Cast your mind back to April 2010. While Gordon Brown’s unorthodox approach to winning friends and influencing people (step forward Gillian Duffy) will live longest in most people’s memories, the beleaguered PM wasn’t the only Labour heavyweight making waves on the campaign trail. John Prescott was also doing the rounds in marginal seats up and down the country. Armed with only a microphone and Labour’s fabled 1997 pledge card, Prescott tried to explain to voters that the party had delivered the brave new world that Tony Blair had promised 13 years earlier.
The 21st century UK is characterised by a paradox. The British state, business community and population are deeply connected to the rest of the world. Always an open, trading nation, we have been shaped by centuries of globalisation. However, while our networks of external engagement become ever closer and more complex, the domestic story is increasingly one of social, economic, and political fragmentation.
How much am I worth? Now there’s a tricky question.
First of all, what are you measuring? My entire life- tears, laughs, bumps, scrapes and all? What would you even use to price that? How much would you pay to take ownership of all that I am?
Amidst the backdrop of falling public expenditure, a limited flow of credit and depressed incomes, we are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of social economy. Unconventional actors and organisations are occupying a growing space between the public and private sectors, challenging established wisdom about how we create and distribute value in our society. Initiatives such as Care4Care, Community Land Trust and the Green Investment Bank, are working in new and innovative ways – somewhere between public services and the market – to deliver social and environmental benefits.
And so there we have it, the final Labour conference before the election is over. The battle lines are drawn and it is all but certain Ed Miliband will be the man who leads us into the fight. The months until this election will now be filled with dark mutterings questioning why our lead in the polls is not more significant and whether we have done enough to win a majority.
On the face of it, the UK’s higher education system has never been more socially inclusive. According to UCAS’ headline figures, in the wake of mid-August’s A-level results, more students from deprived areas than ever before have gained admittance into universities. What’s more, the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged admissions has also fallen to an all-time low: the most advantaged are now “just” 2.5 times more likely to enter university than the least advantaged. They were three times more likely in 2012.
Earlier this summer Young Fabians’ Campaigns Officer, Alvin Carpio, embarked on a 5-week Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and Chicago to find out how leaders are pushing for social change to help the most marginalised and excluded. Here are some of his experiences when he was in Washington D.C.
Together. A word that speaks of common endeavour, shared sacrifice, solidarity, and fellowship. In three syllables it tells you all you need to know about Ed Miliband’s plan for a Britain that, in his own words, has “lost faith in the future”.
The Scottish referendum has been declared a triumph of democracy. Fully 85% of the population voted either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to independence on Thursday. No matter who lost, the people won, said the TV pundits, as it was the people who had spoken and the politicians who had to listen when the sun rose on Friday morning.
The economy has recovered. Six years since the recession, the UK is finally producing more than it was in 2008. How much this is being felt in the pockets of ordinary Britons is a moot point, because even if you’ve been lucky enough to get a pay rise this year, it has more than likely been swallowed up by an inflation-busting rise in your rent.
“We do not see any borders from space. We just see a unique planet with a thin, fragile atmosphere, suspended in a vast and hostile darkness. From up here it is crystal clear that on Earth we are one humanity, we eventually all share the same fate."
The New Labour project represented the single largest policy shift in the Labour party since its creation, radically altering the electoral agenda of the party. No longer would Labour be fighting for nationalisation or "the common ownership of the means of production", instead Tony Blair would run a campaign based on a new platform of “social individualism”. Regardless of what you think of Blair, his policies were a compromise with the free market. He thought that the private sector was the most efficient, and pushed ahead with the task of privatisation set forth by Margaret Thatcher.