The Reverend Richard Coles of Radio 4 and ‘The Communards’ fame, presented this year’s Policy and Politics Annual Lecture, the 21st in the series. The theme of the lecture was same sex marriage and the church, delivered by the Reverend as a ‘ramble down memory lane’ and very much part of his own personal life story.
The lecture was, by turns, amusing, informative and challenging as well as saddening. It veered from funny anecdotes to tales of tragedy; from personal life events to big questions of principle. Overall it was a brilliant piece of oratory with just the right level of information and challenge, as well as being more than sufficiently thought provoking.
Richard’s life story is well documented in his autobiography “Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit” published in 2014. It’s a colourful story of a young gay man from middle England making his way to London and becoming part of an ‘alternative gay culture’. In his presentation he described London in the 1980s as a polarized city: a place where Thatcher and Livingstone epitomized the ‘twin poles of values in the battlefield of London”. He saw it as a city where post-punk democratization was evident and an alternative gay culture was emerging, one with a ‘hard-left’ basis and a tribal culture, with a political common purpose. He told us about his involvement with the lesbian and gay support for the striking miners of South Wales, recently depicted in the film ‘Pride’. He describes the mid 1980s as a time of experimentation, creativity and excitement, when he found himself surrounded by a small group of people that came together to epitomize a significant cultural and political moment in gay history. Continue reading Same Sex Marriage and the Church, by Rev. Richard Coles→
This year marks the culmination of the Millennium Development Goals 2015 (MDGs) which provide the watershed for the global community to evaluate its development victories and failures. It is time to engage in collective reflections on lessons learnt and also to re-evaluate strategies in order to continue efforts to improve the quality of people’s lives. The MDGs reflected the consensus amongst world leaders to address eight goals: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality; to improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability and to develop a global partnership for development.
The UK Civil Service has long been regarded a bastion of white, middle class men, but there have been efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce in recent years. In this post Rhys Andrews and Rachel Ashworth assess the representativeness of Whitehall staff, in terms of gender, ethnicity and disability. They show that progress has been made in most departments, although there are still questions to be answered about the type of jobs that women, people from ethnic minorities and disabled people tend to hold.
In recent years policy-makers and politicians have been keen to encourage public organizations to become more diverse, especially within central government. For example, the shadow Cabinet Office Minister Michael Dugher recently stated that a future Labour government would ensure that a greater proportion of Fast Stream civil servants come from black and working class backgrounds. Government has sought to increase the representativeness of the civil service for two main reasons: firstly, so that it is more representative of society and can therefore be viewed as legitimate and, secondly to ensure that policies can generate outcomes that benefit all sections of society. Continue reading Is the UK Civil Service becoming more representative of the population it serves and, if so, why?→