The pseudo-science behind the political war on the disabled

It has been a bad week for those on benefits, with George Osborne announcing in his Autumn Statement that benefits will be uprated by less than inflation – in other words, cut in real terms.  Labour is promising to fight these cuts but the pronouncements of both Labour DWP spokesman Liam Byrne and Labour leader […]

Is Cameron’s plan to tag offenders by GPS credible?

One of the most eye-catching aspects of David Cameron’s speech on criminal justice yesterday was the suggestion that GPS technology could be used to track offenders.  As someone who, during his time as a Civil Servant was actively involved in advising on the use of GPS technologies and has quite a bit of experience in […]

Adam Curtis, loving machines and the dog that didn’t bark

The third film of Adam Curtis’ series All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace was as astonishing as the first two – visually arresting, compelling, throwing ideas at the viewer, sometimes brilliant, sometimes just plain wrong.  Television is a tabloid medium and the ideas could not be developed in this framework, but the questions […]

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace – hippies and hegemony

The second part of Adam Curtis’ documentary was another sensory attack.  Britten, Bartok, ecosystems, a hole in the side of a bison. Some commentators see it as a work of art rather than a straight documentary and you could see their point.  Here are some quick thoughts. Put very simply, Curtis described how in the […]

Swine flu – a very capitalist illness

Swine flu is, for some people, a highly profitable business. A report in yesterday’s Times pointed to the business bonanza coming on the back of swine flu. Other, less mainstream sources have pointed to the commercial interest that some producers of flu remedies might have in stoking up the panic. But there is an increasing […]

Privatisation and death rates

Here’s an interesting piece from The Times that reports on some fascinating research about the impact of mass privatisation in Russia following the collapse of Communism. A recent piece in the Lancet by David Stuckler, Lawrence King and Martin McKee suggests that the rapid privatisation in a number of former Soviet and Eastern European states […]

Dump the bottle

Some months ago, I posted about Elizabeth Royte’s book Bottlemania – a book that not only exposed the idiocy of the bottled water cult, but the damage that it does to the environment.  I see that Johann Hari has a piece in today’s Independent, announcing his intention to give up bottled water for the new […]

Cognitive behaviour theory and market ideology

I’ve only now caught up  with a fascinating piece in the Guardian by Darian Leader examining the Government’s recent decision to place much greater emphasis on Cognitive Behaviour Theory (CBT) in combatting the UK’s growing mental health problem. Put briefly, CBT is an approach to therapy that seeks to correct erroneous thinking patterns to enable […]