Monthly Archives: March 2011

The UK’s political climate remains volatile. But the Liberal Democrats’ immediate prospects look grim, whatever happens

A clutch of recent polls suggest that UK voters remain quite volatile in their views, with some giving Labour an overall lead over both the coalition parties combined, and others suggesting that the Liberal Democrats could revive and the Tories can match Labour’s rankings. Despite this volatility, Patrick Dunleavy warns that on present form Nick Clegg could risk testing his […]

The government’s new Digital Economy Act will do little to prevent file sharing – the music industry must continue to innovate online if it is to survive

Nearly as old as the internet, the peer-to-peer file sharing of music online has been a constant bugbear for the music industry, with claims of billions in lost revenues over the past decade. Bart Cammaerts and Bingchun Meng have found that despite these assertions, incomes from innovative online products such as LastFM and Spotify are complementing a resurgence of interest […]

The coalition government is facing criticism for its failure to keep the transparency agenda moving forward, but lessons can be learned by looking to Canada

In Canada last week, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was defeated by a motion of no-confidence which declared the government to be in contempt of Parliament for its refusal to share information that opposition members had requested to properly assess legislation put before them. This lack of transparency has a history, argues Anne White, and may offer some lessons and a […]

Budget 2011: Government’s ‘pothole priority’ proves its lack of commitment to localism

George Jones looks at last week’s budget and finds that the generally overlooked provision of extra funds to Councils to repair potholes is yet another sign that the government is not serious about its localism agenda. One of the most amazing provisions in the Budget, in the era of cuts in public spending and decentralisation to local government and communities, […]

Budget 2011: The new flat rate pension will reduce poverty among the retired, but employers who offer good pensions may be penalised financially as a result

Last Wednesday’s budget introduced the government’s plans for a flat rate pension credit. While Tim Leunig welcomes these plans, he finds that the burden for funding this new system may well fall on employers in a significant way. The Budget contains plans for everyone to get a £140 a week non-means tested pension. That is good news on many levels. […]

Budget 2011: A footnote to the existing agenda, but the public is waking up to the attack on the welfare state

Richard Hyman offers this short comment on the 2011 Budget in light of Saturday’s demonstrations in London.

Last week’s budget was a footnote to the agenda already in place. The rise in VAT to 20 per cent is a regressive tax that hits hardest those with the most limited means. The savage public expenditure cuts could cause […]

Saturday’s demonstrations showed the media’s difficulties in reporting the issues and the actions of a small group of protesters at the same time

Should you blame the media if your demo doesn’t work? Charlie Beckett takes a look at Saturday’s protests from the journalist’s point of view. There are three big dilemmas in reporting any major demonstration where there is violence. Firstly, how do you balance the visually-arresting actions of a small group with the low-key political festivities of the majority? Secondly, how […]

STV in Scotland shows us that voters can adapt to preferential voting systems – but political parties may take longer to fully grasp the new system

In the run up to the AV referendum in May, there has been considerable debate and commentary from both campaigns on how AV would actually operate. In this light, it is worth considering the impact of the last large-scale electoral reform in the UK: the 2007 introduction of another preferential electoral system, the single transferable vote (STV) for local government […]