Joining the dots? Labour’s State of the Economy conference

Yesterday in London, the Labour Party held its State of the Economy conference, in which more than 700 Labour members came together for debate on the Party’s economic policy for the next election and beyond. It’s remarkable that this event should have happened at all.  Economic policy has long been untouchable, forged by the professional […]

After Kids Company: the problem with charity

The closure of the Kids Company charity amid a flurry of allegations has raised much controversy; opinion is divided between support for its charismatic founder and former chief executive, Camilla Batmanghelidjh, and serious concern about the way in which the charity, dealing with some of the most vulnerable people in society, has operated. Batmanghelidjh was […]

Coming home

There is a cynical view that party conferences are so much hot air – three weeks in which the party faithful essentially look inwards, with little that is relevant to the need of the wider world.  That may be true at times, but this years conference season – and the events that have immediately followed […]

Why gagging charities is consistent with the Big Society

Tomorrow, the The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill is due to receive its second reading as part of a rushed progress through Parliament.  Most of the charitable sector is in uproar over the possible consequences for charity campaigns –  for example the Guardian today carries a view from a leading human rights […]

The Spirit of ’45: a flawed but powerful message for contemporary politics

You would need a heart of stone – or to be Liam Byrne – not to shed a tear during The Spirit of ’45.  My moment came when the retired doctor – one of a number of individuals whose reflections and reminiscences punctuated the narrative, and whose demeanour might have been made for a white […]

Clegg’s wealth tax and gesture politics

It must be party conference season.  Nick Clegg making statements about an emergency wealth tax, a rather desperate attempt to give the annual festival of Stockholm Syndrome that calls itself the Liberal Democrat Party Conference something to differentiate themselves from the Tory party their Parliamentarians have happily maintained in office. A wealth tax sounds superficially […]