A question of trust

Jamie Bartlett advises caution before we take Abu Nusaybah's claims at his word.

Last night, Newsnight ran an interview that Richard Watson held with Abu Nusaybah, a childhood friend of Woolwich suspect Michael Adebolajo. Nusaybah claimed that MI5 had ‘tried to recruit’ Adebolajo to work for them, but that he had refused. (Nusaybah also tweeted the same claim before the programme was aired: 'Did u know #Woolwich suspect Michael Adebolajo was approached by MI5 just over 6 months ago to work as a spy, He refused ? #NOMORELIES #UK'). Immediately after the...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 25 May 2013
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Quiet heroism

Max Wind-Cowie on Ingrid Loyau-Kennett's incredible bravery.

After yesterday's terrible events in Woolwich, I, like many others, was struck by the quiet heroism of Ingrid Loyau-Kennett. Loyau-Kennett, a middle aged cub leader, was present at the scene of the murder - she intervened first to attempt to save the life of the slain man and then to try to distract and engage with his killers. She showed admirable courage of the sort most people hope they have but, thankfully, never have to demonstrate. I tweeted 'What an extraordinary woman, it'...

Posted by Max Wind-Cowie on 23 May 2013
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The Woolwich attacks are not new

The tragedy is being reported as a new departure. Jamie Bartlett explains why we've seen it all before.

All the evidence now strongly suggests that yesterday's knife attack in Woolwich was a terrorist incident, and the two culprits were al-Qaeda inspired, or motivated by similar violent ideas. Beyond that, caution is required. There is still much we do not know (although Twitter, predictably, has already named one suspect, and I won't repeat it here). It is being reported as a new departure, a new style, of terrorist activity. Assuming it is an al-Qaeda inspired attack, that is wrong on...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 23 May 2013
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The importance of being empathetic

Max Wind-Cowie on why Diane Abbott is right to talk about men.

Diane Abbott, Shadow Minister for Public Health, is addressing Demos this morning on the 'crisis of masculinity'. Her speech will discuss the problems and paradoxes faced by British men in the 21st Century and call for a response that recognises men's increased vulnerability and sense of isolation. I think she has a point. But either way, and more importantly, she has a right to try to make a point. This is not a view shared by everyone. 'What does Diane Abbott know about bei...

Posted by Max Wind-Cowie on 15 May 2013
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Decoupling radicalisation and terrorism

A focus on radicals is too simplistic to successfully prevent terrorism argues Jamie Bartlett.

This week, Rolling Stone magazine published an article Everything you know about radicalisation is wrong, in which I featured. I always thought it would be by substandard indie band that’d get me in there - turned out to be my research on Islamist networks. The article questioned the causal link between radicalisation and terror, leading to a good discussion – and much disagreement – from academics. I thought I’d add a few thoughts to the debate. To summarise, bo...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 09 May 2013
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What Occupy got wrong

Demos Finance's Jodie Ginsberg reports back on an in-conversation event with Anat Ahmadi.

It’s taken an Israeli and a German academic to do it, but finally someone is writing in plain English about banking: what’s wrong with it and what to do about it. And their message is stark – because of the way in which they fund their activities (by borrowing huge amounts of money), banks still present huge risks to the global economy and to taxpayers. What’s worse, argue Professors Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig in The Bankers’ New Clothes, is that legislators ...

Posted by Jodie Ginsberg on 08 May 2013
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Trust thy neighbour?

Max Wind-Cowie on how London’s churn undermines a sense of community.

Polling, commissioned by the Yorkshire Building Society and published today, finds that only 13 per cent of Londoners trust their neighbours. That’s pretty low even before you compare it with the rest of the country – when you realise that the figure is 39 per cent in Scotland and Wales it looks positively shocking. Why would Londoners – residents of a city which is frequently acclaimed as one of the ‘best places on earth to live’ and to which thousands flock f...

Posted by Max Wind-Cowie on 03 May 2013
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Cracking the Nuttall

Max Wind-Cowie on the threat UKIP's deputy leader Paul Nuttall poses to Labour.

Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of UKIP, was on the Today programme this morning giving voice to the concerns that many of us have about the potential arrival of tens of thousands of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants next year. His appearance followed the downplaying by the BBC of their own estimates, derived from polling, which showed that as many as 350,000 accession citizens are considering moving here. That, plus MigrationWatch's prediction of around 50,000 a year, should ...

Posted by Max Wind-Cowie on 25 Apr 2013
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The North is rising. But which North?

Jonathan Todd asks whether increased powers for regional government will boost economic growth.

The Manchester habit, Judge Parry wrote in 1912 is: ‘don't talk about what you are going to do, do it.’ This can-do, pioneering spirit led in 2009 to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) being formed. Being a statutory body with its functions set out in legislation and bringing together the leaders of the 10 constituent councils in Greater Manchester, GMCA was until recently a unique model of governance for a city region. It holds powers over transport, economic de...

Posted by Jonathan Todd on 25 Apr 2013
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Is Twitter a good source of breaking news?

Jamie Bartlett analyses the strength and limitations of crowdsourcing.

Following the Boston bombings, anyone following the relevant feeds and hashtags would have seen a surge of contradictory stories and speculation, some important and true, others later exposed as nonsense. Twitter is both an enormous rumour mill, and invaluable source of valuable information. I could end this article here, but academics have been studying this question in detail since at least 2010, so I'm about to get a little technical. Ever since the Osama Bin Laden raid was live-blogg...

Posted by Jamie Bartlett on 22 Apr 2013
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