Budget 2016 - Sweet or sour for the NHS?

You could be forgiven for thinking that Wednesday’s budget didn’t say much about health – other than that headline-grabbing sugar levy. And following the frontloaded increase in NHS funding set out in November’s Spending Review, you might think that the health service really isn’t doing too badly under this government. 

But, as ever in health policy, things aren’t quite that simple. 


The losers of this ‘budget for the next generation’, are the next generation

“When I was your age” so the boring mantra your parents repeat goes, “I got a job and looked after myself”

Sometimes, listening to the Tories announce a budget and its measures to building success for the next generation (!) you can’t help but feel like Osborne is your dad, berating you for not trying hard enough.


It’s time for a fairer school admissions system


The Young Fabians Education Network hosted in debate in Parliament in early February looking at the secondary school admissions system.  

With access to the best schools often dependent on postcode, some parents are able to effectively buy their way into high quality state education, by buying or renting housing in the right catchment areas. The event looked at some of the possible alternatives, and the practical and political challenges involved in reforming school admissions.admissions system.

You can read a Storify of the event here.

Following the event Joel Mullan wrote an article for Left Foot Forward on the key messages emerging from the discussion. It is reproduced below. 

admissions system. 


Should oil prices be leading the equity markets?

John. D. Rockefeller once said that he tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity. Equity markets have decided to do the opposite when reacting to the collapse of oil. Falling oil prices have historically been positive for the world economy, given the redistribution of purchasing power from producers to consumers. However, markets have focused on the direct negative effects of lower oil prices without looking ahead at the potential positive outcomes.


Hillary Clinton must be more than “the female candidate”

The 2016 presidential favourite will falter if she continues to use gender as her selling point

In an effort to avoid falling victim to Einstein’s definition of insanity, Hillary Clinton has used her gender as a qualifier for office, claiming that it is time for a female president. Yet if Clinton believes Americans will vote for her because she is a woman, initial results offer little reason to hope.


Energy efficiency isn’t sexy

There is nothing sexy about energy efficiency, opined former Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee and Conservative MP Tim Yeo to explain the past failures of successive governments to address the UK’s leaky housing stock. He was arguing that energy efficiency fails to capture the public imagination or inspire MPs to act, to address this pernicious and prevalent infrastructure problem that leads to fuel poverty, excessive carbon emissions and tedious blog posts (well at least one).  


Building Castles in the Sky?

The fall, rise and rise again of Barbara Castle’s 1969 white paper ‘in place of strife’(IPS)

Everyone has been in that situation: You’re sitting at the bar, five drinks in and suddenly the topic of conversation changes to the unions. The right-winger in your group says that in smashing up the miners, Thatcher did a hard but necessary task, the left-winger talks about Tube drivers being the last bastion of the well-paid working class worker and the Centrist... well the centrist has a faraway look tinged with sadness. “If only we had implemented In Place of Strife (IPS)…”

 


How do we rethink the relationship between labour and Labour?

The Labour Party leadership contest, in addition to enabling debate on different policies, provided a valuable opportunity for members to reflect on the party's ideological core. The radically different visions offered by each candidate paid tribute to the many different readings afforded by Labour’s ‘democratic socialism’. Now is an apt time to re-evaluate an important but oft-overlooked interpretation – one which stresses the ‘democratic’ in democratic socialism’s – which can offer much use if applied within the context of the workplace. If taken to its ideational conclusion, its adoption would herald a profoundly positive shift in the relationship between labour and Labour.


We need to defend our historic unity

The Labour Party was founded to provide Parliamentary representation for the trade union movement. Socialist societies, including our own [Fabians], provided the other foundational pillars. For as long as these core links to the labour movement remain intact, Labour remains a worker's party. Despite this, the contemporary Labour Party suffers a tendency of courting a liberal meta-narrative that seeks to de-legitimise the foundational remit of the labour struggle. Bombarded by the media and opposition parties with the message that trade-unionism is dead, out of touch and out of date, the public are often left without access to an alternative discourse. This in turn destroys the incentive of workers to rally behind the only party that institutionally represents their interests.

 


Getting down to business

From the Archive

With numbers of trade union members plummeting, Usdaw the trade union for shop workers, is managing to buck the trend.

Anticipations editor, Ellie Groves talks to the General Secretary of Usdaw, John Hannett, finding out his big secret behind this success and what he thinks an ideal relationship between the trade unions and the Labour Party would look like.


How can unions stop the tide and recruit more members?

In the 1970s, American Sociologist Mark Granovetter posited a theory of social action based on what he called ‘weak ties’. Granovetter argued that the strength of community and social movements comes from the amount of interaction they have with each other. He used the example of two American neighbourhoods, one white working-class (WWC) and one Italian, who were trying to resist redevelopment of their area. He observed that in the WWC neighbourhood, everyone worked in the same factories, drank in the same pubs, attended the same events etc. In contrast, the Italian neighbourhood was based primarily on strong familial relationships, with little interaction between families. In the end, the WWC neighbourhood were able to form a strong community resistance based upon the pre-existing ties between workers and friends and succeeded in protecting their area. In contrast, the Italians were never able to agree on who should be leaders of the movement and could not organise, and they lost their fight.


Employee democracy: a secret economic weapon?

One of the principal reasons for the success of the C4 series Undercover Boss was the emotional punch packed by seeing wealthy individuals recognise the hard work and commitment of their employees. Often alien to the shop floor themselves, they went back to the boardroom with new compassion for their frontline staff.


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