Navigate / search

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Rest In Pieces: The Competition Commission

John Robertson, member of the Cross Party Energy and Climate Change committee went on public record saying: “The biggest opacity is the profit making itself, if you look at the bill you get through the door, the understanding you have of it. There is a need for the companies to explain how they make their profit and where; also make it easy for the consumer to understand their bill. We can see what is happening on the retail side, but not on the generation side of the equation.

The companies are jealously guarding their information. It is strange that you have six large companies, who all charge roughly the same, have roughly the same increases in price, and yet they are all meant to be in competition with each other”

Read more