social policy

Drugs

Since the dawn of human existence we have been putting things into our bodies to see what they do, then repeating be cause we either liked, got addicted, or simply wanted a bigger sample size (yay science). Drugs aren’t even a human phenomenon, cats like catnip, and other animals have been chewing mildly hallucinogenic leaves for millennia. Somewhere in the trail of human history we developed the artificial idea of an acceptable drug, as science developed we were able to categorise them, and more recently the state has taken an interest in substance consumption.

I’m not by any means arguing that many drugs, used in many ways, aren’t harmful to health and society. My core position in that there will never be zero harm as a result of drugs, instead of targeting impractical zero drug futures, it would be more pragmatic, compassionate and successful to think about ways in which we can reduce the harm of drugs. We must recognise the complexity of a human diaspora. No single factor solely relates to the harm caused by drugs. There are no magic theories, that cover the individual and a massive population with equal accuracy, only suggestions that something might help.

Opinion: Social security without the surveillance

Editor's picture

This past year has been the one when it finally came out in the open that we’re all under surveillance - on the internet, on the phone - 24 hours a day.

It certainly wasn’t news to any who have had to rely at any time on means-tested, increasingly conditional benefits in order to pay their bills. Claimants have long had to report income, bank statements, family circumstances, rent - for just a start - to several authorities, in order to top up meagre wages or have any money at all to live on. This year, both Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance saw all the harsh conditions of the floundering Universal Credit policy brought in without the supposed salve the structure of UC is claimed to be.

Registration on Universal Jobmatch, the government website contracted out to Monster - is now mandatory. With its scam, zero-hour contract, and even sex work advertisements, this website would be a perfect joke if its Big Brother/Kafkaesque interface didn’t threaten real people’s lives with identity theft and other abuses of personal data daily. Then there’s the stress of being monitored in real time by Job Centre officials and bullied on to workfare placements which lead nowhere...I could go on.

Sure Start

We must protect Sure Start services. It is vitally important that all children get the best possible start in life, but that alone isn't sufficient in dealing with the problems that the UK faces. The rationale under which Sure Start Children's Centres were set up should be extended, not rolled back. They have made life easier for millions of families and could improve lives further. Sure Start should be be about actively bringing down the levels of child poverty in the UK, not just a start in life, and should provide ongoing support for whole families.

Supporting the motion 'The Mainstream Parties Have Failed'

Speaker: 
Mr. Loz Kaye
Talk Date: 
Friday, 1 June, 2012
Talk Location: 
United Kingdom

Opinion: £53 and the Problem With UK Politics

Andrew Norton's picture

The current furore over the Work and Pensions Minister, Ian Duncan Smith, is highlighting not just the glibness of modern politicians when speaking to the media, but also that much of the media is focused on partisan bickering rather than on the reporting of news.  There are two main aspects to this story. The first is the promise made by Ian Duncan Smith, and the second is the response to it.

So let's start with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. 

Earlier this week he said he could live on £53 a week, in response to one man's complaint of the Governments cuts. 'If I had to I would' he said on BBC Radio 4. This was swiftly followed by calls to put his money where his mouth is, or, perhaps more accurately, try to feed his mouth with the money he offers.

 

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