Is internet surveillance really 'Orwellian'?

Jamie Bartlett on internet surveillance and the totalitarian language used to describe it.

How, why, and when, a government monitors its own population is one of those vexing ‘big’ questions.  It usually hums away in the background, but presently dominates the front pages, such as the furore of the UK’s Communications Data Bill (‘Snoopers Charter’ to critics), and claims by whistleblower Edward Snowden about NSA and GCHQ activities. Civil liberties groups and campaigners have raised serious and legitimate concerns about what is being done in the ...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 11 Sep 2013
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A misplaced legacy

Claudia Wood introduces a review of the cultural legacy of the Paralympics.

As the Paralympians return to the Olympic Park for National Paralympic Day, now is the time to reflect on the success of the 2012 Paralympic Games. The games were regarded as a triumph for Paralympic sport – being the most spectated games in Paralympic history and with the largest ever ticket sales.   With such a precedent set, it was unsurprising expectations of the impact of the Paralympics were high. But the Games were not without controversy. Some criticised the media represen...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 07 Sep 2013
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Finance for growth

The conventional wisdom on SME lending is due a rethink, writes Jodie Ginsberg.

Since the financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn, one refrain has been persistent in political and popular discourse: economic recovery would speed up if only banks lent more money to small businesses.  In fact, as a new Demos Finance report shows today, this argument is not only wrong, but it is also sucking up valuable political energy – not to mention funds – that could far more valuably be directed at initiatives that could really ignite growth. Our repo...

Posted by Jodie Ginsberg on 04 Sep 2013
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An early shot across the banks’ bows

Mark Carney is right to prioritise the problem of banking culture, writes Andrew Freeman.

Put aside ‘forward guidance’ for a moment, and ponder instead Mark Carney’s remarks in a radio interview that he intends to continue the job of restructuring banks’ balance sheets and advocating a ‘step change’ in their cultures. He didn’t say much, but those two linked remarks are arguably more important than the focused vagueness of monetary policy signalling. Britain’s banks remain far too big and consequently represent an ongoing threat to ...

Posted by Andrew Freeman on 08 Aug 2013
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In the market

Can markets ever fully be morally neutral, asks Duncan O'Leary.

With the debate over the role of payday lending and zero hours contracts raging on, this is a good opportunity to (belatedly) respond to Andrew Lilico’s piece on the morality of markets. The post was written following Jesse Norman's lecture at Demos on the subject (which you can now listen to here). If you missed it at the time, Lilico’s article is well worth a read. It sets out the moral case for markets and capitalism brilliantly, going far beyond the observation that they ...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 08 Aug 2013
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Rules of the internet

Making women feel unwelcome on the internet is nothing new, writes Jamie Bartlett.

Over the last week, 'Twitter trolls' have targeted high profile women with repeated online threats of rape, murder and bomb attacks, most notably Caroline Criado-Perez, Stella Creasy MP, and the academic Mary Beard. In response, many users boycotted Twitter on Sunday, and a petition was started to make reporting abuse easier. It's not just the celebrity females that get the abuse: recent research has found that women are more likely to be cyber bullied than men across the board. ...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 06 Aug 2013
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Why the Bank of England is not the Taliban

Jodie Ginsberg provides some clarity on small businesses and bank lending.

Vince Cable says the Bank of England is putting excessive burdens on the City by insisting they hold more capital. He has picked the wrong argument. The repeated insistence by policy makers that a failure by banks to lend to small businesses is what is holding back economic growth is nonsense. If only, the argument seems to run, if only banks would just throw a bit more money at small companies – all of whom are chomping at the bit to borrow more so they can expand – then the econ...

Posted by Jodie Ginsberg on 24 Jul 2013
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Changing care homes from the bottom up

Claudia Wood introduces the Commission on Residential Care.

Last year, a Lords committee set out to review the implications of demographic change on all aspects of life within the UK – from health and care to pensions, work and housing. They had some stark numbers to work with: England will see a 51 per cent rise in those aged 65 plus and a 101 per cent increase in those aged 85 plus from 2010 to 2030. Instances of dementia will increase by 80 per cent by then. Arthritis, coronary heart disease and stroke – all up by over 50 per cent. Aft...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 22 Jul 2013
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Making markets moral

Duncan O'Leary dissects the arguments for moralising capitalism ahead of Jesse Norman's Demos lecture.

On Wednesday Demos welcomes Jesse Norman MP to give a 20th birthday lecture  on ‘making markets moral’ (it’s our birthday, not his). Norman is someone who is always worth listening to and it will be fascinating to see how he approaches the subject. Over the last year or so there has been flurry of interest in the topic on the centre-Right, with the launch of Renewal this week indicating an appetite to go further on what Tim Montgomerie has called ‘little guy cons...

Posted by Duncan O'Leary on 16 Jul 2013
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What do people really want at the end of life?

Claudia Wood challenges the consensus on what people value in end of life care.

People want to die at home: successive surveys over the past five to ten years show that around two thirds of the public express such a wish. Yet only 20 per cent of people currently die at home each year. Addressing this mismatch was a central theme of the first National End of Life Care Strategy in 2008, and this has been the predominant focus of reform in end of life care ever since. Demos itself published Dying for Change in 2010 highlighting the lack of progress in improving the numbers...

Posted by Claudia Wood on 09 Jul 2013
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