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Rising to the top

The question of whether the professions are becoming more, or less, socially mixed is much in the minds of commentators and politicians at the moment. In this short piece we look at the professionalising of the political selection process, in the light of last autumn's Labour leadership contest and the appointment of Ed Miliband's first shadow cabinet.

Back to the future

What kind of decision are we making in casting our vote for one political party over another? Are we thinking ahead and choosing the option that will best promote our future well-being? Or are we looking to the past and exacting retribution for political actions we have disliked? These questions underlie the current jostling for position between the main political parties in their attempts to focus the electorate’s mind on the versions of the past and the future most favourable to their party’s cause. As a political tactic, however, this manoeuvring comes up against deep tensions in the way we think about voting - tensions that all parties have in the past found it easier to paper over than to confront.

Luck, politics, and the economic downturn

The question of how many of the good and bad things in our lives are attributable to the workings of luck and how many to our own efforts and skills seems a long way from everyday political and business reality. But the financial crisis and the ensuing economic downturn have forced government ministers and business people alike to get their story straight on just this issue. After all, if they want to say that the good times were down to them, don’t they have to accept that the bad times are down to them also? And if they want to say that the bad times are despite them, don’t they have to accept that the good times were despite them also? Our article examines how those under fire have tried to navigate their way around these pitfalls - and whether their answers stand up to scrutiny.