by Tessa Coombes, guest blogger for P&P conference 2015
The second day of the conference started with an excellent presentation from Prof. Kate Pickett, from the University of York. Kate co-authored the influential book “The Spirit Level” which provided evidence to illustrate how almost everything is affected not by how wealthy a society is but how equal it is. The book was written at a time when inequality was not being discussed, and even now, whilst it is indeed the subject of much more debate on an international stage, it is still only rhetoric, and we are still waiting for this to translate into real action.
There are some shocking statistics that illustrate the level of the challenge we face across the globe, such as the one used by Oxfam – the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as 3.5 billion of the poorest people – illustrating a truly grotesque level of inequality. But, as Kate pointed out, we need to remember that these are not just meaningless, abstract numbers, they represent real human suffering and have real impacts. Continue reading →
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 →