10 years have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of people going online to seek out information and advice, to research health issues and connect with those sharing their experiences. NHS Choices, for example, has seen a steady increase in usage every year since 2011, with over 31 million unique visitors to the site in January 2015 alone.  In many ways, this change should come as no surprise. The intern...

Posted by Josh Smith on 31 Jul 2015
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Stealing Votes or Re-Engaging Voters? UKIP and the Fragmentation of the Far Right

A guest blog from Elizabeth Morrow, who has recently completed a PhD on extremism and counter-terrorism at King's College London, explaining the decline of the BNP and the EDL - and why UKIP isn't to blame.

Pundits frequently discuss the rise of radical politics in the UK but one underexplored question is what accounts for the recent demise of two such parties and movements – the British National Party (BNP) and the English Defence League (EDL). Why has this happended? A recent report from Hope not Hate suggests that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is responsible for the demise of the British National Party (BNP), stating that UKIP ‘has steamrollered through their ...

Posted by Elizabeth Morrow on 28 Jul 2015
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Why the Green Deal Failed

Demos Researcher, Charlie Cadywould, explains why the Government's decision to scrap Green Deal funding should not come as a surprise.

The Government’s decision to end funding for the Green Deal early should not come as a surprise. Primarily offering loans to customers making energy efficiency improvements to their home, the scheme was lauded as “the biggest home improvement programme since the war”, but never took off on the scale Chris Huhne and Greg Barker had intended. Barker said back in March 2013 that he ‘wouldn’t be sleeping’ if 10,000 weren’t signed up to the Green Deal by t...

Posted by Charlie Cadywould on 27 Jul 2015
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A Bold Step onto Rocky Ground

Demos Researcher Louis Reynolds takes stock of the Prime Minister's speech on countering extremism.

David Cameron’s speech yesterday was his boldest on the subject of extremism yet, and will undoubtedly move the debate on the causes and potential solutions to the growing threat of radicalisation to the United Kingdom more visibly into the public sphere. However, it also brought the Government into difficult territory. Presenting Cameron’s arguments on integration and radicalisation with careful consideration, and safeguarding the pre-eminence of free speech, will be critical to ...

Posted by Louis Reynolds on 21 Jul 2015
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A Glass Half Full?

Ian Wybron introduces a new Demos report on alcohol consumption and young people.

We are used to media panics about alcohol and the social problems it causes. And indeed, very real problems remain for the UK’s relationship with drink. But it is important to take stock of progress where it’s been made. The decline in young people drinking to excess could be an emerging success story for the UK. Original polling published by Demos today adds to the evidence that this generation of young people is more moderate in its drinking habits than the generation before it...

Posted by Ian Wybron on 15 Jul 2015
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Government Shifts Gear on Planning Reform

As the Government takes an increasingly national approach to its planning reforms, Charlie Cadywould explores the implications for its localism agenda.

Before coming to power, and in the early years of the last Parliament, the Government made much of its commitment to localism. Critics called the Localism Bill a ‘NIMBY’s charter’ that would allow small groups to block developments, and exacerbate England’s housing shortage. However, the Conservatives rejected the assumption that communities were automatically predisposed to oppose developments in their area, and refused to see localism and development as a zero-sum g...

Posted by Charlie Cadywould on 10 Jul 2015
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