Domestic Policy

Abolish Private Schools: What Next?

So you’ve abolished private schools. Now what? Although firmly to the left of the national conversation today, there have been repeated calls to close down, or nationalise, private schools. Notable figures across the political spectrum have attempted to bring this debate into the mainstream; American billionaire Warren Buffett has called for the US government to “make private schools illegal”, while British playwright…

Worker Ownership: Taking Back Control

One of the most depressing constants in industrial life in the UK is the life cycle of the average British business. They are frequently born from the minds of one of the country’s exceptionally well-educated workforce in the high-value manufacturing or software sector, before being built up through the efforts of skilled employees. Sadly, their contribution to the economy is often then hijacked by large, usually overseas, investment firms and conglomerates buying the business. At best, the decisions that affect hundreds of workers and the economies of whole towns are now taken in boardrooms in New York or Shanghai. At worst, the company is asset-stripped for its patents, techniques and talent before being wound up. In between this runs the spectrum of profit relocation (or tax evasion as normal people call it), layoffs, the imposition of hostile working practices and decline of quality. Even the largest and most successful of British businesses aren’t immune to this. When Cadbury’s was taken over by Kraft, the entire board resigned and their replacements subsequently shuttered dozens of factories across the world in a cost-cutting exercise. ARM Holdings, who make the microprocessors found in almost every mobile phone, were taken over by Japan’s SoftBank and then saw their Chinese arm sold to fuel Xi Jinping’s government’s strategy of acquiring foreign technology firms to jump-start China’s indigenous high-tech industry.

An Education Revolution

Year after year, the admissions figures for Oxford and Cambridge universities tell a grim story about the persistence of inequality in Britain. The privately-educated—seven percent of the population—make up roughly forty percent of admissions. The most privileged demographic groups make up eighty percent. These elite graduates go on to dominate the upper echelons of society, being disproportionately represented at Westminster, in the…

Playground Democracy

“He should be REMOVED from any type of educational system and locked up,” wrote ‘Bossman’ on Twitter, in response to David Runciman, Professor of Politics at Cambridge University, calling for the voting age to be lowered to six years old. Bossman’s tweet was indicative of the response of many, seeing it as frivolous, frothy intellectualism befitting of such an antiquated institution that,…

Beyond the Roundabout

Milton Keynes, built as an overspill town, has many achievements to claim – the roundabout, concrete cows, pretending to be New York in that scene from Superman 4. However, it also faces many urban design challenges, including an abundance of cars and a lack of access to public transport. Milton Keynes is a monument to Harold Wilson’s public planning of the Open…