Category Archives: UK politics

Facing commons defeat, May returns to Europe

I talk to politics teacher Frank Hardee about why Theresa May’s Brexit deal is so unpopular, what the PM may achieve by postponing the vote at the last minute and returning to Europe, and what happens next.

Running time: 31m
Recorded: 10 December 2018

Podcast copyright: CC BY 4.0

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Image credit: Furfur [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Have we reached peak inequality?

I talk to Professor Danny Dorling of Oxford University about his new book – Peak Inequality: Britain’s ticking time bomb. Have we reached peak inequality? And what level of inequality is acceptable or desirable?

Running time: 56m

Podcast copyright: CC BY 4.0

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Oxford City Council election 2018 – Labour, part 2 of 2

This is the second of two podcasts with Martyn Rush, Labour candidate for Barton and Sandhills in the Oxford City Council election on 3 May 2018. We discuss housing and homelessness, Martyn’s vision for democratic community organising, and the wider role that Oxford University could play in the community.

Running time: 33m

Podcast copyright: CC BY 4.0

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Oxford City Council election 2018 – Labour, part 1 of 2

This is the first of two podcasts with Martyn Rush, Labour candidate for Barton and Sandhills in the Oxford City Council election on 3 May 2018. We discuss Martyn’s political perspective and the government’s austerity approach to local government.

Running time: 29m

Podcast copyright: CC BY 4.0

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Oxford City Council election 2018 – The Conservatives, part 2 of 2

This is the second of two podcasts with Tim Patmore, Conservative candidate for the Barton and Sandhills ward in the Oxford City Council election on 3 May 2018. In this episode we discuss the issues facing the ward and how these could be tackled, new local government models for Oxfordshire, and the longstanding issue of housing in the city.

Running time: 28m

Podcast copyright: CC BY 4.0

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Empire Windrush: can we see your papers?

You’ve never felt the cold on your legs. You’re a child on a boat. It’s 1968. The colonial mother country needs your parent’s labour. Despite the talk of “rivers of blood”, they heed the call.

The years pass. You’re British, you can’t remember your country of birth. School, work, marriage, kids. Life happens and you’ve got used to the cold.

Continue reading Empire Windrush: can we see your papers?

Oxford City Council election 2018 – The Conservatives, part 1 of 2

This is the first of two podcasts with Tim Patmore, Conservative candidate for Barton and Sandhills in the Oxford City Council election on 3 May 2018. In this episode we discuss Tim’s background in politics and the current central government approach to local government, including the recent collapse of the Conservative controlled Northamptonshire County Council.

Running time: 30m

Podcast copyright: CC BY 4.0

To get notifications by email of new posts and podcasts, follow the common good (top left of home page). You can also subscribe to the common good podcasts at Apple iTunes.

Markets good, government quite good too

Ten years on from the global financial crisis – and the government bailouts that saved the financial system from collapse –  the UK Prime Minister gave a speech at the Bank of England, extolling the virtues of free markets.

Continue reading Markets good, government quite good too

Suddenly the magic money tree appears

“‘There is no magic money tree,’ Theresa May said during the election campaign when confronted by a nurse complaining about low pay. Yet now that the Conservatives need the support of the DUP to give them a working majority, suddenly the magic money tree appears: £1 billion of additional spending has been promised to Northern Ireland. Can austerity survive such hypocrisy?”

Simon Wren-Lewis, Professor of Economic Policy, Oxford University, 7 July 2017

Nurses using foodbanks

“Do you think it’s fair that the nurses get just a 1% increase year-in year-out regardless of inflation – so they get poorer, so some of them we’re told go to foodbanks? Is that fair? Do you sleep happy at that?”

David Dimbleby questions PM Theresa May, 2 Jun 2017

May’s election gamble ends in drift and division

Conservative or Labour? In our first-past-the-post system this was the binary choice on offer to the British people on 8 June. Theresa May spelt it out for us on the day she called the election.

“It is a choice between me and Jeremy Corbyn. Britain simply will not get the right Brexit deal if we have the drift and division of a hung parliament.”

Theresa May, 18 Apr 2017

No one was expecting the “drift and division of a hung parliament.” The Conservatives, 20 points ahead in the polls, were looking for a thumping majority to do Brexit their way. The local election results on 4 May reinforced Conservative dominance. With talk of Labour being decimated, their first priority was survival. A one-party state was more likely than a hung parliament.

Yet here we are today, in a hung parliament, embarking on Brexit talks to negotiate our departure from the EU. So, what happened?

Continue reading May’s election gamble ends in drift and division

“The fat cats keep the money and us lot get nothing” – Theresa May meets a real voter

Last Monday, two middle-aged English women arrived at Abingdon market in Oxfordshire. One woman was there by chance. The other had carefully thought through the decision to go there, weighing the costs, benefits, and risks. This woman was one of the most powerful in the country. The other was one of the most vulnerable.

Continue reading “The fat cats keep the money and us lot get nothing” – Theresa May meets a real voter

Are the Conservatives privatising the NHS?

“Strong and stable leadership” has been the mantra of Theresa May and the Conservatives since the election was called on 18 April, with minimal discussion of policies so far, including health. However, the importance and popularity of the NHS means that it is nearly always a key election issue, as we saw in the 2016 EU referendum.

Increasingly the service is referred to as “our” NHS, reflecting its standing as a universal public service that we all contribute to and benefit from. A key concern in recent years is that the NHS is being privatised by the Conservatives, risking a shift from services driven by medical need to services focussed on company profits.

Continue reading Are the Conservatives privatising the NHS?

The economics and politics of austerity

Theresa May has called a snap general election. Austerity has been the central policy of Conservative-led governments since 2010. This post looks at the economic and political dimensions of austerity, and Theresa May’s position on the policy.

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Austerity cuts and their impact

In 2010, the Conservative-led government, under David Cameron, introduced a new “long term economic plan”, commonly known as austerity, to reduce the national debt by cutting government spending. This post looks at some of the cuts that have been made, their impact, and whether Theresa May is continuing with the Cameron budget plans.

Continue reading Austerity cuts and their impact

Theresa May: church, state, and party

Who is Theresa May and what does she stand for? Does she represent a break from the Cameron government or a continuation of it? Can she reduce inequality in society?

This post looks at May’s background, experience, and influences, her pledge to tackle inequality, and comparisons with David Cameron.

Continue reading Theresa May: church, state, and party