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Abstentionist Irish rebel MP Countess Markievicz, centre, on the night she was released from prison in 1919. National Library of Ireland on The Commons

Nancy Astor wasn’t the real first female MP – this woman was

Irish Republican, socialist, suffragette and revolutionary, Countess Constance Markievicz was a fearsome politician who was the true first female member of the British parliament.
Government is looking for a new ‘officer class’ to run privatised social services. John Giles / PA.

Creeping privatisation leaves social work fighting for its soul

Social work is at a crossroads. As the next election cycle begins, the country’s social workers are caught between two completely different visions of their profession. One is based on the ideal of a democratic…
Perhaps the UK could buy a starter kit? Rose Robinson

Free the weed, but growing an effective market would be tough

We appear to be on the cusp of a major change in the laws surrounding the use and sale of cannabis. Several nations have now decriminalised usage, and the first steps toward full legalisation have taken…
Mindless violence: the mosque in Gillingham, Kent, which was attacked after the Woolwich killing. A man is in police custody on suspicion of racially-aggravated criminal damage. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Tit-for-tat extremism only fuels more hatred and violence

Many people in Britain would have had nightmares last night. The news that a serving British soldier was hacked to death on the streets of London and the graphic images broadcast and printed by the media…
Smash the system, not traffic lights. flikr/bobaliciouslondon

Why aren’t unemployed young people rioting in the streets?

A fifth of Britain’s young people are out of work; how long before they snap? The International Labour Organisation has recently issued warnings about possible youth unrest in the future, as young people…

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