Let’s talk money – the Demos Finance inaugural lecture

Jodie Ginsberg reflects on last's night inaugural Demos Finance lecture.

Since 2008, we have all become more familiar with business news as front-page news. Gone are the days when financial and monetary policy sat exclusively in the back of the newspaper or languished at the end of the evening news. Despite this, our understanding of the financial services sector remains poor. A wave of (understandable and in many cases justified) bank bashing has obscured an important debate about what role banks should play in the economy, and what we should expect governments ...

Posted by Jodie Ginsberg on 10 Oct 2013
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How to help small businesses

Ana Botín, chief executive of Santander UK, introduces her Demos Finance inaugural lecture.

Santander's Ana Botín writes in the FT ahead of our Demos Finance inaugural lecture: Who will create the millions of jobs needed to make the UK economic recovery sustainable? The answer: Britain’s small and medium-sized companies. But to do that, banks in the UK need to innovate in the way they support small businesses, particularly those with the potential to grow. Small and medium-sized enterprises employ almost two-thirds of people in the private sector and generate...

Posted by Ana Botin on 09 Oct 2013
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Where next for the EDL?

Jamie Bartlett on the news that Tommy Robinson is leaving the EDL.

Tommy Robinson and the rarely seen but equally important Kevin Carroll are going to leave the English Defence League. It's not much of a surprise: but the resulting fallout might be. The reason, according to Tommy, is that he can't contain extreme right wing elements with the movement. Of course, Tommy is hardly angelic. He often says plenty of offensive and inflammatory things, not to mention being arrested more than once. Nevertheless, readers might be surprised to know that he is ...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 08 Oct 2013
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Backsliders

Jonathan Birdwell introduces his report on democratic backsliding in the EU.

In a new report launched last week, I argued that the EU should embrace a new role as ‘democracy watchdog’, pushing and prodding all member states to stronger democracies and preventing backsliding on commitments.  The EU has already embraced this role to some extent with expansion into Central and Eastern European. New entrants are required to demonstrate their adherence to the so-called ‘Copenhagen Criteria’: including respect for core rights and freedoms, free...

Posted by Jonathan Birdwell on 30 Sep 2013
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John Denham's mobile phone

David Goodhart reflects on Ed Miliband's speech to Labour Conference, and the gap between ordinary voters and politicians.

The consensus on the Ed Miliband speech - and therefore on the whole Labour conference - was good(ish) in form, but disappointingly 'core vote' in content. That is nearly right. Delivery was even better than last year, partly thanks to being a bit rougher around the edges. He really did come across as someone comfortable in his own skin (or at least a politician acting someone comfortable in his own skin), and the stuff about his personal qualities seemed less mawkish than usual. Nex...

Posted by David Goodhart on 26 Sep 2013
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Doing God

Zaki Cooper introduces his essay God in Government.

Ed Miliband’s speech to Labour conference yesterday contained an interesting passage about the values he was taught in his upbringing. The Labour leader, the son of Jewish refugees who came to the UK fleeing persecution, is ethnically Jewish, but by his own admission is not religious. Meanwhile David Cameron has remarked that his own Anglicanism is like 'Magic FM in the Chilterns', and Nick Clegg is a self-professed atheist but married to a Catholic. Somehow, the religious iden...

Posted by Zaki Cooper on 25 Sep 2013
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Looking beyond the hospital walls

Claudia Wood describes the challenges facing the NHS in its 65th year.

The NHS has just has reached its 65th Birthday. Until a few years ago, we might have expected our well-worn and well-loved regime of GPs, A&Es and PCTs to be settling down in its golden years into a period of lowest ever waiting lists, historically high satisfaction rates, and fairly decent performance on a range of measures. But the economic downturn, a new government determined to bring the deficit down as rapidly as possible and a backdrop of demographic change accelerating from ...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 24 Sep 2013
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The challenge for banking’s new monitor

Jodie Ginsberg lays out the task ahead for Richard Lambert.

Richard Lambert, former head of the CBI, has been asked by the banks to lead a new professional body that will examine standards in the industry. The move follows recommendations by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards that banks needed an organisation – funded by the industry itself but independent in make-up – to uphold standards. Interestingly, the Tyrie report commissioners felt that banks were several years away from being able to do this themselves: 'on the...

Posted by Jodie Ginsberg on 20 Sep 2013
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Making a meal of it

Free school meals is just another step in the conservative-driven evolution of the welfare state, writes Claudia Wood.

Much has been said about the Lib Dem’s announcement of universal free school meals. Many have pointed to the evidence base supporting such a move, in de-stigmatising free school meals on one hand and boosting pupil attainment (among those who were already entitled to FSM) on the other. Others are critical of the dead-weight cost of giving ‘rich kids free food’ and make a meal of the Lib Dem’s opposition of the policy when Labour-run Southwark introduced it. Perhaps m...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 18 Sep 2013
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Is Nick Clegg right?

Don't assume Clegg is simply moving his party Right. He's actually a classic Liberal, writes Duncan O'Leary.

It is often said that Nick Clegg is keen on moving his party to the Right. A fairer interpretation is that he is a classical Liberal. He is driven by the idea of people leading independent lives, free from unnecessary government interference. He comes from the liberal wing of the Liberal wing of the Liberal Democrats – not the Social Democratic side. This explains Clegg’s instinctive support for some of the ideas that Conservatives often identify with: choice in public services (...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 18 Sep 2013
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