In Europe we do not trust

The rise of populism across Europe matches declining trust in European institutions, finds Richard Norrie.

Across Europe, anti-EU political parties are on the rise, and are expected to continue this trend in the current elections. One recent survey by YouGov put Britain’s UK Independence Party on 31 per cent while France’s Front National polled at 24 per cent. It is well-known that trust in politicians and governments at the national level is in decline. But how is trust in European institutions – in particular the European parliament – changing over time? To find out, I...

Posted by Richard Norrie on 23 May 2014
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Scouting for character

Employer supported volunteering could result in a triple win, says Jonathan Birdwell.

Politicians on both sides of the despatch box have recently emphasised the importance of building ‘character’ into our education system. The Prime Minister launched the National Citizen Service with the aim of building character skills among young people. The Step Up To Serve campaign - which is supported by all three political parties – also has ‘character’ development at the core of its rationale to double the number of young people taking part in social action...

Posted by Jonathan Birdwell on 15 May 2014
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Monitoring misogyny

Sofia Patel investigates why women may be using misogynistic language on Twitter just as much as men.

Women are more likely to be subjected to more bullying, hateful, abusive and threatening language on various social media platforms than men. In a fascinating study from 2006, researchers from the University of Maryland set up a host of fake online accounts and then sent these into chat rooms. Accounts with feminine usernames received an average of 100 sexually explicit or threatening messages per day, whereas masculine names received 3.7.This issue came to prominence last summer, when Caroli...

Posted by Sofia Patel on 10 May 2014
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Piketty makes an argument for John Lewis

Thomas Piketty's problems can be solved with more mutualism, argues Jonathan Todd.

JM Keynes’ General Theory was published seven years after the New York stock market crash of 1929. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century was published six years after the financial crisis of 2008.  Paul Samuelson, later a Nobel Prize winning economist and 21 years old when the General Theory was published, said of Keynes’ great work that it ‘caught most economists under the age of 35 with the unexpected virulence of a disease first attacking and de...

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 02 May 2014
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A return to ‘relationship banking’?

Duncan O'Leary introduces a new project building an evidence base on local banking.

The recent news that Dad’s Army, the wartime comedy, is to be re-made as a feature film was greeted with a sceptical response in the letters pages of The Times. ‘Sir’, wrote one correspondent, ‘A revival of Dad’s Army will not work because no-one under 40 has met a bank manager’. The acerbic Times letter captured a sense that British banks have become remote from their customers, with too many decisions made via bureaucratic procedure rather than local jud...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 01 May 2014
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ESOL policy needs a re-think

Neil Stevenson investigates the benefits and obstacles to teaching English as a foreign language.

Net migration to Britain has been running between 200,000 and 250,000 per year over the past decade. Despite what political rhetoric sometimes implies, not all immigrants are the same. Beyond the distinctions between EEA and non-EEA origins, immigrants come to our shores with a range of valuable assets: resilient and optimistic attitudes, linguistic dynamism, a plethora of skills and educational backgrounds, as well as a determination to provide a better life for their children. Alongside th...

Posted by Neil Stevenson on 24 Apr 2014
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An unpalatable truth

Figures show an increasing reliance on food banks, but Jo Salter asks are they a sustainable solution?

Figures released today by the Trussell Trust show that almost 1 million food parcels – 913,138 – were handed out by its food bank network in the last year, compared to 347,000 the previous year; 51% of these were handed out to new clients. The reaction to these numbers has exposed how politicised the debate around food banks has become. Those on the political left have called them an indictment of the government’s welfare reform programme and claims to be helping the poores...

Posted by Jo Salter on 16 Apr 2014
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The method in the madness

Simon Wibberley of CASM provides a behind the scenes account of the Europe Debate live analysis.

The idea began light-heartedly – it was an opportunity to road-test the real-time rapid response capabilities of our social media analysis software and methodologies, by applying them to the live debate on Europe between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage. The arrival of a Newsnight team kicked the operation up a gear, really putting the pressure on to deliver results. We set out to investigate two things: firstly, the extent to which we could produce meaningful real-time outputs, and secondl...

Posted by Simon Wibberley on 10 Apr 2014
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Evidence-based campaigning

Claudia Wood applauds the Spartacus Network for their constructive critique of the welfare reform agenda.

On a day when the Work and Pensions select committee confirms the Universal Credit IT system is becoming a white elephant and the JRF calculates how little the Bedroom Tax has saved once you account for additional costs, it's tempting to dismiss the current welfare reform agenda as an expensive mess. Two of its key components have turned sour, proving – if proof were needed – that rushed implementation of seemingly ideological policies was never going to go well. Another repo...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 09 Apr 2014
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Nick versus Nigel: live analysis

Carl Miller introduces our live analysis of the BBC's debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.

‘Nick Clegg tells interviewer he need a coffee’ Tweeted the BBC’s Norman Smith this morning, ‘At 9.15. 9.15 ??? Wakey, wakey’. Perhaps he didn’t sleep well, and who can blame him? Both he and Nigel Farage woke up to face – whatever their bravado – a prospect that even the most veteran politician dreads: a live, prime-time, televised debate. At 7pm on BBC2 this evening, they will both face an hour in the full glare of the public. They...

Posted by Carl Miller on 02 Apr 2014
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