The performance of terrorism

The murder of James Foley is the latest example ‘propagande par le fait’, say Jamie Bartlett and Sarah Williamson.

It is an image we won’t forget: of what appears to be the US journalist James Foley being decapitated by an Islamic State militant. Alas this type of disgusting and gruesome act fits the historic pattern of acts of terrorism from across the political and religious spectrum: the ‘propagande par le fait’; the idea that the performance of the crime is as important as the level of violence executed. It has been a common staple of terrorist activity for over a century....

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 21 Aug 2014
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We need to talk about ESOL

Teaching migrants English is a vital policy challenge. We need a national strategy, argues Neil Stevenson.

The English language is a cornerstone of British society. However, around 850,000 people self-reported poor or very poor levels of English in the 2011 Census.  Currently, adult migrants with low levels of English study under the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) framework, which is overseen by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. This gap between supply and demand, revealed in a Demos report published today, represents a significant policy challenge, and demons...

Posted by Neil Stevenson on 19 Aug 2014
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Scotland decides. What about Twitter?

Follow Demos' real time analysis of Twitter's response to the Scottish Independence debate.

At 8pm tonight head of the Better Together Campaign Alistair Darling faces SNP leader Alex Salmond in a televised debate about Scotland’s future. It’s the first, and only, debate between the two big hitters before Scotland decides the fate of the Union on 18 September: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" But the debate won't just be taking place at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. It will also unfold in the sitting rooms of the millions o...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 05 Aug 2014
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Common wealth

Jonathan Todd investigates the benefits of hosting major sporting events.

The Commonwealth Games began in Scotland this week with great fanfare, shortly after the football World Cup came to an end in Brazil. Beyond the opening ceremonies and sporting glamour, the hosting of such events is always subject to economic scrutiny: are they worth the money they cost? Rio de Janeiro will also host the Olympics and Paralympics in two years time. Rarely, if ever, has one country witnessed two such high profile events in such quick succession. This has not been without contr...

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 25 Jul 2014
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Gaps within gaps

Ally Paget reacts to the Education Select Committee's findings of educational inequality.

Today sees the release of a report by the Commons Education Select Committee that shows poor white British students – both boys and, more unexpectedly, girls – are lagging behind their peers from other ethnicities. Just 32 per cent of disadvantaged white British children attain five GCSEs at A*-C, ten percentage points below the next lowest achieving major ethnic group (black Caribbean students).  A silver lining of the Committee’s report is the finding that students i...

Posted by Ally Paget on 18 Jun 2014
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A model for digital democracy

The wiki approach could be what John Bercow is looking for, says Stevie Benton of Wikimedia UK.

A sense that all citizens of a state have a stake, and a say, in the process of government is in some ways crucial to our sense of identity as citizens. It is something that history suggests we as a nation are both proud and protective of. People fought and died for the rights and responsibilities offered by democracy. But there is something of a disconnect between the democratic process as it exists and the levels of public engagement with that process that democracy demands in order to be ...

Posted by Stevie Benton on 11 Jun 2014
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The urgent question

Jo Salter investigates why more women aren't receiving regular cervical screening.

Why are all women not having regular cervical screening? To the ladies in the audience (and the gents with an imagination), the answer lies in the question. A combination of fear, confusion, the struggle to book an appointment at a convenient time, procrastination and just plain embarrassment and squeamishness at the idea of a stranger poking around your cervix conspire to keep uptake of cervical screening among women who are eligible hovering stubbornly at around 78 per cent. More worryingl...

Posted by Jo Salter on 08 Jun 2014
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Trust in the community

Land trusts could be the real passing down of power that localists have been looking for, says Ralph Scott.

Demos has always been interested in power. And not just in the conventional way that almost everyone is interested in power – we’ve investigated how power works, looked for ways of more equally distributing power throughout society and promoted giving people more power over their lives. As you can learn from our Power video (one from the archive), power is not just vested in the traditional political institutions. The march of economic globalisation has reduced the power of natio...

Posted by Ralph Scott on 05 Jun 2014
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Two cheers for populism

The rise of populism across Europe can give politics a kick-start, argues Jamie Bartlett.

A democracy in which everyone agreed wouldn’t be worthy of the name. Liberal democracies are meant to be – need to be – vibrant, chaotic and awkward. A place where grand differences can be thrashed out. A place where ideas compete, and where people feel their views and interests get a hearing. Without disagreement, democracies become staid, dull, and ossified. This is the silver lining to last week’s European Election results: the populist surge might jolt our falte...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 30 May 2014
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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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