Think Pieces

Making corporate control work

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

Experience has shown, however, that all such pronouncements need to be considered sceptically. Best practice rather than regulation may indeed be the government's publicly preferred starting point. But judging from their past performance, it is unlikely to be the preferred - or the actual - outcome.

Two Thousand Days of Nothing Very Much - Labour’s performance in office

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

Has Tony Blair done as much? It would be hard to suggest that New Labour, which passed its 2,000th day in office on October 23rd, has as much to be proud of. Indeed, for a government which came in promising so much, the delivery has been small.

The Paradox of 'Affordable' Housing

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

But what precisely is 'affordable housing'? The note quotes the Cambridge scholar Alan Holmans, who defines it as: "renting at below-market rents from a public body or a housing association?; shared ownership sponsored by a housing association; or renting from a private landlord with all or part of the rent paid from public funds, currently Housing Benefit."

In other words, what has come to be called 'affordable housing' is in fact social housing or subsidised housing. A new name to make an old political policy more difficult to object to.

Ambitious yoof

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

'Class does not matter, according to the youngsters,' says a MORI report for the Adam Smith Institute. Only 9% include a privileged background in the factors which aid success. Only 19% think that good connections matter. However, 72% say determination is what counts, and 70% include education. 'The upshot is that the classless, meritocratic society has already arrived for the Millennial Generation.' 'Birth, breeding and background do not matter. It is who you are which counts, not where you came from or who you know.'

Who owns the past?

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

Selkirk, editor of the journal Current Archaeology - which is much favoured by amateur and independent archaeologists - advocates the use of Independence Impact Statements as part of a drive to end the stuffy pseudo-professional capture of Britain's Arts and Heritage. The plan would ensure that the needs of local and amateur artists and enthusiasts were considered in everything from planning archaeological digs to operatic productions.

Liberating libraries

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

What, then, can be done to stem the decline of public libraries today? One modest example from the United States might show the way.


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