What ‘race’ is an elf?

Should we see fantasy novels as just that – fantasies? Andrew Smith suggests they can contain insidious racism. Last month saw the DVD release of the final film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit franchise, the hugely successful follow-up to the same director’s film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. If you want to know what […]

Manchester Uni

A Tale of Two Speeches?

What does the Conservative election victory mean for the North of England and higher education? Professor Andy Westwood interprets the signals. Just in case you didn’t know, the Northern Powerhouse is ‘GO’ and was confirmed in today’s Queens Speech. George Osborne reaffirmed his commitment to the idea almost immediately after he and the Conservatives won […]


One night in May [Part 2] – The strange resurrection of the British political tradition?

Professor Dave Richards and Professor Martin Smith analyse what the general election result means for the British political system. The 2015 general election was supposed to produce one type of policy earthquake, but may have produced another. The assumption by nearly everyone until 10.01 pm on May 7 was that we would see the further […]


One Night in May [Part 1] – Whatever Happened to the Strange Death of Tory England?

In 2005, the political journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft wrote a critique of the Conservative Party, The Strange Death of Tory England.  Here Dave Richards and Martin Smith explore this failed prophesy and examine the implications of GE2015 on the main parties. When Wheatcroft wrote his book the Conservative Party was yet to come to terms with […]


The good ship SS DevoManc: full steam ahead?

SS DevoManc has now set sail after a six weeks stopover in port during the general election. Dr Lawrence Benson tries to plot its course. Let’s recap on DevoManc. It’s about the devolution of power and resources from Westminster to the city region of Greater Manchester (GM), including for health and social care. This marks […]

Roma caravan blog

Counting Roma: the ethical dilemma

Roma are one of Europe’s most marginalised and deprived communities. Addressing their problems is made more difficult by lack of transparency in the methods used to collect data on them, argues Professor Yaron Matras, as a new project is launched to tackle the problem. Europe’s Roma population suffers extreme poverty and social marginalisation. European institutions have […]


The truth about deflation: keep calm and carry on (for now)

As official Government figures show that the UK economy deflated in April, for the first time since the 1960’s, Diane Coyle looks at whether we should be worried. There was much excitement about the news that the UK’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined by 0.1% in the 12 months to April. A negative figure for […]


Oxbridge Universities are the go to places for academic research and expertise: but it’s not the whole story

Can ‘outsider’ universities break the Oxbridge stranglehold on the Civil Service? Carole Talbot explores… It’s well understood that Whitehall Civil Servants go to Oxford and Cambridge Universities more often than elsewhere. And, many of the linkages into these universities are based on civil servants having attended one of the Oxbridge Colleges themselves and that the […]

online shopping

The online challenge facing government

Creating a coherent digital policy that addresses both opportunities and threats is likely to prove a challenge for the new Government, argues Tarlok Teji. One of the major policy challenges facing the new Government is defining our relationship to the hyper-connected digital world. While that world brings fantastic opportunities, it also creates risks of global […]

mental healthblog

Don’t forget! Innovation in engagement in mental health delivery

The recent general election has seen calls for parity of mental health within the health care system, and this will require innovative approaches to involving people with mental health issues and their carers in service delivery says Joanne Tippett, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. A participant with dementia in a recent event hosted […]