Behind the headlines: Is it really a ‘shock’ drop in violent crime?

Have we really witnessed a dramatic fall in violent crime because young people have stopped binge drinking? asks James Bloodworth

Police car ncpjThe Times leads today with the splash that there has been a “shock drop in violent crime” in the UK. The story is based on the news that, between 2012 and 2013, there was a 12 per cent drop in the number of victims of violent crime.

According to data from almost a third of emergency departments, 235,000 people were treated following a violent attack in 2013 – 32,800 fewer than in the previous year.

The drop has been attributed to falling alcohol consumption and a reduction in binge drinking – itself attributed to the rising cost of alcohol. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

The PM’s role in securing a probe into Sri Lanka’s human rights violations should extend to India’s massacre of Sikhs

The truth of what happened in India in 1984 deserves to be told, writes Hardeep Singh

David Cameron SikhsjRevelations about the Thatcher government’s ‘limited’ involvement in the 1984 Golden Temple massacre have led to calls on the coalition to support a UN resolution for investigating human rights violations by India.

Although an ambitious goal, recent developments at the UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC) indicate it’s not impossible. Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response

Combining road building and fracking is a toxic combination

Ministers have chosen to combine roadbuilding and fracking in a single toxic piece of legislation, writes Andrew Allen

George Osborne nc1jWhat should government do when faced with two highly contentious and unpopular policies that need primary legislation?

In the case of roadbuilding and fracking, ministers have apparently chosen to combine them in a single toxic piece of legislation. It’s a move that will unite green campaigners in opposition and could ferment a much broader frustration with the direction of government policy.

According to rumours in this morning’s papers, a new Infrastructure Bill will be introduced in the Queen’s Speech on 3 June. The mainstay of the innocent sounding Bill will be measures to allow energy companies to ‘frack’ for shale gas under private land without permission and to speed up the massive programme of road building by giving the Highways Agency more freedom over how to spend its increasingly gargantuan budget. Read More »

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Labour should never take ethnic minority voters for granted

If the Tories can shake off the nasty party image, there is ample evidence the party can build on the 16 per cent ethnic minority support they had in 2010, writes James Bloodworth

Conservative treej“The rising number of middle-class ethnic minority voters could help tip the election in favour of David Cameron,” the Telegraph proclaimed this morning, citing new research by Demos which suggests Labour risks losing ethnic minority voters as they become more middle class.

Second and third generation immigrants could lose their ‘reflex’ support for Labour, with those moving to traditionally white middle class areas adopting the voting patterns of their new neighbours, according to the study. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Responses

We’re failing to win the argument on human rights

It’s not just that we’re denied space to make the argument, it’s that we’ve failed to make a convincing case for human rights, argues Andrew Noakes

Daily MailjNext week the Labour Campaign for Human Rights and the Society of Labour Lawyers will come together to co-host an event on how Labour can best defend its most important human rights achievement while in government – the Human Rights Act (HRA).

With the Tories threatening to repeal the HRA and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which the HRA incorporates into UK law, and the media and public largely sceptical about human rights in general, we who desperately want to defend the HRA and ECHR face a difficult road ahead. Read More »

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Five ways Labour can give power to public service users

People want a greater say when it comes to public services, according to most polling. Cat Hobbs looks at how Ed Miliband can start to give it to them

Ed Miliband no copyrightjDavid Axelrod, Obama’s campaign manager and now Ed Miliband’s election advisor, has described his new client as someone who takes on “powerful interests” and speaks up for the majority. When it comes to public services, however, this has yet to be proven.

In his Hugo Young speech in February, Miliband gave an outline of Labour’s policy with a new call for “people-powered public services”. Mentioning schools, the NHS and local government, he called for individuals to have access to information held about them and the chance to link up with support networks. Read More »

Posted in Public Services for All | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Responses

Voters in England want devolution too

With the Scottish independence argument hotting up, it’s important that the issue of devolution in England is not overlooked, writes Neil Foster

England mapjWith increased political attention in Scotland as the independence referendum looms nearer, it’s important that the issue of devolution of economic power in England is not overlooked. New polling published today shows that there is real interest and appetite for more decision-making to be taken from Whitehall and devolved to regional and local areas.

65 per cent of voters agree that ‘too much of England is run from London’, with just 13 per cent disagreeing and 19 per cent saying they ‘neither agree or disagree’. This view is strongest among Labour (78 per cent), Liberal Democrat (72 per cent) and UKIP supporters (71 per cent), reflecting a broad alliance of voters that believes the capital is too dominant. Read More »

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Food bank bashing: when poverty dares speak its name

The Tories are trying to discredit food banks because the alternative would be to accept that their policies are creating poverty, writes Annie Powell

Food banks imagejToday, Easter Sunday, that paragon of Christian virtue the Mail on Sunday has run a story about food banks. Not about how nearly a million people have been driven to such extreme poverty in Cameron’s Britain that they cannot afford to feed themselves, no, but about how one of its reporters lied to a food bank to obtain a free food parcel.

The point of the story? To make out that it’s easy to get free food from food banks and that those who do so are simply on the scrounge rather than in genuine need. Read More »

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The mansion tax: how to make it work for Londoners

By introducing a mansion tax based on the last sale price of a property, rather than the current market value, the tax would hit only those who could afford to pay it, writes Tom Copley

Mansionj ncLet’s face it, Council Tax is ridiculous. Taxing people based on the value of their property in 1991 is a farcical way for local authorities to raise money.

Nor does it afford many councils a sense of financial independence given that local authorities raise on average only a quarter of their total annual budget from it – being mainly reliant on grants from central government for the rest of their income. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , | 6 Responses

Cameron’s Christianity is sanitised and shallow

Jesus’ instruction to love thy neighbour is the opposite of a politically convenient message, writes Simon Ravenscroft

Christian cross ncjIt’s coming up to Easter and David Cameron is out playing his Christian card again. As usual, it seems a little disingenuous.

I find it difficult these days, given events like ‘Beer-and-Bingo-gate’, not to imagine the inner workings of political parties as near identical to what you see in The Thick of It. Read More »

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