Charlie Hebdo

Feb 08

I’ve attracted a little Twitter opprobium for sharing this comic today. Several people say that it’s essentially a piece of victim-blaming  – that to poke fun at Jews, and Christians, but not Muslims – is to cow to the terrorists. I don’t have a problem with causing offence when offence needs to be caused. Like Nick...

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Probation privatisation – the saga continues…

Aug 06

Chris Grayling’s plan to privatise the probation service follows a similar model to the disastrous Work Programme (WP). The Work and Pensions Select Committee recently found the WP’s “payment by results” model had lead to an endemic culture of “creaming and parking” (helping jobseekers for whom...

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A quick note on the Work Programme

Aug 06

While much of the negative coverage surrounding the Work Programme has focused on its dubious use of statistics and ludicrously low success rate , there’s another angle to the farrago that has yet to be fully explored, and that’s the process by which the firms failing to find work for its participants were awarded contracts by...

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Yarl’s Wood: A history

Jul 26

This is an abridged version of the list put together by the charity Medical Justice: 2001: Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre opened in November 2001 and cost approximately £100 million to build with a capacity to hold 900 asylum seekers. GSL won the contract to manage the centre. 2002: In February, a huge fire destroyed half the...

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Goodbye Roger

Apr 12

An elderly couple visited my flat today. The estate agent told them about the local amenities, the opportunities for development, the parties the local residents’ association holds in the square every month. The old man looked out of the window onto the back garden, and as he did so a blanket of sunlight burst through the grey clouds. He...

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An open letter to Melanie Phillips

Nov 02

This letter was submitted to Melanie Phillips through her website on 2nd November. Re-posted and open for comments at New Statesman online. Dear Ms Phillips, In a piece published on 21 October (“Jimmy Savile and how the liberal left encouraged the sexualisation of our children”)  you bring to the public’s attention the shameful...

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