Author Archives: Oliver Craven

A first step towards basic income

Basic Income is often seen as a policy that would happen in an ideal world, with its proponents apparently lacking any idea on how to get there. In my view, advocates like myself need to outline a plan that can bring us to a workable and simple welfare state that relies heavily on basic income as its primary source of support. That is what I am proposing.

A first step towards basic income would be to mostly replace the personal allowance with a payment to every person over the age of 18. While raising the personal allowance took millions out of …

Posted in Op-eds | 35 Comments

Lessons from Finland on Universal Basic Income

Piles of money. Photo credit: czbalazs - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1236662Aditya Chakrabortty, a Guardian Columnist, recently travelled to Finland to interview a man who’s been part of a Universal Basic Income trial. The scheme gives 2,000 randomly chosen people, who were already receiving unemployment benefits, £493 a month unconditionally. The scheme will finish properly at the end of 2018 and no official results will be published until then, but there is anecdotal evidence from a number of interviews conducted with people chosen to take part.

One such person is Juha Jarvinen. When asked by …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 14 Comments

Is failure to use technology to enhance learning failing school pupils?

The format of education hasn’t really changed since Victorian times. Students are still packed into a classroom with a teacher who spends most of their time doing some variation of lecturing to the students, before they then apply whatever they’ve just heard to some real examples. This system treats everyone equally by treating pretty much everyone the same, using the same techniques and the same curriculum for everyone, regardless of their differences. Liberal Democrats tend to challenge traditional policies, and should challenge the current educational system too. We also tend to look solely to teachers for educational policy but it is also worth listening to the perspective of students.

Technology promised a revolution in classrooms, with very little change in the techniques in the publicly funded and conservative education sector. Technology has changed the way in which the teacher delivers the information to the class, allowing a little more interactivity but keeping the key parts of the teacher lecturing to the students on masse. Technology could, and should, be causing a more revolutionary change to education, like a number of charter schools are in the United States.

One charter school chain, called Summit Public Schools, has used technology to revolutionise their teaching. Students mainly learn from online courses and doing project work, supported by a teacher who moves from more authoritarian current role to a mentor, supporting students in their learning and explaining more difficult concepts. These schools save teachers a significant amount of time on marking, allowing teachers to support their students more and removing a significant source of stress. The school still requires students to cover a broad curriculum using a personal learning plan, though they are free to learn at their own pace and choose their topic at the time. 

Posted in News | Tagged | 15 Comments

A new economic vision for the Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats need new thought on how we view the economy and the role of the state and this idea could influence what we choose to support. We often struggle to find an economic system we can get behind.

Unrestricted capitalism leads to unacceptable inequality. The Conservatives stand for a small rich elite, while everyone else struggle to make ends meet. The Corbynite vision of socialism would leave us all worse off. The Liberal Democrats must form a new vision of how our economy should work and what role the state should play in it.

I would propose the Enabling State as our vision.

The state has a duty of promoting liberty in all its forms, and to ensure everyone has the chance to make the best of themselves. This would include freeing people from poverty, through a basic income, to ensure everyone has the money for basic needs.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 83 Comments
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  • User AvatarKirsten johnson 23rd Nov - 9:11am
    Yes, the Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. American Thanksgiving was set as the 4th Thursday in November by President Franklin D....
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    If I was an American citizen whose health care was about to be abandoned by a loud mouthed intellectually challenged President I'm not sure I'd...
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    Frankie and Johnny...., I was only teasing. I am 66 and have all my family here. If I were younger I would not hesitate to...
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    " £65bn hit to tax receipts" This indicates that the economy is going to be more sluggish than expected. Therefore, the government needs to spend...
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    It's not North American: Canadians have Thanksgiving in October.
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    Are those "native peoples" the same ones the "settlers" then slaughtered and drove the survivors into reservations?