Mark Littlewood

Plurality or not?

With all the provisos attached to News Corp’s takeover of BSkyB, opposition to the deal has surely now been diluted. But there are, perhaps, two groups who can still legitimately complain about the outcome.   Firstly, those of us who believe that unrestricted freedom of speech is vital in the TV broadcasting arena. The Murdoch

How truly liberal is the coalition government?

Mark Littlewood is Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs and contributed an article to the recent collection Big Brother Watch: The state of civil liberties in Britain. He summarises his argument here. It’s not fanciful to argue that the formation of a Liberal-Conservative coalition government last May was helped by the fact that

Why education should be for profit

Michael Gove’s free schools programme has been heralded as the cutting edge of the coalition’s structural reform programme. Removing the dead hand of the state and allowing new schools to emerge makes the Big Society project tangible at least. But already – and unsurprisingly – the reforms are running into difficulty. By the end of

The Big Society is a threat to Labour

If you think there really is a big idea behind the Big Society, then you agree with the unlikely pairing of Jon Cruddas (Lab, Dagenham) and Jesse Norman (Con, Hereford). The latter’s new book, The Big Society: The Anatomy of the New Politics, attempts the seemingly impossible task of providing a grand philosophical narrative to

Going beyond the IDS reforms

Iain Duncan Smith deserves credit for fully understanding the nature and scale of the welfare problem. But that’s the easy bit. Finding a solution with the right balance of carrot and stick and making it somehow affordable in these austere times is the tougher part of the equation. And it’s not at all clear that

Finding a narrative of hope

In these grim dark days of austerity and cuts, the coalition urgently needs to find a compelling political narrative of hope and optimism. David Cameron’s Big Society rhetoric occasionally threatens to contain some philosophical depth, but suffers from the same problem as most new fangled analyses of the world. Namely, it is so fluffy that

A solid enough start

The Liberal-Conservative administration deserves to pass its 100 day probation. It hasn’t done much yet, but it has said some of the right things and sounds like it might even get round to doing a few of these things at some point in the not-too-distant future. I’d pretty much accept that from a new staff

Never again should so much be wasted by so few

If you tire quickly of the tediously lengthy build up to Christmas, which starts about now, then heaven help you in dealing with two years of hyperbole about the 2012 Olympics. Even the most enthusiastic synchronised swimming fan will find it hard to imagine that the actual event will live up to the billing. And