2012 in review

Progress  |  24 December 2012

2012 has been a busy year for Progress as we continue to contribute to the debate around Labour’s – and the country’s – future. Here we round up the best of what we have been doing online and in the magazine, with ideas and pieces put forward by some of the most talented writers, thinkers …

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The ‘big society’ lies at the bottom of the ocean

Paul Richards  |  21 December 2012

The world may not have ended this week, but the ‘big society’ did. It was born in David Cameron’s Hugo Young memorial lecture of November 2009, and died in the prime minister’s questions last Wednesday. It started in a whirlwind of rhetorical hyperbole: ‘we need a thoughtful re-imagination of the role, as well as the …

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A fundamental fudge

Bilal Mahmood  |  19 December 2012

Yesterday, the nine-person commission on a UK bill of rights released its findings after nearly 20 months of consultation, investigation and review. Its conclusion? Well, they are not really sure. At best, ‘wait and see’ until after the referendum on Scottish independence (devolved assemblies hate the idea of a UK bill of rights) and, at …

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A game of two halves

Stephen Bush  |  18 December 2012

It is halftime. For Conservatives, the post mortem is already beginning: when the match started, they had all but written their opponents off. Without a natural centre-forward, lacking depth in crucial areas, and exposed on the right flank, they reasoned that 2012 would be the year they dealt decisive blows against Labour. Now they trail …

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A century of non-reform

Bob Hughes  |  18 December 2012

The House of Lords 1911-2011, A Century of Non-Reform, Chris Ballinger For those who define and equate reform with an elected House of Lords, so that this is their holy grail, this book will make grim reading.  Well researched, it is no dry academic treatise, but provides real insight into how and why all attempts at fundamental …

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Mullahs without Mercy

Greg Falconer  |  18 December 2012

Would the world be safer if lawyers were in charge? Geoffrey Robertson seems to think so. In this thought-provoking read, the QC offers a means to achieve a nuclear-free world: by reforming international legal architecture and abolishing atomic weapons completely. His case is clear-cut. Nukes are illegal on human rights grounds because of their capacity …

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Robbing young Europeans of their future

Kevin Peel  |  17 December 2012

It started well. At 4am last Thursday morning bleary-eyed finance ministers from across the European Union emerged from the meeting of Ecofin to announce that they had reached a deal to clear the first hurdle to a full European banking union, with agreement to make the European Central Bank the single supervisor of the European …

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Family intervention shows the way

Jacqui Smith  |  17 December 2012

I am optimistic about public services – even during a period of austerity.  It is just plain wrong to view the private sector as the source of innovation, enterprise and ingenuity versus the dead hand of the state.  This weekend I was heartened by reading Louise Casey’s report into the design and success of family …

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Dealing with the ‘care crunch’

John Bolton  |  17 December 2012

For a decade we have debated the future funding of social care. The debate has mainly focused on the key question – who should pay for care costs – the state or the individual? In this short piece I want to pose two issues in this debate – first, is this the right question and, …

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The Welfare State We’re In

Kate Green MP  |  17 December 2012

I can think of no good reason why the publishers of The Welfare State We’re In see the need for this new edition. Virtually no recent data has been added to the analysis: the author cites few examples of the performance of the welfare state from after 2003. Selective reporting of anecdote is presented as …

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