Based on his plenary session at the 2015 Policy & Politics conference on why social inequalities persist, Danny Dorling talked to Policy & Politics about the persistence of growing inequalities in the UK. Drawing on multiple sources of evidence, he suggests causal links with depleting mental health in the young, the increased use of anti-depressent drugs, and high rates of infant deaths than in similar affluent countries, sketching a narrative of the insidious potential social consequences for our society in a hundred years’ time…
Listen to his compelling call to action and the consequences of ignoring it…
by Tessa Coombes, guest blogger for P&P Conference 2015.
The second plenary session of the Policy and Politics Annual Conference was delivered by Prof. Danny Dorling, who provided a shocking and somewhat scary analysis of the increasing levels of inequality in the UK. The big question for us all to consider is why there is no consistent challenge to this situation and why we appear to accept the disparities that exist. Why is it acceptable and why would anyone think inequalities are a good thing?
One answer to the question is that we don’t actually realise how unequal we are as a society. But a quick look through some of the statistics soon provides the evidence we need. Danny took us through graph after graph that more than adequately demonstrated just how big the problem is and that it is increasing. One example to illustrate the point, in 2010 the best off tenth of the population in the UK were nearly 14 times better off than the worst off tenth. By 2015 this had grown to more than 17 times better off, and if the trend continues on a similar course in less than 20 years the best off will have over 24 times as much disposable income as the worst off. The problem is that the change is gradual, we don’t notice it so much and we get Continue reading →
You know you’re in for a bit of a treat when Danny Dorling begins by saying he’s written something that is not in the standard journal style; and so it turns out in his paper ‘Policy, politics, health and housing in the UK’. His wide ranging analysis connects recent developments in UK housing policy with a variety of current and possible public health impacts and offers some thoughts on the political motivations of those responsible for these developments. As usual he offers a fine example of engaged scholarship that avoids the piety, academic sniping and wilful opacity that characterises some work in this field.
In a nutshell, since the end of the last millennium we have seen a pronounced rise in private landlordism so that one quarter of all families with children in Britain now live in a home owned by a private landlord, mainly because of transfers of housing from the public sector and the emergence of a tax and welfare regime that underwrites many of the costs of private landlordism. Dorling acknowledges that this policy direction Continue reading →
The latest issue of Policy & Politics is now available on shelves and online.
Our April issue opens with an article on The Politics of Climate Change based on the inspirational Policy & Politics Annual Lecture given by the world renowned sociologist, Lord Anthony Giddens. During the lecture, which attracted over 800 people, Lord Giddens presented a clear and pressing case for the need for urgent action to address climate change. He outlined a paradoxical trend where many will do little to address climate change until there are palpable and visible impacts – by which time it will be too late. Lord Giddens persuasively called for a renewed, digitally-enhanced global activism, to stimulate and to change attitudes to climate change risks, to promote alternative technologies, and to mobilise pressure on governments to take rapid action to reduce carbon emissions, thus saving the earth from impending catastrophe. You can also view the film of the lecture at http://www.bris.ac.uk/sps/policypolitcs/annuallecture2015/.
Join us at the Marriott Royal Hotel in Bristol on 15th and 16th September to debate the relationship between democracy, inequality and power. This year will mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta providing an opportunity to reflect on the failures and successes of democratic policy and politics in the UK and around the world.
Some of the issues we’ll be discussing include:
austerity politics and the disproportionate impacts on society’s most vulnerable,
increased awareness of disparities in relation to electoral and political participation amongst a range of social groups (leading to concerns about ‘a divided democracy’),
the reshaping of the relationship between government, business and civil society,
rising ‘urbanisation’ and associated concerns about the governance of place, space and territory,
developments in information and communication technology and its impact on citizens’ engagement with politics and public services,
civic unrest linked to demands for democracy, equality and transparent government,
human rights initiatives around gender, age, race, disability and sexuality, and
a reconfiguration of the role of the mass media and social media in policy and politics.
by Felicity Matthews, Associate Editor of Policy and Politics
Happy New Year, everyone! I don’t know about you, but I am so looking forward to having a quiet and uneventful 2015. Boring, even. Nothing on the horizon other than uninterrupted expanses of nothingness… If only! As if! This is 2015! The year of the general election! The battle to save the NHS! The battle to save party politics as we know it! This is 2015! The 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta! The 750th anniversary of the first English parliament! The 70th anniversary of VE Day!
Quite clearly, 2015 is already lining up to be a year to remember. A year in which democracy is both celebrated and put to the test; a year in which party lines and battle lines are drawn; a year in which identities and alliances are simultaneously dismantled and forged anew. And quite clearly, 2015 is lining up to be a year of unprecedented Continue reading →