January, 2008

Inspirational experience

David Lammy MP  |  31 January 2008

Apprenticeships help build more than just skills

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Mark Day interviews Will Marshall

Mark Day  |  31 January 2008

‘A mood for change … that has given Democrats advantages on virtually every issue’

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Our communal anxiety is about more than just immigration

Kevin Bonavia  |  30 January 2008

The debate on ID cards has not had much resonance with the people I have spoken to across Southend. The common concern about identity is not so much about the loss of an individual’s personal data but the perceived loss of a common identity across the town and across the country as a whole.

For, apart from issues such as the state of public services and tackling antisocial behaviour (on which Labour still gets decent credit), the issue that is most raised is the effect of immigration. It is cited as the root cause of several social ills, including: higher levels of crime; congestion on the roads; poor service on the NHS; fewer housing places; higher unemployment levels. The list goes on.

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Only a Labour government has the determination to fight for children in care

Richard Scorer  |  30 January 2008

How have children in care fared under New Labour? As the ‘new dawn’ broke on 2 May 1997, I drove to Flintshire in North Wales to attend another session of the long running public inquiry into the abuse of children in north Wales’ children’s homes. The inquiry, in which I represented a large group of care leavers, had started in late 1996, following widespread allegations of sexual and physical maltreatment of children in the care system. As I readied myself for another depressing litany of abuse and neglect, I remember hoping that the election of a Labour government would indeed herald a new dawn for children in care, and thinking that one measure of our success as a government would be whether we could deliver for this especially vulnerable and often voiceless group.

The inquiry focussed mainly on large children’s homes, and when it finally reported in 2000 some questioned the relevance of its analysis. Many of the larger homes had closed, and the majority of looked-after children were now living in foster care. But the inquiry served a crucial purpose in highlighting, as never before, the dreadful life chances of these children and the abject failure of the state and local authorities, as guardians, to support them properly not just in care, but after leaving it.

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Labour’s modernisers should back Ken

Luke Akehurst  |  29 January 2008

Eight years ago I strongly backed Frank Dobson’s campaign to stop Ken Livingstone becoming Labour candidate for mayor of London. Four years ago I publicly called for Livingstone to be blocked from readmission to the Labour party. This year I have no hesitation in backing Ken’s re-election. I will be campaigning for him as hard as I can and I would urge other Labour modernisers to do the same.

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Empower and prosper

Melanie Smallman  |  29 January 2008

Labour's environment policy can be radical, controversial and populist

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A matter of trust

Andy Burnham MP  |  28 January 2008

Andy Burnham on the next phase of public service reform

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Alternative systems

Mary Southcott  |  28 January 2008

Mary Southcott looks at the government's review of electoral systems

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Up for grabs

William Higham and Robert Philpot  |  28 January 2008

Gordon Brown can still win through. But there are some risks he must take

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While the SNP blunders through its honeymoon, Scottish Labour is quietly renewing

  |  25 January 2008

Last year was an eventful one in Scottish politics, with the Scottish National Party forming a minority government, and Scottish Labour electing a new leader, Wendy Alexander. It is now becoming clear what living under an SNP government will mean for the Scottish people. Broken promises, financial mismanagement and a prioritisation of the whims of the wealthy over the needs of the vulnerable, all look set to characterise their style of governance.

The SNP have produced a draft budget, which, with the support of the Tories, has now passed its first stage in parliament. The big achievement, supposedly, in this budget, is the agreement of local authorities to freeze council tax, a move which benefits high earners, but with no financial benefit whatsoever for those on the lowest incomes. What will impact on low earners will be the subsequent cut in services and the removal of ring-fencing agreed by the SNP in order to broker the deal with local authorities.

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