Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Boundary Commission for England has been unnecessarily radical in its proposals, often ignoring local government boundaries. New constituencies may lack community cohesion and local loyalty.

Last week, the Boundary Commission for England presented its proposals for new constituencies based on 600 rather than 650 parliamentary seats. Democratic Audit’s Lewis Baston undertook a parallel analysis in June, and while he finds some similarities, he argues that the Commission may create tri-borough seats, orphan wards and the crossing of the boundaries of upper-tier authorities and counties, which […]

The select committee system is more effective than ever before. Now, a thorough review of their core tasks and resources is needed, to avoid them being bogged down under the weight of increasing workload and expectations.

Select committees in government are not new, but they have recently had a boost to their status and reputation – in July, millions watched the Culture, Media and Sport select committee question Rupert and James Murdoch over phone hacking. The Hansard Society’s Matt Korris argues that the increasing role and public expectations of select committees now places them with an […]

Nick Clegg’s performance at the Liberal Democrat party conference proves that he has won the match for now, but for this ‘government of two halves’, the season is a long one.

Following a torrid year in government, Nick Clegg has faced down his party’s conference without any embarrassing policy reversals. Disaffected Lib Dems might be placated by the string of promises laid out by the party’s big brass, which will be unpalatable to their partners in government, but if a week is a long time in politics, Nick Clegg has a […]

Both inequality and poverty cause health and social problems – they are forces that need to be tackled together.

With a stagnant economy and banking reform years away, inequality between rich and poor still looms large. New research by Karen Rowlingson for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that a combination of inequality and poverty can lead to serious health and social problems, and we cannot address one adequately without looking at the other.

The best outcome for children in their early years is to have two working parents

The debate around the impacts that working parents have on their children’s development is long running and continuing. Commentators have raised concerns about working mothers especially resulting in children who are less well-behaved, do worse at school and are less healthy. Anne McMunn outlines the results of her research looking at the working habits of parents and the behaviour of […]

We need to be smart about regulating the labour market: individual rights rather than collective bargaining need to be the way forward

This month saw  the recent announcement by unions of a new wave of public sector strikes planned for November over public sector pension plans. Alan Manning argues that unions have become an increasingly problematic way to deliver the progressive agenda, as they tend to be composed of those who deliver public services rather than those who receive them. Smarter labour […]

Should the government decide to abstain from the UN vote on Palestinian statehood, it will serve to perpetuate a moribund peace process and further marginalise the UK in Middle Eastern affairs.

As the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN looms closer, Britain remains non-committal and hints that it will abstain from the Security Council vote. Claims that such a move will encourage both sides back to the negotiating table are false, writes Guy Burton, and are indicative of political beliefs that favour a relationship with the US over that with […]

Vince Cable is right to tackle executive pay, but to do so, he has to build a coalition from within the financial sector to encourage more spartan pay awards. This won’t be easy.

Reporting on Vince Cable’s speech yesterday at the Liberal Democrat conference, John Springford argues that while his plan to begin to address inflated executive pay is right in principle, it will be difficult in practice. To make it work, to has to get shareholders and corporate boards to agree to reduce their own pay.