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Podcast and Annotated Transcript: I Daniel Blake – The Benefit Cuts Debate with Jeane Freeman MSP Social Security Minister, Paul Laverty Screenwriter, and others

“I am not a client, a customer nor a service user. I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar nor a thief. I am not a national insurance number, or blip on a screen. I have paid my dues, never a penny short, and proud to do so. I don’t tug the forelock, but look my neighbour in the eye and help him if I can. I don’t accept or seek charity. My name is Daniel Blake, I am a man, not a dog. As such, I demand my rights. I demand you treat me with respect. I Daniel Blake am a citizen, nothing more and nothing less. Thank you” Read more

Podcast: Richard Murphy, Taxation, Secrecy Jurisdictions and the Joy of Tax

This article is a response to the presentation given by Richard Murphy on his new book ‘The Joy of Tax’ which was launched at the 20th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair.  He spoke on a panel with Lesley Riddoch and Andy Wightman, and you can listen to the audio recording of the event in the podcast below. Read more

Concerning the Future of Edinburgh’s Central Library and the City’s World Heritage Status by Simon Byrom

We the undersigned, backed by over 5000 signatures of public support, wish to register an expression of “No Confidence” in the City of Edinburgh Council, in response to the proposal for a highly contentious development at India Buildings on Victoria Street, following a spate of controversial planning decisions whose cumulative effects are seriously damaging the reputation of this City of the Enlightenment, putting Edinburgh’s highest accolade at risk, the World Heritage status. Read more

Podcast: George Monbiot; How Did We Get Into This Mess ?

This podcast was recorded on 16th March 2016 at University of Edinburgh,for the Ragged University project by request. With thanks to Elaine and Tarlochan at Wordpower Books, and thanks to Stuart for being welcoming with technical support. Elaine from Wordpower Books, Scotland’s Independent and Radical Bookshop introduces the event they have produced in conjunction with the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.

The main lecture is George Monbiot who is launching his latest book – How Did We Get Into This Mess. The Twitter hashtag which was set up was #thismess.

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Critical Apprenticeships: The Wrights and the Wrongs of Passage

We live in a time when the meaning of language in policyland has become so eroded that a collective sense of confusion raises its head when words like ‘apprenticeship’ are thrown about. It seems that there is a common puzzlement now as to what it means in practice….

We have heard a great deal about apprenticeships over the last years, and indeed, as economic doctrine steadily rolls in like a harr from the sea, we discover apprenticeships being presented under a bold educational flag. In this article I am going to ask ‘Are the majority of us having cheap unskilled labour for big firms re-packaged and sold back to us as skill providing foundations and futures to careers ?’.  I shall be trying to tackle this by presenting an indepth analysis of government reports and other sources created on the subject over the last five years.

Where possible, the reports and papers have been embedded in the article or links provided to them so that the reader can evaluate the original texts for themselves.  Also, the discussion will explore some parts of the larger economic backdrop to provide a more meaningful context for us to place the exploration of apprenticeships in this time.

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Is Plastic Really Fantastic? by Faith Canter

Plastics have been around since the 1940s. They’re used all over the world and are commonplace in our everyday lives. So what exactly is plastic and where does it come from?

There are actually a few natural plastics, but for the most part, the plastics we use are manmade and most come from crude oil (although some come from coal and natural gases). Plastic, petrol, paraffin, lubricants and petroleum gases are all bi-products of the refining process of crude oil. Read more