Academics regularly stand accused of living in ivory towers, cut off from society and content to bumble along in their own little world. Funny, isn't it, how those who make such accusations are also often those who routinely dismiss or simply ignore the findings of academic studies that could and should have a significant impact beyond the research community - something encapsulated in Michael Gove's infamous claim that people have "had enough of experts".
This article on the Transforming Society site celebrates the fact that Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, drew on work published in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice in compiling his condemnatory report on contemporary conditions in the UK. The report garnered some press attention and gave ammunition to opposition MPs.
However, what the piece doesn't mention is the predictably depressing response of the Tories, who quibbled with Alston's findings and criticised his language/tone rather than actually engaging with the substance of the report or giving serious consideration to the recommendations. As long as they remain in government, it's hard to foresee a shift from ideology-based policy making to evidence-based policy making - a shift that we so desperately need.