Author: Stephen McNair

Stephen McNair is retired and lives in Norfolk, where he is active in progressive politics. He spent most of his career working on education policy, especially adult education, at national and international level. He founded the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce, and chaired a European Scientific Research Committee on Demographic Change.

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Some lives are getting shorter: are you feeling lucky?

Stephen McNair
Hourglass

For more than 150 years, life expectancy has been rising in all developed countries, as a result of improvements in public health, lifestyle, working conditions, healthcare and medicines. A child born in 2010 could expect to live ten years longer than their grandparents, born in 1950. A decade ago, women continued to live longer than men, but the decline of dangerous male manual work meant that the gap between women and men was closing.

East Anglia by-election news

Stephen McNair
Will the Elections Bill erode our rights?

In September there were by-elections for five Local Authority seats in East Anglia.  The Greens took two seats from Conservatives, but the Conservatives recovered two seats (from an Independent and a Liberal Democrat) and held the fifth. 

By-election news in the East

Stephen McNair
Polling station sign

In most months there are by-elections for Local Councils, following resignations and deaths. This table lists the five taking place in September, showing the date of the by-election; the number of seats being contested; the parties standing (“Four Parties” means Con, Lab, LibDem and Green); and the percentage vote for the parties which achieved 20% last time the seat was contested.

Will Labour support fair votes at last?

Stephen McNair
Voting at Labour Party Conference

At the end of September the Labour Party will gather in Brighton for its first face to face conference in two years. Eighteen months after they elected Keir Starmer as leader, he will have his first chance to address the membership in person. This year the conference will have the largest ever number of motions on a single subject — proportional representation (PR). So it is likely to be debated. In the last year, over half of all constituency parties have passed motions in favour of electoral reform, and 144 have submitted motions calling for conference to adopt it in principle as party policy.

Where are the workers to come from?

Stephen McNair
Where are the workers to come from?

The British labour market is going through a massive upheaval. The UK’s population has shrunk for the first time for decades. Covid has led to large numbers of people working in new ways. Many sectors are reporting shortages of labour. The government hopes that the gaps will be filled by British workers. But is this possible?

Should we scrap the triple lock on pensions?

Stephen McNair
Time to scrap the triple lock on pensions

As we emerge from the Covid lockdown, the government faces a difficult decision on whether to scrap the triple lock on state pensions. Millions of pensioners stand to gain an eight percent pay rise, at a time when Universal Credit is to be reduced and NHS staff are being offered three percent.