Category archives for Social science

Resisting Labour Reforms in France

Heather Connolly

The current industrial action will test the ‘reactionary radicalism’ of French unions and the Government’s ability to introduce reforms On 4th November 2015, France’s labour minister, Myriam El Khomri, launched reforms designed to rewrite the labour code.  France’s labour code is more than 3,500 pages long in its latest edition, plus vast amounts of supplementary case law.  This fact makes … Continue reading

16 June 2016 by
Categories: Employment, Europe and the EU, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Trade Unions | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Social exclusion and labour rights in the banlieues of Paris: Part II

Heather Connolly

Trade union support for undocumented migrant workers is taking place in an atmosphere of growing stigmatisation and social tension Last month I returned to the banlieues of Paris on a research visit hosted by CRESPPA-CSU, four months after the November attacks, and during the week of the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22nd March.  Whilst in Paris issues of social … Continue reading

14 April 2016 by
Categories: Inequality, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Cradle to the Grave? The decline of UK funeral policy provision

Liam Foster

The Conservative Government will face considerable challenges as people are unable to meet rising funeral costs While much is known about the ritual components of a funeral, very little is known about how individuals and families determine and plan for the financial costs associated with a funeral, and how they afford them. While funeral costs can be a potential source … Continue reading

8 March 2016 by
Categories: Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tax, Welfare | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Labour and 2020 – looking forward, not back

The current polls are poor but electoral success will rely on a mass mobilisation campaign and increasing voter turnout There have been a number of opinion pieces and blogs recently that have presented a very negative outlook on Labour’s chances at the general election in 2020. Glen O’Hara’s recent blog for SPERI drew on current and historic polling data to … Continue reading

2 March 2016 by
Categories: Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Key questions for the coming EU referendum

Simon Bulmer

We now have a date but there are plenty of big questions and unknown steps between now and 23rd June This was the tweet from European Council President Donald Tusk late in the evening of 19th February 2016 that indicated the marathon European Council session had found a deal on David Cameron’s renegotiation demands. It was followed the next day by … Continue reading

23 February 2016 by
Categories: EU Referendum, Europe and the EU, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The real ‘new politics’ of post-crisis Britain: Part I

Craig Berry

The Conservatives understand – and exploit – the electorate’s concerns about ‘place’ As I argue in my forthcoming book Austerity Politics and UK Economic Policy, if austerity were simply an argument about the merits of deficit reduction, its critics on the left would have won hands down.  Indeed, the regularity with which George Osborne now delays the deficit reduction end-date … Continue reading

18 February 2016 by
Categories: Craig Berry, Devolution, Economics, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corbyn and the Labour Party – taking the longer view?

Glen O'Hara

Historic polling comparisons highlight the party’s challenges ahead of 2020 The last few months have seen the Labour Party seemingly stumble from crisis to crisis. A rolling and engrossing bad news story but one that has been hard to place in context.  We can consider the impact of this first period of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership upon Labour’s support by considering … Continue reading

17 February 2016 by
Categories: Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

This is Britain 80-82: Thatcher and understanding modern politics

A full understanding of Thatcher’s legacy arguably needs more than just 3 years This evening (February 16th) SPERI is delighted to welcome Andy Beckett of The Guardian, for the Sheffield launch of his new book ‘Promised You a Miracle: UK 80-82’.  This event is free of charge and open to all. Book your place here. Kate Dommett, who will introduce … Continue reading

16 February 2016 by
Categories: Housing, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The new view from The Bridge

Re-bordering is emerging in Scandinavia in one of the most symbolically borderless regions in Europe The completion of the Öresund Bridge in 2000 – immortalised in the well-known TV drama – changed both the physical and economic landscape of Denmark and Southern Sweden. The new train service brought the transit time between the two cities of Copenhagen and Malmö to … Continue reading

19 January 2016 by
Categories: Europe and the EU, Social science, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social exclusion and labour rights in the banlieues of Paris

Heather Connolly

Trade unions can support the integration of migrants and minorities in France and must do so more actively in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks The terrorist attacks in Paris have again highlighted the problem of social divisions in France and the extent to which they lead to feelings of exclusion that in some way incite violent responses. It appears … Continue reading

16 December 2015 by
Categories: Europe and the EU, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cannabis in the USA Part I: winning the battle…

Matthew Bishop

Ambitious reforms to cannabis policy in the US are long overdue, with cracks finally appearing in the edifice of the failed ‘War on Drugs’ Drug prohibition has failed utterly. It has neither stemmed demand nor supply, while creating powerful mafias and a desperate trail of violence. It is not based on evidence or logic. As regularly noted by Professor David … Continue reading

15 December 2015 by
Categories: crime, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Old’ leftism, made new?

Stephanie Mudge

An important part of the ‘Millennial’ appeal of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US lies in the economic insecurity of younger generations In my last SPERI Comment, I highlighted some of the new realities of the neo-gilded age: huge economic and wealth inequality, long-term wage stagnation and the mounting problem of student loan debt.  I … Continue reading

8 December 2015 by
Categories: Debt, Economics, Inequality, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tax | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The rise and fall of the World Bank’s global pension model

The global economic crisis has prompted the rapid demise of a treasured neoliberal pet project In many ways neoliberalism still seems an unshakeable paradigm.  However, in the pension reform arena governments across the world are abandoning pension privatisation in favour of a return to a primary role for the state.  This post charts the rise and fall of pension privatisation … Continue reading

1 December 2015 by
Categories: Economics, Finance, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tax, Welfare | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 comment

Pensions and the Coalition government: a mixed impact?

The new regime is still likely to leave millions of pensioners in poverty and will certainly not bridge the gap to the most affluent Pensions have for the moment largely slipped off the radar in the political debate.  However, they received considerable attention under the former Coalition government and there was a sense that pensioners had often got a ‘good … Continue reading

10 November 2015 by
Categories: Economics, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tax, Welfare | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The potential of workers’ capital in Britain’s economic renewal

Craig Berry

Recent governments have not focused sufficiently on addressing the chronic short-termism of pension fund investments The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent stagnation in the British economy gave renewed prominence to one of its longstanding handicaps. The relative lack of long-term investment can be associated with both the housing market and asset price booms which created significant volatility in the pre-crisis … Continue reading

6 November 2015 by
Categories: British growth crisis, Economics, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Welfare | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Searching for a sustainable economic alternative in Britain

Daniel Bailey

The challenge is huge and demands coordinated political action at the European and global levels Craig Berry’s paper at the recent SPERI and IPPR roundtable event on the topic of ‘The British Growth Model: Building a Sustainable Future’ argued that a progressive economic narrative based on the contemporary concerns of the British public was required to usher out the already … Continue reading

4 November 2015 by
Categories: Austerity, Economics, Europe and the EU, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Uber model and associated controversies

Tom Hastings

The US firm’s successful expansion into many different countries, including the UK, raises important questions about the regulation of technology-dependent businesses The controversies surrounding US technology firm Uber continue and have done so for several years now, with the firm’s notoriety coming hot on the heels of near-constant technological and territorial expansions. The concept at the heart of Uber’s model … Continue reading

28 October 2015 by
Categories: Economics, Global crisis, Social science, SPERI Comment, USA | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is meant by the centre in political analysis?

Tony Payne

There are good grounds for thinking that the concept rests at heart on an acceptance of what Weber called ‘an ethic of responsibility’ All the talk at the moment is about the centre ground in politics, especially in Britain but also more widely too in other parts of Europe. Conventionally, this is understood as the central part of an ideological … Continue reading

21 October 2015 by
Categories: Political theory, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tony Payne | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant tipping: a very British affliction

Matthew Bishop

The recent furore over gratuities exemplifies Britain’s low-skill, low-investment political economy There is an infamous scene in the Quentin Tarantino movie, Reservoir Dogs, where Mr Pink, played by Steve Buscemi, refuses to proffer a tip after a meal.  He argues that this should not be automatically expected for simply doing one’s job, particularly when distinctions are arbitrarily drawn between different … Continue reading

13 October 2015 by
Categories: Economics, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Tax, USA | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 comments

The SDGs on hunger and malnutrition

Ben Richardson

These new goals offer some important changes from the MDG era and provide ‘food for thought’ in the UK So near, yet so far. One of the headline targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to halve the proportion of undernourished people in the world between 1990 and 2015 was almost met.  The distance travelled in this respect, represented by … Continue reading

6 October 2015 by
Categories: Development, Economics, Global crisis, Inequality, Politics and policy, Social science, SPERI Comment, Sustainability | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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