• Further Education Matters

    Further Education Matters

    At the end of last month, the Government outlined their plans for adult further education. Excluding funding for apprenticeships, the budget for 2015/16 will be cut by 24 per cent. That’s 24 per cent of the funding for adults who want to gain a better education later in life. Further education was deeply scarred as […]

  • Who’s going to win?  Show me the money

    Who’s going to win?  Show me the money

    I blogged previously about a conference at which academics made predictions for potential election results based on a range of factors. One of those factors was money. It is possible, by looking at the Electoral Commission website, to see which constituency or local parties have received the most in donations in any particular quarter. Parties […]

  • Why we are missing out on a genuine political conversation?

    Why we are missing out on a genuine political conversation?

    Over the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to sit and listen to ‘real’ people talk about their hopes and aspirations as well as their anxieties and fears. Their voices, as opposed to those which we hear on the news or indeed those that we engage in at conferences or workshops, provide a […]

  • Predicting results.. what works and what doesn’t

    Predicting results.. what works and what doesn’t

    Predicting election results is a mix of art and science.  We can all think of polls and pundits in the past who have got it wrong.  But there are some signs observers can look out for to make at least a partial judgement. Yesterday (March 5th) I attended an excellent event at the BBC in […]

  • Why changing how public services are run and financed is off the agenda

    Why changing how public services are run and financed is off the agenda

    How public services are funded and how they are run have been two central questions to dominate news and political conversations. The scale of problems associated with the NHS, from the crisis in A&E to the scandals revealed in the Francis Report in Staffordshire, have all been about money and staffing. And yet, as the […]

  • Unaccustomed as I am…..

    Unaccustomed as I am…..

    This Spring sees the last lot of party conferences before the big event. Some are specific national conferences, like the Conservative Welsh Conference that has just taken place.  Others are UK wide, like the Lib Dem conference due to take place later in March (13/14/15th) and Ukip’s event in Margate. Organisations such as “grassroots” organisation […]

  • Words… words…words

    Words… words…words

    Is there any phrase more annoying than “hard- working families”?  This seems to have entered the political phrasebook and is now trotted out by just about every party on just about every occasion.  Some say it was first used in the 1990s although Liverpool University’s Dr Stuart Wilks Heeg has pointed out a use in […]

  • Why the public realm still matters

    Why the public realm still matters

     The idea of the ‘public realm’ is one which is unlikely to grab everyone’s attention. But it captures an important set of ideas and they are ones we tend to take for granted. At its heart is the simple proposition that the health of a good society can be seen through its commitment to shared […]

  • Vote: Politics is about more than political parties and the ballot box

    Vote: Politics is about more than political parties and the ballot box

    Russell Brand caused a stir in the media and amongst the political classes in recent months as he questioned the value of voting in what he sees as a corrupt political system which fails to serve the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Whilst I might have sympathy with some of the things Brand says, […]