The rising political temperature of apprenticeships

Jonathan Todd explains why apprenticeships look set to be a key political battleground in 2015.

The politics of apprenticeships are getting hotter. They've long enjoyed support across all parties and across much of the electorate. Even if both the politicians and the voters have been a bit hazy in their understanding of what exactly they entail, and how we might get the most out of them. Now, however, the internal dynamics of both the Labour and Conservative parties are making apprenticeships more politically contested. Andrew Adonis for Labour and Robert Halfon for the Conservativ...

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 08 Nov 2013
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A spiral of violence?

Jamie Bartlett and Jonathan Birdwell put some assumptions about extremism and the EDL to the test.

Since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich on May 22nd 2013, there has been public and policy concern over spiralling violence between Islamist and far-right groups in the UK. Academics and experts refer to this as ‘cumulative’ or ‘reciprocal’ radicalisation / extremism.   In this short provocation essay, we test four assumptions of this concept, and suggest that further research work is necessary before it is of practical valu...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 04 Nov 2013
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Five ideas to open up intelligence

Carl Miller lays out five ways the security services can become more open.

For decades we have been living through a change in our expectations of how Government works. From the NHS to social care, culture to transport, the boundaries of Government have become much more porous, more open, more participatory. Service users, interest groups, community leaders, professional bodies, charities and campaigners have been brought in, and the civil service has reached out. This philosophy – that transparent, participatory and collaborative Government is good government...

Posted by Carl Miller on 04 Nov 2013
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Crossing the Rubicon

Chris Tryhorn on the consequences of the Royal Charter on press regulation.

So it’s finally happened: the royal charter that will bring a new system of press regulation into place has been granted by the privy council, after the press failed in a last-ditch attempt to derail the process. This is not the end of the story, as the press has vowed to continue with its plans to set up its own regulator as well as persist with challenges to the new arrangements. If the entire newspaper and magazine industry somehow got together and decided unanimously to boycott the...

Posted by Chris Tryhorn on 31 Oct 2013
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What can we learn from Islamic finance?

The UK should use the Islamic Finance Forum to think beyond trade, urges Jodie Ginsberg.

This week, London will become the first city outside the Muslim world to host the World Islamic Economic Forum – an annual meeting of business executives, policymakers and financiers. It is an opportunity for Britain to sell itself as a premier destination for Islamic finance and tap into the estimated $1.5 trillion (£928 billion) of ­Islamic investment funds worldwide. Deals worth around £5.8 billion were struck at last year’s Forum, and the possibility of...

Posted by Jodie Ginsberg on 29 Oct 2013
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Are we the baddies?

Max Wind-Cowie: the Conservative party should support the hardworking people of Grangemouth.

‘Hans... are we the baddies?’ So asks David Mitchell of Robert Webb in a sketch in which it begins to dawn on two Nazis that they may, in fact, be on the wrong side. It’s the little clues that perturb Mitchell, and the skull and crossbones emblem on his uniform that eventually proves to him that yes they are, in fact, ‘the baddies’. And that’s the thing. If the side you’re on looks and sounds like they might be ‘the baddies’ it’s ...

Posted by Max Wind-Cowie on 24 Oct 2013
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Coming clean on care costs

Claudia Wood: the Government needs to be honest with the public on funding long-term social care.

The newspapers yesterday were full of bile regarding the ‘betrayal of the middle classes’, on hearing that the government's Universal Deferred Payment scheme would only be available to those pensioners with less than £23,500 in savings in the bank. The UDP is a scheme which has been around for many years in a locally variable form, but it is being revamped alongside the government's new care funding plan based originally on the Dilnot review – this will see pe...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 17 Oct 2013
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Yesterday's extremist

We should give Tommy Robinson a chance to repair the damage caused by the EDL, says Jamie Bartlett.

We must always leave the door open for groups or people to reform. After all, if we don't accept that people can change, what is the point of arguing, of debating, of reasoning - the bedrock of liberal, democratic politics? Yesterday's extremist is sometimes today's elected representative. (Or tomorrow's: Quilliam Foundation chairman Maajid Nawaz was once an Islamist radical, and will be a parliamentary candidate for the Lib Dems in 2015). When people recant - even if not qui...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 11 Oct 2013
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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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