Tag Archives: demos

No football last week, so why not pick your Fantasy Politics team instead?

fantasy politicsThis week’s internationals mean no English Premiership action so no further update: positions are as they were at the end of Week 3.

Which gives me the opportunity to preview Demos Fantasy Politics which operates throughout the party conference season. All you have to do is select a dream-team of up to nine MPs, three from each party: you have until the start of Labour’s on 20th September, a week today, to enter your team. I’m part of the judging team for the Lib Dem conference. Further details as below…

As conference season approaches Demos Fantasy Politics is back, letting politicos battle it out to prove their insider know-how and political nous.

Demos Fantasy Politics lets you select a dream-team of up to nine MPs, three from each party, and score points in a series of conference-based categories. Media coverage and social media mentions will be rewarded, while embarrassing gaffes and tiresome clichés will be suitably punished.

Posted in News | 12 Comments

Farage says Britain’s becoming “unrecognisable”. But the British public says our sense of belonging is increasing.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage was dog-whistling for all he was worth at his party’s spring conference this week:

“In scores of our cities and market towns, this country, in a short space of time, has, frankly, become unrecognisable. Whether it is the impact on local schools and hospitals, whether it is the fact that in many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more, this is not the kind of community we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”

His words were eerily reminiscent of William Hague’s insidious “foreign land” speech in 2001. And his party’s slogan …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 47 Comments

The Independent View: Grassroots 2.0

With Conference season upon us once again, Parties reach out to embrace their wider membership of activists, supporters and sympathisers. This brief popping of the Westminster bubble is of course vital: a safeguard stopping Westminster disappearing into its own parochial obsessions.

Party Conference is only one of a number of ways of dipping into the wider public mood, of course. Polls, focus groups, constituency surgeries, party machinery and, indeed fora like Liberal Democrat Voice all allow views and concerns to (sometimes) percolate up to the leadership. And some politicians – such as Tony Blair at his height – seem to have …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 1 Comment

The Independent View: A blueprint for social media intelligence

The controversy over the Government’s plans to legislate for Internet surveillance, the ‘Communications Capabilities Development Programme’, has exposed a deep division within the Coalition. Into the dispute that has simmered since some details were first leaked earlier this month, David Cameron himself has weighed in to say that the proposals are necessary to stop crime, whereas Tim Farron has threatened to kill it “if we think this is a threat to a free and liberal society”.

This rumbling outrage surrounding CCDP testifies to the importance of a principled, publicly argued grounding for any kind of intelligence. It is exactly …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

How do you get people to trust councils?

With increasing numbers of people’s minds turning towards May’s elections, now is a good time to dust off and update a post from 2008 about how people view their council…

Improving trust in local government is important, and can’t be done just by focusing on improving services: that’s the verdict of State of trust: How to build better relationships between councils and the public, a piece of research from the think-tank Demos and IDeA (the local government Improvement & Development Agency), published in 2008.

The report sees trust as underpinning a wide range of objectives:

Posted in Local government | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Worth a second outing: How well does a think tank think?

Welcome to a series where old posts are revived for a second outing for reasons such as their subject has become topical again, they have aged well but were first posted when the site’s readership was only a tenth or less of what it is currently or they got published and the site crashed, hiding the finest words of wisdom behind an incomprehensible error message.

Today’s is a review I wrote back in 2006 of a Demos publication from 1997. (Can you tell I was trained as an historian?). The main message of the piece has stood the test of time pretty well – thinks tanks (and others) are frequently pretty awful at getting big picture predictions right. The one part that hasn’t is the picture of Demos as an organisation whose best days were behind it. It has recently had a resurgence, with Richard Reeves moving from being its director to one of Nick Clegg’s top aides and in total 11 of its 25 advisory board members now have government roles.

Demos logoFor no particular reason other than I recently found a second-hand copy on sale cheaply, I have just finished reading Demos’s 1997 collection, Life after politics.

Although these days Demos – with its reports on the crucial importance of hairdressers to modern society – tries a little too hard to be different and thought provoking, it was in its heyday one of the most successful think tanks in the UK. Leading lights such as Geoff Mulgan – the editor of this collection – went on to exercise significant real political power under New Labour; he spent time as Director of Policy at 10 Downing Street and also headed up the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit for several years.

A staple stock in trade of think tanks is analysis that ends up concluding that other people have got things wrong, aren’t preparing for the future correctly and don’t understand what is coming. Yet think tanks rarely look at their own record. So – nearly a decade on – how does Demos’s work shape up? Where they really right in what they were foretelling? Or would a government that followed its recipes ardently ended up getting things horribly wrong?

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Nick Clegg: delivering a Liberal Parliament

Nick Clegg has been giving a speech at the think-tank Demos today, setting out his vision for what this Parliament should achieve – and what the Liberal Democrats should get from it.

The heart of the argument is in this early section:

Now that the Liberal Democrats are in government, liberal ideas are being deployed directly. What you are seeing is liberalism in action. And I can tell you that as Deputy Prime Minister, my liberal instincts are stronger than ever. Our goal is clear.

By the time of the next election, on 7 May 2015, Britain will be a more liberal nation.


Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

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  • User AvatarRoland 19th Mar - 11:25pm
    I see this agreement more in terms of "simply inevitable". It is only a win for the EU in the sense that the UK has...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 19th Mar - 10:54pm
    Reuters Tonight : "Brexit transition deal which failed to deliver full control over fishing rights, with Conservatives suggesting they could not support a final agreement...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 19th Mar - 9:43pm
    @ Arnold Kiel "A complete win for the EU". No need to seem so pleased about it, Mr. Kiel.
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    Conservative Home is currently a joy to read. Even JRM has been accused of being a traitor to the Brexit cause😀.
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 19th Mar - 9:10pm
    A complete win for the EU (and, unwillingly, the UK). Most importantly: Fox can start failing right away for everybody to see, hopefully in time....
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    Was "Tory" one of the profanities?