OpenDemocracy needs your help

The site is just £50,000 short of its fundraising target.

OpenDemocracy, the digital commons which has hosted groundbreaking campaigns like OurBeeb and OurNHS, and insightful investigations like Cities in Conflict and oDRussia, an examination of the post-Soviet world, is just £50,000 short of its funding target.

The site, like many others in the same sphere, operates as a not-for-profit counter to corporate media, attempting to publish independent, public interest content. But such content is incredibly hard to make sustainably, and the site fell into debt while focusing on expansion over the past two years. As a result, it now needs to raise £250,000 by 31 March, or it will shut:

The aim is to achieve three things: clear our debts, cover current costs, and give the new Editor-in-Chief and his team time to build new funding relationships for 2014 onwards. Our target £250,000 will secure a new firm footing for openDemocracy.

Magnus Nome, openDemocracy's editor in chief, told me:

We offer a space that isn't available any other way, allowing experts and fresh voices from the ground the chance to present high-quality writing and analysis without being bound by the requirements of the corporate media.

It's impossible to get paid for content on the internet, so we depend on those who appreciate what we do and share our belief that it's an important thing. We have now raised £215,000 out of the £250,000 we need, and we believe that shows that others agree with us.

That still leaves another £35,000 to go. Donations can be made on its site, and the educational charity which supports it, openTrust, can accept gift aid on those donations as well.

"The crises of the epoch of market globalisation demand a world view that guards the gains of openness, human rights and democracy against a rising threat of neo-fascism and fundamentalisms," argue the team; openDemocracy is a much-needed organisation, and it can't be allowed to fall underwater now.

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The 5 things the Tories aren't telling you about their manifesto

Turns out the NHS is something you really have to pay for after all. 

When Theresa May launched the Conservative 2017 manifesto, she borrowed the most popular policies from across the political spectrum. Some anti-immigrant rhetoric? Some strong action on rip-off energy firms? The message is clear - you can have it all if you vote Tory.

But can you? The respected thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies has now been through the manifesto with a fine tooth comb, and it turns out there are some things the Tory manifesto just doesn't mention...

1. How budgeting works

They say: "a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade"

What they don't say: The Conservatives don't talk very much about new taxes or spending commitments in the manifesto. But the IFS argues that balancing the budget "would likely require more spending cuts or tax rises even beyond the end of the next parliament."

2. How this isn't the end of austerity

They say: "We will always be guided by what matters to the ordinary, working families of this nation."

What they don't say: The manifesto does not backtrack on existing planned cuts to working-age welfare benefits. According to the IFS, these cuts will "reduce the incomes of the lowest income working age households significantly – and by more than the cuts seen since 2010".

3. Why some policies don't make a difference

They say: "The Triple Lock has worked: it is now time to set pensions on an even course."

What they don't say: The argument behind scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions is that it provides an unneccessarily generous subsidy to pensioners (including superbly wealthy ones) at the expense of the taxpayer.

However, the IFS found that the Conservatives' proposed solution - a "double lock" which rises with earnings or inflation - will cost the taxpayer just as much over the coming Parliament. After all, Brexit has caused a drop in the value of sterling, which is now causing price inflation...

4. That healthcare can't be done cheap

They say: "The next Conservative government will give the NHS the resources it needs."

What they don't say: The £8bn more promised for the NHS over the next five years is a continuation of underinvestment in the NHS. The IFS says: "Conservative plans for NHS spending look very tight indeed and may well be undeliverable."

5. Cutting immigration costs us

They say: "We will therefore establish an immigration policy that allows us to reduce and control the number of people who come to Britain from the European Union, while still allowing us to attract the skilled workers our economy needs." 

What they don't say: The Office for Budget Responsibility has already calculated that lower immigration as a result of the Brexit vote could reduce tax revenues by £6bn a year in four years' time. The IFS calculates that getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands, as the Tories pledge, could double that loss.

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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