Recent Campaigns Articles

Why is Jenni Russell praising Cameron Come Lately?

by James Graham     September 16, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Jenni Russell has written an article attacking ContactPoint, the much maligned national children’s database that the government are still insisting on trotting out. The only problem is, she has written it as a piece of Tory hagiography.

We might be able to let her off the title – Another invasion of liberty. And only the Tories are alert – as a bit of subbing hyperbole. I’ve written enough articles for newspapers over the years to know this happens. But she can’t blame the sub for the final paragraph:

Labour will not reverse this; only the Tories might. They promise to review CAF database, ditch ContactPoint for a small, targeted database, and invest in strengthening people’s relationships instead. It’s depressing that Labour supporters who believe in liberties, privacy and humanity should find themselves having to cheer the Tories on this issue.

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Was the Euro-result a flash in the pan?

by Mike Killingworth     June 20, 2009 at 2:00 pm

There was only one story following the recent elections to the European Parliament – the success of the parties of the far right (UKIP and the BNP). Unlike most contributors and commenters on LC, I have consistently argued that the votes for these parties should be seen as a bloc. Campaigning against the BNP – as the left and indeed the centre-right for that matter have focussed on – probably merely had the effect of shifting a few votes from the party seen as wingnuts to the one seen as (relatively) more respectable.

Some evidence for my view has now emerged in the form of a mega-poll conducted – apparently as the result of an internal commission – by the on-line pollster YouGov. I say “mega poll” because its sample size was over 32,000 – about twenty times that of an “ordinary” opinion poll. This large size was necessary to achieve enough BNP (and UKIP) respondents to make analysis of their views statistically respectable. As with almost all contemporary polls, it has been “weighted” to match the demographic characteristics of respondents to those of the population at large.

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Introducing Magna Carta 2.0 – our way forward

by Anthony Barnett     May 13, 2009 at 9:30 am

You want to know where we go from here? We need a new Magna Carta. Sunny recently said he wanted “an insurgency to take our rights back from the state”. This now includes our right to honest government, though I think we always knew that. The emphasis needs to be on achieving this.

In February the Convention on Modern Liberty in London and across the UK showed a clear public concern with the threat of authoritarian power and a hunger to debate and confront it in an intelligent and democratic way. Guy Aitchison, Clare Coatman and Tom Ash are, from today, launching Magna Carta 2.0 with the aim of taking the spirit and intelligence of the day to the country.
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Report: Govt has lost control of database state

by Newswire     March 23, 2009 at 6:23 am

A quarter of all databases are fundamentally flawed and must be scapped, says a landmark study out today.

The first ever comprehensive map of Britain’s database state today reveals how the database obsession of government has left officials struggling to control billions of records of our most personal details and almost every contact we have with the agencies set up to serve and protect us.
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Why we need to protect Congo’s civilians, now

by Paul Hilder     November 26, 2008 at 10:14 am

Eastern Congo is aflame again – but so far all we have from the world is talk and precious little action to show for it. It’s time to change that, if we don’t want a repeat of the failures of the Rwandan genocide, ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia and previous genocides in DRC. In the last three weeks alone, hundreds of thousands have been made refugees, rape, murder and pillage has surged, children have been abducted and pressed into militias… and the situation may be sliding into regional war, with talk of the countries who tore Congo apart before sending forces on either side.

The UN has voted to approve over 3000 reinforcements for its peacekeeping presence. But that force is in disarray, discredited by its failure to protect civilians and its closeness to brutal government troops — and no-one is yet offering to provide reinforcements.

The people of Congo, NGOs and former UN peacekeeping heads agree – only Europe looks able to act fast enough to put in a capable, neutral force to protect the vulnerable.

That’s why we at Avaaz among others have been campaigning with increasing urgency for a European force to protect eastern Congo’s civilians – and it would really help for the blogosphere to pile in.
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‘Communities in Control’ – the bloggers’ consultation begins!

by Thomas     November 11, 2008 at 7:20 pm

A big thanks to all of you who volunteered to contribute to our series on the ‘Communities in Control’ white paper – it looks like we’re off and running!

Here’s a run-down of who’s been delegated to do what:
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Never mind about Parliament, Hazel: what about actually giving real power to real people?

by Stephen Tall     November 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Forget Hazel Blears’ ill-considered assault on ‘nihilistic’ blogging, in her speech to the Hansard Society this week: let’s consider instead her attack on politicians who live on ‘Planet Politics’:

… there is a trend towards politics being seen as a career move rather than call to public service. Increasingly we have seen a ‘transmission belt’ from university activist, MPs’ researcher, think-tank staffer, Special Adviser, to Member of Parliament, and ultimately to the front bench. Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of those jobs, but it is deeply unhealthy for our political class to be drawn from narrowing social base and range of experience.

Few people will disagree with her analysis. Indeed, ‘The Rise of the Career Politician’ (Peter Riddell, 1993) and ‘The Triumph of the Political Class’ (Peter Oborne, 1997) has been the subject of two (very different) books. Much of the hand-wringing, as ever when hands are wrung, is overwrought: a narrow political class is not a modern political phenomenon. It’s simply that the narrow class which dominates politics has changed over time. continue reading… »

Responding positively to cynicism and Hazel Blears – volunteers wanted!

by Thomas     November 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

There has been a concerted outcry online here, there, and everywhere about Hazel Blears’ attack on the the role of the blogging community since her speech to the Hansard Society earlier this week, but it strikes me that this exposes a massive irony in the dumbed-down manner of current political debate and it begins to take on the appearance of another headline-grabbing politician shooting themselves in the foot. How can she ever expect to foster greater engagement through the practical measures she ostensibly advocates, in her white paper ‘Communities in Control’, when she abuses and insults the contribution made by commenters and commentators in the blogosphere – aren’t we actually among the key groups of people to whom she should have made her appeal?

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Is this the end of the age of cynicism?

by Thomas     November 6, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Barack Obama has built enormous levels of goodwill in the manner of his emphatic election victory and claimed in the opening stanzas of his victory speech that it represented a triumph of hope over cynicism (“It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.”)

In the enthusiasm of the moment, some commentators (among them the BBC’s own Matt Frei) went so far as to claim his victory has overturned a political consensus held for a generation: that negative campaigning is the only way to win – the lunatic assassination plot against Obama can be cited as one extreme example of the nature of reactions that may be inadvertently encouraged by negativity, and this may in fact be the best argument against negativism.

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Blears on Blogging–Cluelessness or Wilful Ignorance?

by MatGB     November 6, 2008 at 2:15 am

Hazel Blears today gave an intriguing, wide ranging speech on a number of topics that I found interesting, thought provoking and mostly agreeable[1]. Unsurprisingly, the media has chosen to highlight the minor area of the speech in which she is both woefully misinformed and completely inaccurate. It is, naturally, the bit in which she talks about blogging [2].

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