Conference Season: The Annual Slagging Match

Conference season is well and truly underway, in fact you could say it is well and truly over.

We’ve had Nasty Nick claim that he will get ‘tough on the banks’, Red Ed claim that a new Britain can be discovered and [apparently] we’re about to find out that there are a significant number of Tories who distrust the economic stimulus package developed by the Coalition’s Cabinet.

But hey, we love  Conference, right? Whilst the Guardian have called for Party’s to justify why exactly they should have a conference and the blogosphere requiring that proceeds of Conference go towards other initiatives, such as Help for Heroes, The Blue Lamp Foundation or the National Health Service’s annual budget. But that would be silly, with the Liberal Democrats still reeling off the donations made by the tax exile hiding in the Dominican Republic and the Labour Party taking proceeds as a matter of having to just to survive, there really is no end in sight for this lovely part of the political season.

But Conference should be celebrated. Most of it gets about 30 seconds a day on the news bulletins, it really should be essential to reshaping a Party. Labour’s ‘Purple Book’ and ‘Blue Book’ were discussed in this years conference, but nowhere near to the depths it should be. Conference season should be about the exchange and subsequent generation of ideas – although mind you has that ever been what Conference is about?

Instead, until we wait for Conference to get serious we will wait for the Tory’s to continue being nice to the Liberal Democrats and glaringly aggressive to Labour; Labour picking tedious holes in some of the Tories best policy ideas; and, the Liberal Democrats STILL, despite being in Government, sitting on the fence.

So rather than Conference being about the self-generation of ideas, it will always really just be the annual slagging match: government vs. opposition. Tiresome really.

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The Freshers week…

This may well be the last ‘open-for-all’ Freshers week for the next so-many years.

Next year there is a distinct possibility that Unversity’s, from your Kingston’s your King’s Colleges, will all be [probably] hiking their tuition fees to astronomical waves. And with a realistic possibility that the 2011 winter will be as popular for protests as the 2010 winter, there will be a bitter feeling amongst students throughout the country.

Celebrations should be raised for the last diverse student base for the next ‘X’ amount of years. There is potential for the disabled, the poor, the Black, the Asian, and the remaining diverse communities that have, to date, flourished under the academic system. Whilst Labour did increase the tuition fees and formality of University’s, it did also improve the accessibility. It enabled students to take on their own debt, sidestepping the issue of poorer parents, and it also made the results coming from University’s blossom.

So, raise your vodka redbull’s (£1 for out of London, £2 for in London) and look around you at the faces you see… they are possibily the last batch of faces who don’t conform to the stereotype of ‘University student’.

August in Photo’s… [2011]

From Photoshop to Real: Cesc Fabregas completes the transfer to Barcelona, ending one of the longest transfer sagas in football history

Lockdown: Irene lashes the Eastern Coast of America, The Bahamas and Hispaniola
London Riots: Millions of Damage. Why? Alienation? Exclusion? Ferrel Youth? Criminal Underclass? Spontaneous looting.
Dow Jones remains vulnerable: Rollercoaster of a week during August as uncertainty surrounds the lifting of the debt ceiling, the Eurozone and the Asian markets.
BBC: NASA discovers water existence on Mars (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14408928)

Arab Spring: Libyan Rebels Storm Tripoli (Sky News)Assad Holds on: Syrian Navy fires at civilians in Latakia (Daily Mail)

Why we need lots of little X-Factors…

We're not listening to the youth of today, instead favouring a culture of 'on-paper' recognition...

Many sit down on a Saturday night with their dinner (whether it be pizza or Chinese), a beer (or Pepsi/Coke) and the television (alright, some go out and have a dance at their local loud music establishment, but the indoors breed still remain). On that television at around 8pm is a programme we are all familiar of, The X-Factor.

To this day the ‘X’ in the X-Factor remains undefined, but we don’t need it to have a definition – we all know ‘really’ what it is. On that programme thousands of people sit behind a panel of three and cipher out who has skills and who doesn’t – simple! It is usually infamous for it’s car crash TV; watching many of our fellow human beings rinsed the shit out of in front of an audience of 20000 and a TV audience of millions! But we don’t care, do we?

But go beyond this and the X-Factor creates a platform where we can help build communities and grow community leaders. Some criticise X-Factor for being commercial and over-simplistic, but it is exactly this that makes it great. It is simple and it provides a way for (usually) young people to get recognition. With the riots being (wrongly or rightly) put down to local alienated youth then the best way is to ensure they all have a right to get on a stage and show what their skill is. There is no doubt that (as we’re doing it right now) by ignoring a generation of vocationally skilled youth we instill anger and frustration in them because they cannot conform to an ‘on-paper’ culture of recognition.

Get them on the stage and let them demonstrate a talen they think they’ve got: all of them!

Tempering the Impact of Restorative Justice

Restorative justice’s voice is growing louder and its case is becoming stronger. In the light of a grave and dark economy, the step up to finding more low cost alternatives to punishment are being sought and called upon at an intensity not seen before. It would be interesting to see how restorative justice would grow in this age of austerity and whether it would favour such con

Balancing Justice with Restoration...

ditions. Through reading the academic literature it would appear that its introduction to England and Wales would require a certain degree of limitation, in order to account for the failures it has been criticised for. However, as Braithwaite (2002: 565) suggests our understanding of restorative justice is at such a rudimentary stage that the real good and bad practices are yet to be truly discovered.

The most considerable argument must be that restorative justice would find it hard to operate without a strand of penal policy in place. Instead of restorative justice being a punishment in its right it should be developed as a go-between between the courts and other sanctions. Kathleen Daly (2006: 136) argues that if the system is to be introduced it requires independence from the fact-finding strand of the criminal justice system. Disputes should not be aired in this arena; instead it is an arena of reflection and restoration. Daly (2006: 136) explains that for a full expansion into our current justice system, restorative justice would have to equip itself with a ‘method of adjudication’. This is a point that Braithwaite (2002: 566) suggests needs developing in order to move away from the culture of legalism, to one which really does empower the victim to achieve justice in their own sense. He also questions whether those who represent the victim and defendant really act in the interests of the parties involved. Implementing an adversarial approach to restorative justice would potentially remove certain elements of the due process model that our current system aims to adhere to (Daly, 2006: 136. Braithwaite, 2002: 566).

The second limit that should be put on the growth of this is the types of offences it serves and the outcomes it can direct. First of all, restorative justice should never and will never exert punishments greater than what a court would, or could, direct (Braithwaite, 1999: 63-4 cited in Ashworth, 2002: 590). However, there needs be a type of passive threat to the offender that is involved in this process. It may be that certain crimes do not work with restorative justice, or some require a conjunctive approach to repairing the harm done (Christie, 2009: 196). Limiting the expansion of restorative justice should mean that the non-adversarial approach does not overpower the role of the courts.

The next approach is to limit the system to those who fit a criterion involving victims and offenders. What this will achieve is that unapologetic and blasé offenders are not coincidentally matched against unaffected victims. One question for its expansion is that should it be limited to just victim participation or, in the absence of a willing victim, should it be taken on by the state to restore the ‘social’ harm? Braithwaite highlights that restorative just should only develop into the criminal justice system if a standardised approach is adopted (Braithwaite, 2005). He argues that if a peer-to-peer method of justice is to succeed there has to be a clear charter of objectives, however, these should not be enforced by the professionals. Instead, these should be encouraged through discussion and exchange of views. Braithwaite concentrates his attention that suspects and victims should aim to achieve ‘remorse over the injustice; [an] apology; censure of the act; forgiveness of the person [suspect]; and mercy’ (Braithwaite, 2005: 570). A charter of standards is an important merger of the projected outcomes of restorative justice and would be a requirement before its planned expansion into the criminal justice system. There are two reasons for this: the first is to ensure the victim receives a genuine admission of guilt and a sincere apology, the second is to ensure that dialogue between the two parties is removed from the hands of legal professionals into their own hands – creating a notion of informality (McKevoy et al, 2002: 472. Sherman and Strang, 2007: 4).

Before restorative justice moves to the criminal justice system as its default position of dealing with criminal disputes there are hosts of limitations and criticisms of its type of justice. This has proposed only three limits, and the list is by no means exhaustive. Attempting to fit all of the limitations in this short piece would be wrong and difficult. However, the three analysed here should represent those that are compulsory if it is to be implemented. Taking away the legalities and arenas which legal professionals perform in to one which allows victims to air their grievances is a positive step and a fundamental one. But more important and a standard that has to be met before any progression, is that the suspect genuinely accepts they committed the crime and issues a sincere apology. Finally, it is important that restorative justice becomes the justice in itself and is a step in the process to which leaves fact-finding behind and concentrates restoring the harm done to the victim and offender. In summary, restorative justice could become an exciting, radical and fundamental part of our justice system but, in the same way our current system needs, it requires a set of standards to adhere to ensure it does work.

Illustrating the Effects of Globalization

I have always been an avid supporter of globalization; believing that it has brought prosperity, chance and equality to the world. Most of this has come through trade, opportunism and wealth – or that is what I thought. However, upon reading a recent article by David Held and Anthony McGrew (2003) “The Great Globalization Debate: An Introduction”, despite being difficult to capture, it has taught me something completely different to the way globalization operates.

First, a start, globalization lacks the significance it boasts. You would not be criticised if you thought that without globalization the United Kingdom would not have an economy. This to a degree is correct, but the paradigms that the British economy and Spain’s economy are deeply intertwined are somewhat short of the mark. McGrew and Held highlight this throughout their ‘introduction’. I think what is most important to recognise is that what has accelerated this is the ideal of mass-consumerism and the idea of the national [person] becoming transnationally mobile. However, before going into the financial aspects of globalization let us give credit where credit is due. The politicians would have you think that we benefit massively from globalization: this is correct. Globalization, according to McGrew and Held (2003), is a process whereby global integration is mobilised through accelerating interdependence, which is a result of the ‘shrinking world’. Because of the argument that globalization does not signify an integration of banking systems and business rules, the two academics propose a different meaning ‘internationalization’. It seems more appropriate, as it is truer. The globe is not coming together – as globalization would suggest – as we continue to be bound by regionalization and coalitions (the Pacific arena, Europe, America, and now a mass-producing China). These coalitions are more important than the process of globalization as it seeks to orchestrate a consensus on policy aims and objectives. Therefore, why it is that newsreaders and journalists, politicians and academics still bless an ‘ization’, which fundamentally fails to affect the ‘ordinary’ people. Pop into a regional papers outlook in Portsmouth, Newcastle or Liverpool and it is highly unlikely that there will be news surrounding a global pact between two countries over, say, race relations. Why? Well, people are still concerned with local and regional problems.

As with most ‘issues’ there are two main paradigms that seek to have the upper ground on globalization. The criminal justice system and the competing theories of ‘crime-control’ and ‘due-process’, a similar relationship occurs with globalization. However, their terms are more accessible as they are simply labelled the ‘Sceptics’ and the ‘Globalists’. Easy. Well, I say that but they are quite complex in their attitudes. Assuming definitions by name, sceptics would be objecting to globalization. However, all that really changes is their definitions. Held and McGrew (2004:6) highlight that the globalists are pro-globalism and believe in a global consensus incorporating military initiatives, political, cultural and social power to a universal power. This is definitely something that most nationalists would be highly opposed – I am sure the people of Great Britain would be ashamed by this, so only God knows what those in North Korea and Iran would be thinking. Globalists also consider the wider world in which globalized policies involve and the fact that the ‘truth of power no longer reaches the locales in which it is immediately experienced in’. However, on the contrary there are competing voices as expressed previously. The sceptics, for example, believe that there should be no universalism; instead, states should be free to express their own national policies in light of domestic policies. This, for me personally, is an interesting point and would be what I feel is the most closest to the way in which we govern today. Despite us having the European Union reaching over our sovereignty we still can uphold massive areas of political policy, so long as it does not infringe on any of the European Human Rights – a rightful piece of legislation, which is the only piece of legislation I wholeheartedly agree with universal implementation.

Something that the two academics both notice in the article is the idea that we live under an economic umbrella and that we really do not have much choice in the collapse of one economy to the other. With that statement in mind, it is important to consider the result of the financial collapse. Despite the Conservative’s (in the UK) persistence that Labour started and caused the ‘deep’ credit crunch there is no doubt in my mind that it was because of ‘dirty’ money, in the United States, being handed between unreliable parties. Now, if our economies were not as intertwined as what these two argue then we should never have been so crushed by these consequences. However, we were. Why? Well not necessarily, because their economic policy is our economic policy, but mainly because of the transnational companies that dominate many countries in the world. Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers were mainly American operative businesses but their cash injections were felt as greatly as the collapse of them. We were ‘recessionised’ with America – so was Japan, Spain, Germany, France, etc. However, what I feel the point that these two academics argue well is the idea that we are no longer reliant on trade and flows of capital between states are not as high as what they were. Frankly, I believe the European Union is possibly the most ‘close’ and integrated of all the state coalitions around the world – we receive directives on employment laws, labour contracts, human rights, human trafficking, bank bonuses, etc. However, in a general transnational view, economies are less integrated as what most of us tend to believe. The idea of a globe as one is much less fitting than an international coalition – the latter being the more appropriate, I feel. What I do feel is apparent as touched upon above is the dominance of coalitions such as the EU and the G7. In effect, they work well together, but in practice, they tend to marginalise and segregate our world. Let us be honest the world is not just representative of the US, UK and the other five remaining G7 countries. It incorporates a lot more of the Southern countries. The countries where the sweatshops still exist, where the ‘favela’ still operate and where the human rights of people are still being impinged The divide goes further with the South still heavily reliant on the export of primary goods, such as raw materials, and the North now heavily developed in manufactured goods, such as cars, white goods, commercialised products.

I believe that globalization is not something for the governments to worry about if they are keen on ensuring sovereignty is maintained; but there is cause for concern in some areas. Those who act less rational may believe ‘they’re taking over” and we need to “get out of Europe” but the fact is we’re not restricted to a worse degree – we are being bettered as a result of. HM Queen Elizabeth II is still the Queen; David Cameron is still our Prime Minister; Boris Johnson is still the Mayor of London; Karen Buck is still my local MP. When President Obama visits the UK from the USA he does not assume authority on all of the issues, look at Gordon Brown in the handling of G8 – he negotiated his way through some of the key ideas needed to save the economies. This is the key word: negotiate. Negotiation is the option whereas state interdependence is the compulsion.

Ed Strikes with the Unions

Ed Miliband, the younger of the two brothers, fighting it out to be leader of the majority opposition in British politics has won the leadership campaign. He will succeed Gordon Brown and interim-boss Harriet Harman. Harman has particularly impressed in the recent months following the resignation tendered by former-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Ed Miliband can take some satisfaction away this week that he will be heralded as a much more popular boss than his previous boss, Gordon Brown. However, he must capture the mood of Britain if he is to be electable in the pre-set election dates of May 2015. The country will take to the polls with two different opinions of three different parties. The Conservative and Liberals will have to man up to the cuts that they have chosen to direct and Labour will have to face up to the argument that they put the coalition in that position.

Ed Miliband is electable. He appeals to all of those invigorated left-wingers of the party, but his class and character will also – in times- appeal to those core middle class voters (who, generally always turn out for a good bit of voting come polling day). Ed needs to talk effectively about the thirteen years of Labour that he was strongly part of. Whether he was an advisor or a Member of Parliament, he has to seek the attention of the British public and orchestrate the reasons why Labour failed. As a counter manoeuvre, Ed needs to develop an initiative away from ‘New Labour’. He has quickly sought to ensure people are aware that New Labour will not exist in the Labour manifesto all the time he is leader. Whilst some right-wing journalists and newspapers will argue that this is a plan that deviates away from electability, it is also a plan that could reintegrate those that voted Tory at the last election. Ed has already prioritised the work of regaining the trust of Middle England, to start ensuring them that their mobility is, and will be, assisted. Ed will also address contemporary social problems to reconnect with those that voted Labour so overwhelmingly. Entrepreneurialism; business and innovation; education; poverty; defence strategies; immigration and law and order – these are all categories which chime well with how people such as you and me think. Although I consider myself strongly as a liberal, there is no hesitation in my mind that those who commit crimes should be punished as well as rehabilitated. There has to be some sort of swift and certain punishment (to paraphrase Beccaria). Ed needs to get this law and order message over, in a sense he has to renew what Blair tried to integrate. Blair believed that whilst he was a liberal, the Labour class who will vote in-and-out at every election were conservative in their policies towards law and order, immigration, etc. Ed needs to ensure he does this.

Ed also needs to chime with the left of people’s mentalities and ideologies. Climate change, equal rights, religion, the living wage are all ideological steps he needs to do to get empathy from the British people. He needs to attract the old as well as the young. Surprisingly enough the majority of British people are of a liberal mind-set but will always go conservative if they feel hard done. If Ed can start showing that Labour has the attraction in categories such as climate change and even to a larger extent electoral reform he will put an image across of a ‘fair kind of guy’ (not a straight kind of guy as Mr Blair was). The British population are, at times, irrational kinds of people. Most will not mind giving when they need to but dislike the idea of the government lacking consultation. The current British Government and British population collaborated extremely well in order to get relief effort to Pakistan, when they were battling with the most desperate of Earthquakes. This gained us international credibility, but at the same time in the back of the minds of people in middle-lower England they wondered why this was. They see themselves as about to embark on the biggest cuts programme ever to be seen by a British government (pending the Comprehensive Spending Review) and they (rightly or wrongly) believe this money should be channelled at home – as some peoples philosophy is ‘charity starts at home’. This is fine but when we need bailout, intelligence or trade from countries affected by the disasters we will not be in a position to argue our side of the coin. However, let us be clear with the British public, let Labour inform not patronise over why we are adopting such initiatives. Ed needs to continue to inform the British public of each decision he takes, whether in opposition or in government. By talking, not lecturing, with the British people you build a rapport (this links well with the PM debates held this year. Who were the most ‘chatty’ and your ‘average kind of guys’? Well Clegg and Cameron. Who won power? Clegg and Cameron). Ed needs to go to the country a lot more often than Labour did at the end of their rule.

There are a few more points Ed will also need to equip himself with to be a credible leader of the opposition or government. The first is he needs to get on board David Miliband. In order to bat away the levels of disgruntled MP’s who believe they have been unfairly outvoted by the influence of the unions he must get Miliband into the most senior of positions. He needs to direct a mandate that will be liberal, red and left wing but will also be a mandate that will attract the middle-upper class members of our population. David will do this. He is attached to the projects of Blair, whereas Ed has been camouflaged as a union boy who strongly distanced himself from either Brown or Blair towards the end of electoral defeat. But Ed needs David for his political awareness and his appeal; he must become shadow chancellor as soon as he throws his hat in the ring to be in the pool.

Good Luck, Ed!

M ‘n’ M!

So, the votes have been counted and verified and Labour will soon be able to announce the winner of the 2010 Leadership Competition… Sound familiar? Yes, Big Brother of course – but in Labour terms this has happened. Months of struggling and slogging over the nitty-gritty of who supported what in the last thirteen years; who was in whose camp; who would have vetoed the ‘War in Iraq’, we’ve heard it all. But all this will soon end and the next person to answer any of these questions will most probably be at the dispatch box in opposition (as the leader of the opposition). Exciting times come for whoever will be successful. But the Fabian Soceity and the Guardian both report that the two brothers are in direct competition for top spot – potentially a 50-50 split, or a realistic 30-30. Whoever wins on Saturday will surely have to give four years of service to one of the most famous parties in Europe.

There are a few turns of the steering wheel that either leader will need to take when he or she becomes leader. They need to ensure Labour returns to the centre-ground where the real votes are born from. They need to ensure criminal justice policy; benefit policy;  immigration policy; electoral reform directives are all sketched in the ‘ears to the ground’ form. My advice would be to get right out there and find out what the Gillian Duffy’s of this world are really thinking. Do they believe in tough sentencing? Capping immigration? It’s not about telling the public what t

hey want to hear, but it is more about getting in tune with what the public believe. Labour, between the last election and the 2010 election, become out of touch with the public and became monsterous in the way it operated. It grew from a slim vegan to a large carnivore; ripping up everything in its site. Criminalizing the marginalized, smearing sleaze all over the gates of Downing Street and showed extreme ineptness. Gordon

Brown was a great politician, he is also a great academic, director – but, he failed to be a greater Leader. I, personally, thought he was a super Prime Minister – but, a poor communicator. This was why Blair was so good, which is where one of the M’s have to show flexibility and pull Brown and Blair together and put it in themselves. That will be the most effective way of equipping themselves for government.

Personally, the one who looks naturally equipped to lead the Labour Party and to defeat David Cameron week-in-week-out would be David (M). He shows confidence, articulation and passion when he talks. He would quite clearly adopt effective campaigns, aimed at

Everyone - yes everyone - will be better off under Labour

Everyone - yes everyone - will be better off under Labour

building

from the bottom

upwards. Grassroots campaigining is where the Lib Dems have sustained themselves in recent years and is an area Labour should adopt. However, the candidate who looks most likely to be able to forge a mix of Blair and Brown is Ed. He is young, ruthless and intelligent. He has the political skills and articulation skills of Brown, but on the surface appears as though he is missing the communication skills of Tony. This

is something which only you, the Labour members, TU members, etc. have your say. I wish the candidate all the best.

Upon arriving in power the leader needs to adopt a new and experienced shadow cabinet. Ideally speaking it may be wise to keep those wishing to be put forward where they are now as they already have the expertese. However, a consequence of this is the hammering they would regularly take in the Commons as their poor track record. New faces is a fresh Labour. Fresh Labour would be electable in the circumstances. The Party need to return to a party of freshness and popularity, but it needs to also add a kick of naivity to it. This was why Blair was so good; he uplifted a country and made them believe in him. He walked into power at No.10 and was immediately struck by the immensity of it all. T

his. Is. Good!

Finally, the winning candidate needs to build on their own personal support that gained them the leadership and develop and reach out to those who they didn’t get the vote from. Trade Unions will need to trust David if he is to win; other MP’s and local councillors would need trust Ed and that he can lead the party to a safe election. Such a close margin would mean that the mandate of one particular candidate could not be directly followed as it would face massive backbench rebellion. Tactics need to be played and happiness and satisfaction need to be created.

Good Luck Labour.

Good Luck.

India in crisis…

India is emerging as one of the worlds strongest economies. It showed resilience in time of the tough global recession and is rivalling China in having one of the biggest workforces in the world. However, the rose bed that was being laid by the government machinery in India is now being seriously jeopardised by the poor workmanship of the Commonwealth Games.

Full of culture, diversity and colour

Full of culture, diversity and colour

The games are suppose to start from the 3rd October and whilst the main infrastructures maybe in place; the miniscule of details look set to be absent. Scottish athletes and their representatives seem to be unhappy about the way the rooms have been left; how piles of rubble are still as frequent as seeing as an athlete pottering about or a water bottle laying mercifully on a table. But the biggest, most alarming problem Indian officials are facing is the scrutiny of India’s physical infrastructure – the walkways, the centres, buildings and arenas. It was reported a few days ago that one of the main footbridges had collapsed, killing 23 people, a sign that workmanship and preperation are of a poor standard. Then a day later it was reported that part of a ceiling in the arena had fallen down – fortunately, killing nobody.

These are alarming matters and it is ashame for the people of India. A passionate and colourful national are being shed in the wrong light as being ill-prepared and marginalized – again – as being an LEDC (something, economics will point out, is untrue). India really needs to stop grappling with the press and officials and divert their efforts in restoring a plan that will get the games up to scratch and reinstate them as South Africa’s World Cup. It is not often that the Commonwealth Games, Olympics or the World Cup are performed better in Western countries th

an those East of that glass boundary; but if the people of India can bring their own vuvuzela to the Games it can be a very momental and incredible occassion.

In Defence of the [real] ‘Big Society’

Oh it sounds so-so traditionalist but in theory it stands just as strong as it did back in the days of enlightenment. Talking about the enlightenment in such a modern context may sound strange, but in fact the work of Hobbes still plays a significant role in the way politics manoeuvres and operates. Since the country went to the polling booths and felt the best way forward would be via a coalition we have been increasingly tolerant of a new type of economics and politics.

Whilst theoretically speaking the smear campaigns and the ‘old’ politics still remains rife, there has been a significant change in the role of the ‘Welfare State’. Whilst Alan Duncan-Smith and George Osbourne quarrel over just how streamline the new benefits system is going to be there is no doubt that pulling the plug on someone’s housing benefits or income support is a whole new shift of politics. In the days of Hobbes the idea of a ‘social contract’ between the citizen and the government (or monarch, in the context of then) was a sign of ‘you support me, and we’ll give you the power to protect’. So what happens when government fancies big business instead of supporting its citizens? What happens when the Tory’s march into power.

The ‘Big Society’ should really about supporting the citizens that empower the politician. If the government continue to strive on with this initiative of hiking up the VAT; cutting benefits left, right and centre then politics must change – again. Our agreement with the politicians that we vote for must also change. I’ll come back to this and will blog regularly about a broader campaign for political change.