Why should "Teenage mistakes" matter in politics?
Traditional enemy of free speech. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, incidents and circumstances are a product of the author's imagination. Any similarity to people, dead or alive, to events or places, is entirely accidental.
Last night Hackney Council passed a budget with £44 million of cuts, amidst protests from anti-cuts campaigners. Having looked at their budget, I think councillors have done very well in extremely difficult situation - unlike in many other councils, no youth facilities will be closed, no libraries shut, no reduction to key services like recycling or street cleansing, no restrictions on care to be provided to our oldest and most vulnerable of residents, and the council is maintaining services such as support for victims of domestic violence and youth crime intervention work which the national government had cut funding for.
The Searchlight Education Trust's "Fear and Hope" research is very interesting, and points out a number of challenges and areas where further investigation would be useful. I'm less convinced, however, by the claim that there is a "new politics of identity". Or, rather, I think the case is not yet proven.
One of the keys to effective local action is making sure that campaigners think ahead and get decision-makers to respond to them, rather than waiting for decisions to be announced and then complaining. In that spirit, here's three questions to ask your local councillor:
I've been watching the documentary about the "People's Supermarket", a co-operative supermarket in north London which is owned by its members, all of whom pay a fee to join and agree to work in the shop with the aim of creating "a sustainable food cooperative that responds to the needs of the local community and provides healthy, local food at reasonable prices".
David Cameron has announced that the latest version of the Big Society is that just about all public services will be opened up to be run by the private sector. He says that these "are more significant aspects of our Big Society agenda than the work we're doing to boost social action".
Some thoughts on the voting reform referendum.