Recent blog posts from around the School

Blog: The Coalition's mishandling of recall: worse than Baldrick's war poem

Blog: The Coalition's mishandling of recall: worse than Baldrick's war poem
Description
Written by Chris Game. Seeking an arresting phrase to convey the protracted abjectness of the events described in this blog, my first thought was Education Secretary Michael Gove's 'misbegotten shambles' – his accusatory summary of how certain historians and popular TV programmes like Blackadder have depicted the First World War.
Date:
Monday 24th February 2014

Saving humans Blog: World Government: Not Quite an Idea Whose Time has Come, but No Longer So Far from the Academic Mainstream

Saving humans Blog: World Government: Not Quite an Idea Whose Time has Come, but No Longer So Far from the Academic Mainstream
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. I can say without much reservation that I am one of the most avid students of world government alive today. Of course, I'm careful when and where I say that…
Date:
Friday 21st February 2014

Saving humans Blog: Democracy, Rights and European Hopes in Turkey

Saving humans Blog: Democracy, Rights and European Hopes in Turkey
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. Today I want to shift the focus from India and the Dalit (former untouchables) human rights struggle to Turkey. The two may not be obvious cases to treat in the same book or blog series, but in fact, some important issues intersect in both. In the Dalit human rights case, activists struggling on behalf of a category of persons within a country assert that those persons' rights are being systematically violated.
Date:
Thursday 20th February 2014

Saving humans Blog: Applying Global Pressure to Domestic Justice Issues: India's National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights

Saving humans Blog: Applying Global Pressure to Domestic Justice Issues: India's National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. Yesterday I wrote about field research I had conducted among unauthorized immigrants in the US and Europe, as well as with immigration authorities and activists. I thought it could be appropriate to follow that up with a brief discussion of some current field research which intersects in some significant ways with the concerns of the Saving Humans initiative.
Date:
Wednesday 19th February 2014

Saving humans Blog: Studying Global Ethics in its Lived Contexts: Unauthorized Migration and Global Citizenship

Saving humans Blog: Studying Global Ethics in its Lived Contexts: Unauthorized Migration and Global Citizenship
Description
Written by Dr Luis Cabrera. I started my professional (post-university) career as a journalist in Seattle for The Associated Press, the global newswire service. Wire service work has a reputation in the trade as a bit of grind, and there were indeed plenty of overnight shifts spent rewriting local newspaper copy for the wire.
Date:
Wednesday 19th February 2014

Blog: Devolution's biggest hurdle: Whitehall's culture of comtempt

Blog: Devolution's biggest hurdle: Whitehall's culture of comtempt
Description
Written by Chris Game. Labour published its draft 2015 local government manifesto recently. Entitled Labour and localism: perspectives on a new English deal, the core of the deal is a radical new approach to the financing of local government.
Date:
Monday 17th February 2014

Blog: It wouldn't be honest! Will closing the high road lead to congestion on the low road?

Blog: It wouldn't be honest! Will closing the high road lead to congestion on the low road?
Description
Written by Alan Doig. Only a few weeks after my recent article on addressing fraud, corruption and conflict-of-interest in local government from the enforcement and public ethics perspectives – the low road and high road approaches – the EU produced an overview report on corruption.
Date:
Thursday 13th February 2014

Blog: Directly elected mayors in England: leading local government?

Blog: Directly elected mayors in England: leading local government?
Description
Written by John Fenwick and Howard Elcock. The first directly-elected executive mayors in England took office more than a decade ago. Drawing inspiration from European and American experience, the directly elected mayor appealed to New Labour and Conservative policy-makers alike, offering an apparent solution to perceived problems of weak local leadership and bureaucratic stagnation.
Date:
Thursday 13th February 2014

Blog: Partnerships and service integration - is it all just hot air?

Blog: Partnerships and service integration - is it all just hot air?
Description
Written by Axel Kaehne. Since the 1990s, policy makers and academics have had a pet project in public service reform. Over time, they have called it differently but always meant essentially the same: public services collaborating with each other to improve service quality. At some point, it was called partnerships (remember the Partnership Agenda under Tony Blair's government?), then it was service integration, a term particularly popular amongst health care professionals.
Date:
Tuesday 11th February 2014

Blog: The 21st century public servant - drivers of change

Blog: The 21st century public servant - drivers of change
Description
Written by Maria Katsonis and Helen Sullivan. In 2013 the Melbourne School of Government and the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet began collaborating on a project to explore the roles, skills and characteristics of the 21st century public servant. This blog piece describes some of the key drivers of change we identified, most of which are relevant across a range of contexts, though their impact will be shaped by local political and economic contexts.
Date:
Thursday 6th February 2014

Blog: The Big Society lasted 1000 days. Will we ever see ideas of its like again?

Blog: The Big Society lasted 1000 days. Will we ever see ideas of its like again?
Description
Written by Dr Stephen Jeffares. "This is not the first time in the last year we have heard reports of "big ideas" "biting the dust". The same has been levelled at Cameron's purported big idea in politics: The Big Society."
Date:
Wednesday 5th February 2014

Blog: Who is in control of the sandbags?

Blog: Who is in control of the sandbags?
Description
Written by Philip Whiteman and Ian Briggs. "The recent news that the Minister for the Environment, Owen Patterson, has visited flood torn Somerset and the Environment Agency, has had a bit of a tough time in the media. It has started to open up a few interesting questions and issues around who is actually accountable and who is responsible for flood response."
Date:
Tuesday 4th February 2014

Blog: When will they ever learn?

Blog: When will they ever learn?
Description
Written by Catherine Staite. The news of the death of Pete Seeger has reminded me again of his old song 'Where have all the flowers gone?' The line 'oh when will they ever learn?' has been running through my head since I saw an item on the local news about police officers and mental health professionals working together to prevent people with mental health problems ending up in police cells for want of the right support. 'Good stuff!' you might think. Indeed it is - but it is also profoundly depressing to hear such a venture being reported as 'new'.
Date:
Monday 3rd February 2014

Blog: The prospects for a dramatically more representative Parliament post 2015 are bleak

Blog: The prospects for a dramatically more representative Parliament post 2015 are bleak
Description
Written by Catherine Durose, Liz Richardson, Ryan Combs, Francesca Gains and Christina Eason. Whilst the likely outcome of the next election maybe still far too close to call, one feature of the next Parliament is very predictable. The 2015 Parliament is likely to remain as deeply unrepresentative of the make-up of the UK population as the current legislature.
Date:
Friday 31st January 2014

Blog: The impact of media logic on democratic legitimacy in local governance networks

Blog: The impact of media logic on democratic legitimacy in local governance networks
Description
Written by Iris Korthagen and Ingmar van Meerkerk. Many policy- and decision-making processes in today's democracies increasingly take place in governance networks, these are interactive or network forms of governance. This raises an important question of how democratic legitimacy is being shaped in these networks and which factors impact upon this.
Date:
Thursday 30th January 2014

Blog: Can local government govern in the digital age?

Blog: Can local government govern in the digital age?
Description
Written by Paul Hepburn. The digital age continues to bring policy challenges for local government. From harnessing 'big data' for the public good to developing 'smart' cities the policy expectation is that local authorities will deliver appropriate governance without which, it is argued, urban life in the 21st century is likely to be rendered more complicated, fragmented , unequal and potentially dystopian through ad hoc technological fixes.
Date:
Wednesday 29th January 2014

Blog: The theft of the open primary: can we pin it on Jeffrey Archer?

Blog: The theft of the open primary: can we pin it on Jeffrey Archer?
Description
Written by Chris Game. It's rather late for a New Year's confession, but I need to get it off my conscience: I confess I read Jeffrey Archer books. I'm advised it only ranks as a venial, rather than mortal, sin, and it's not an addiction; I don't buy hardbacks, or sneak them on to student reading lists.
Date:
Wednesday 29th January 2014

Blog: Babies, bathwater and baths

Blog: Babies, bathwater and baths
Description
Written by Alan Dolg. It came as no surprise that the incoming Conservative government was quick to abolish the Standards Board for England after its 2010 election victory. Media comments and party policy briefs made it plain that the government had no time for what it perceived to be an over-zealous, heavy-handed and centralised regulator that added little value to local government.
Date:
Wednesday 29th January 2014

Blog: Health and wellbeing boards: a new type of partnership?

Blog: Health and wellbeing boards: a new type of partnership?
Description
Written by Anna Coleman. A great deal rests on Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs), a new type of local partnership. These were established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, to act as a forum in which leaders from the local health and care system could work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population and promote integrated services.
Date:
Wednesday 29th January 2014

Blog: Crime on the high street goes missing

Blog: Crime on the high street goes missing
Description
Written by Professor John Raine. For almost two decades now the statistics for recorded crime in England and Wales have been falling. And even though there has always been a difference, of some magnitude, between the numbers gathered through the British Crime Survey – a large-scale sample of the public's experiences of crime victimisation - and the (persistently smaller) statistics compiled by the police, there has been broad agreement at least in the downward trend.
Date:
Wednesday 29th January 2014

Blog: Local democracy at the sharp end: diary from a Parish Council

Blog: Local democracy at the sharp end: diary from a Parish Council
Description
Written by Ian Briggs. It starts in the autumn of 2013. The Secretary of State knocks back the latest submission of the Core Strategy from the District Council – more homes needed please. Suddenly, the Parish Council becomes inundated with requests for meetings from developers – the story here being that this rural village has the postcode where houses change hands on the market the fastest for miles around, and for the highest possible price.
Date:
Wednesday 22nd January 2014

Blog: Reason, myth and migration

Blog: Reason, myth and migration
Description
Written by Phillip Cole. One of the dominant features of public debate about immigration in the United Kingdom is the absence of reason. Many political commentators have begun to notice the reluctance of people to abandon basic myths about immigration, despite the prevalence of evidence that shows those myths to be false.
Date:
Tuesday 21st January 2014

Blog: The English question

Description
Written by Martin Stott. It is worth contemplating the possibility of a scenario in which Scotland votes for independence in September and a new Government holds an 'in/out' referendum on the remainder of the UK's membership of the EU in 2017 – and the vote produces an 'out' result. Whether it is of the social democratic variety espoused by the SNP in Scotland, or the populist nationalism of UKIP in England, nationalism is having a profound effect on British politics.
Date:
Friday 17th January 2014

Blog: Violence in South Sudan illustrates the perils of state building

Blog: Violence in South Sudan illustrates the perils of state building
Description
Written by Professor Paul Jackson. The Christmas period in the newest nation in the world, South Sudan, has been a violent one. More than 1,000 people are believed to have died (BBC) with more than 120,000 forced to flee ethnic clashes (BBC) in one of the least developed countries in the world. The President of the UN Security Council, Gerard Arnaud, has warned that this could lead to a fully fledged ethnic war in the country and around 7,500 UN peacekeeping troops have deployed to the country. In a country that is awash with guns and with a long history of violence between ethnic groups, populist political rhetoric along ethnic lines is dangerous.
Date:
Wednesday 15th January 2014

Blog: Where have all the politics gone? On wildebeest, lions and other political animals

Blog: Where have all the politics gone? On wildebeest, lions and other political animals
Description
Written by Catherine Staite. "One benefit of spending many days mass catering and washing up over Christmas has been the companionship of Radio 4 news programmes. Sadly, I now feel a bit like those women who decide on divorce just after Christmas. Prolonged exposure to political reporting has left me feeling betrayed and irritated in equal measure."
Date:
Friday 10th January 2014

Blog: What does the Autumn Statement mean for local government?

Blog: What does the Autumn Statement mean for local government?
Description
This December, in contrast to the previous two years of worse than expected news, the Chancellor has revised his growth forecasts upwards and revised his debt forecasts downwards.
Date:
Monday 9th December 2013

Blog: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013

Blog: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918-2013
Description
Heather Marquette, Reader in Development Politics at IDD, and David Hudson, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at UCL, are directors of research for the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP). They reflect on the inspirational achievements of Nelson Mandela – who embodied developmental leadership.
Date:
Friday 6th December 2013

Blog: Electoral reform: STV for local elections and first-time compulsory voting

Blog: Electoral reform: STV for local elections and first-time compulsory voting
Description
Written by Chris Game. Two research-based reports on electoral reform appeared almost simultaneously last week. Great for anoraks, but for a local government blog a dilemma. Only one report directly concerns local government, and here, therefore, it properly leads off. But the second is – how to put this – at least methodologically the more interesting and will receive the greater attention.
Date:
Friday 22nd November 2013

Blog: Making 'climate compatible development' possible in coastal areas

Blog: Making 'climate compatible development' possible in coastal areas
Description
Fiona Nunan is Lecturer in Environment and Development in IDD, specialising in natural resource governance and management in developing country settings, particularly within inland fisheries and coastal locations in East and Southern Africa, and in exploring the links between poverty and the environment.
Date:
Tuesday 19th November 2013

Blog: A reply to Frazer Nelson: the only thing astonishing is how little power local authorities have

Blog: A reply to Frazer Nelson: the only thing astonishing is how little power local authorities have
Description
Written by Catherine Staite. Fraser Nelson's article on Birmingham City Council last Friday was a very disappointing offering from an experienced journalist and a reputable paper – more Daily Mail then Daily Telegraph. It was riddled with inaccuracies.
Date:
Monday 18th November 2013
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Departmental news

Postgraduate Open Day - Wednesday 03 December 2014

Postgraduate Open Day - Wednesday 03 December 2014
Description
The postgraduate open day gives you the opportunity to talk to our experts and find out more about the wide portfolio of taught and research opportunities available to you at the University of Birmingham. Whatever stage you are at with your career, a visit to the open day will clarify your options and help you plan your next step.
Date:
23/09/2014

Things will never be the same again: reflections on the Scottish referendum

Things will never be the same again: reflections on the Scottish referendum
Description
Written by Professor Colin Thain. Whatever the outcome of today's referendum of 3.5 million voters in Scotland, Friday 19 September 2014 will be an epoch-making day in the politics of these islands. For once, the hyperbole is justified.
Date:
18/09/2014

The Conversation: Ban pre-election opinion polls at your peril

The Conversation: Ban pre-election opinion polls at your peril
Description
Written by Chris Game. I really thought we might make it. We'd got past the publication of YouGov's potentially constitution-changing poll showing a minuscule lead for the Yes campaign without anyone grabbing for an easy headline by calling for opinion polls to be banned in the run-up to elections and referendums.
Date:
18/09/2014

Undergraduate Open Day - Saturday 18 October 2014

Undergraduate Open Day - Saturday 18 October 2014
Description
Our Undergraduate Open Days offer you the perfect opportunity to hear first-hand from our current undergraduates and teaching staff about living and learning at Birmingham.
Date:
16/09/2014

The Conversation: Scotland vote appears to be defying usual referendum swing

The Conversation: Scotland vote appears to be defying usual referendum swing
Description
Written by Chris Game. It seems Scottish voters are warming to the whole independence idea, then – bucking the trend that the experts have been telling us for months they're almost bound to follow.
Date:
15/09/2014