Recent Articles

BSkyB and local programming: should Labour focus on this?

by Paul Evans     July 11, 2011 at 10:01 am

As far as I can see, the current scandals engulfing News Corporation – did they cause unnecessary hurt to individuals and get in the way of a murder enquiry – fade into insignificance against the big question:

Do they use the bullying power of their newspapers to distort democracy in pursuit of their own corporate interests?

A glaring example is the way that Murdoch is allowed to duck a European regulation that would create thousands of jobs and result in a small portion of the tax-free profits that he exports being spent on making TV programmes and films in the UK.
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Time to offer political parties a new deal – ‘’

by Paul Evans     May 20, 2009 at 9:01 am

Both Labour and the Conservatives have moved to take away the whip – and effectively deselect – MPs that have offended public morality with their expense claims.

But is this really enough? Are we simply to be satisfied that a few examples are made of the most egregious cases of an abuse of parliamentary expenses and leave it at that? Or is there a wider crisis the the quality of representation that needs addressing?

I think that this provides us with a fantastic opportunity to renew the entire political class in the UK. It is time for us to think about how we can reinvigorate widespread participation in political parties – old and new. For this reason, I’d like to propose that we – the voters – offer the political parties a new deal. It runs like this:

“We will double the membership of the local party that we support – but only if they will let us re-select our candidate.”
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Time to defend politics – not liberties

by Paul Evans     February 23, 2009 at 12:25 am

Try as I might, I can’t help feeling that this week’s Convention on Modern Liberty addresses far more of the symptoms that our liberal democracy exhibits than the actual diseases that it suffers from. I say this because I’d argue that the biggest threat to individual liberties is not the particular instances of illiberality in themselves by governments, as much as what the late Bernard Crick described as the populist mode of democracy that we are drifting into.

Here’s an example. I would argue that the Conservatives have – this week – promoted perhaps the most reactionary and dangerous set of proposals that any party with a realistic prospect of victory has ever announced in this country.

In their local government proposals, they have adopted the very worst excesses of populism. And by populist, I don’t mean any half-arsed Phillip Gould-type attempt-to-push-the-party-where-focus-groups-tell-them sort of populism.
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