The ERT Symphony Orchestra and chorus, all sacked overnight, continue to perform in protest.
Hat tip to J and J
Hat tip to J and J
If Britain had a liberal constitution, or any kind of constitution, the proposals would be seen for what they are: an assault on fundamental rights that shifts power from the individual to the state.FitzGibbon highlights some of the proposed changes. Rather than bringing "price competition into the criminal legal aid market," they are proposing a bidding process for local monopolies that deprive clients of any choice.
There are currently about 1600 solicitors’ firms in England and Wales accredited by the government to do legal aid work. That number will drop to 400, each of which will be assigned a geographical area; big firms will be allowed to bid for multiple contracts. Contracts will be awarded to the lowest bidder, with the ceiling for bids set at 17.5 per cent below current rates. The winners will be allocated all the work, or a guaranteed proportion of it, in their area. A client will not be able to choose who represents him, but Grayling doesn’t think this matters since ‘I don’t believe that most people who find themselves in our criminal justice system are great connoisseurs of legal skills.’ Fees will be paid per case (at the moment lawyers are paid according to how long they spend on a particular case), making it financially unviable to spend the necessary time to prepare more complicated cases properly. The sensible thing would be to increase turnover by advising a rapid guilty plea.It is a recipe for miscarriages of justice.
I remember where I was when “relevance” entered the education debate. I remember where I was standing, what window I was looking out of, what bleak landscape I surveyed. That it would come to no good – that it demeaned those it pretended to help by assuming limits to their curiosity; that it denied those it offered to empower, cutting off their access to “irrelevant” intellectual pleasure and enlightenment; that it was in every essential philistine in that it narrowed the definition of learning to the chance precincts of an individual’s class or upbringing – I was certain. The education system I benefited from assumed an equality of eagerness for knowledge, and an equality of right to acquire it. “Relevance”, as the Children’s Laureate’s urgency to promote a lost literacy proves, has benefited no one.The problem with the debate is that it confuses definitions of what is meant by 'relevance'. Jacobson assumes that 'relevance' is a process of exclusion. It labels and limits. Students are ghettoised by gender, ethnicity and class, being taught only what is deemed appropriate to them. Utterly patronising, it reflects the world of the eleven plus exam where children were divided and segregated according to supposed aptitudes and their life chances determined by external authorities. They are denied the deep pleasures of education that the elite take for granted. I have every sympathy with his revulsion. Only this is not what it means.
I certainly see the argument for schoolchildren to be introduced early to the great issues that bear on racism – the Holocaust and slavery, for example – but that’s not because of the special relevance they have for Jews and black people. It’s because knowing about them matters to everyone.Precisely. Inclusion matters to us all.
The answer to a history course that doesn’t interest children is not more digestible history; it’s better history teaching.This is a cop out. Clearly curriculum plays a role in deciding whether someone enjoys something or not. There are bits of history that leave me completely cold, no one could interest me in them. Yet there are others that have caught me by surprise and turned into enthusiasms. There will always be students who are not interested in history. That is because they are not interested in history. Learning cannot be forced. But it is a lot more likely to happen if a student thinks that there is some point to it. And there is always the chance that some can be enticed in if the door is open and inviting. The idea of 'relevance' is simply to make that door open a little wider.
"Universities became more and more dominated by a management culture which became less and less tolerant of eccentric behaviour. It became puritanical in a way. I was quite relieved to leave the university [Lodge retired from teaching at Birmingham University in 1987] … My impression is that now it's not so much fun."It has to be said that some of the behaviour that was tolerated, should never have been. It was rank bad practice. But he is right that the fun has gone. Maybe I am looking back at fond memories of my younger self, but if Universities were fun adult education was a riot. It was very serious, but also sociable, inclusive and emotionally engaging. It was a heady mix of a personal lifeline and thrilling new opportunity. And some of my students certainly knew how to party.
Market confidence was not restored, the banking system lost 30 percent of its deposits, and the economy encountered a much deeper-than-expected recession with exceptionally high unemployment. Public debt remained too high and eventually had to be restructured, with collateral damage for bank balance sheets that were also weakened by the recession. Competitiveness improved somewhat on the back of falling wages, but structural reforms stalled and productivity gains proved elusive.The human and political cost? Can't find much about that. But maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of an acknowledgement that there needs to be a policy change. Though how long this may take ...
Councillor Peter Gruen, the Labour member responsible for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said it would cost the council more to evict tenants and rehouse them than it would to simply accept that many could not pay for the underoccupation charge.There is a more general point to be made here. People do not always obey orders. Often they find ways round them. Disobedience to authority is just as human a characteristic as obedience. For that we should be grateful. It can save lives.
He said: "The idea of taxing poor people for bedroom tax is perverse. The charges we incur in legal fees chasing up the increasing rent arrears from the last two months is farcical. It costs the courts far more money to evict people."
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the transition to a low fertility regime, deemed necessary by almost all environmentalists, requires substantial modernization, particularly in the socio-cultural realm. Television depresses fertility because many of its offerings provide a model of middle class families successfully grappling with the transition from tradition to modernity, helped by the fact that they have few children to support.It appears that modernity offers the solution to the problems of modernity. We may not be doomed after all – unless the lobbyists win that is.
A simple test for substance in political statements is whether anyone sane would disagree. If a politician declares it his aim to make the people of Britain healthy, wealthy and wise he tells you nothing useful... In a healthy democracy ... political discussion would focus on the difficult and controversial issues where reasonable people disagree.This rhetorical device is used throughout the speech. You are so busy applauding the sentiment, you forget that the debate is not about whether English Language teaching should be improved, it is about whether, for example, a "screening check at age six" is the right way to go about it. He dodges the debate on specific policies by begging the question, assuming that his are the only answers to the issues he raises. Rhetoric on uncontentious ends suppresses debate on contentious means.
The assumption lying behind the letter was that the level of aspiration embodied in the current curriculum, its associated teaching methods and our national examinations was already high enough.The letter says nothing of the sort. And then he continues:
And I have a different starting premise from those 100 academics who are so heavily invested in the regime of low expectations and narrow horizons which they have created.Having shown what thoroughly bad people they are, he does not need to inconvenience himself with the fact that, rightly or wrongly, they are concerned that his policies could damage aspiration, lower achievements and narrow horizons. He is not dealing with what his critics are actually saying, but the motives that he has invented for them.
Members of a North Devon WI were left embarrassed after a number of them had dressed up as pirates for a talk by a former sea captain who has been held hostage by Somali pirates for several weeks...
"There he was delivering this harrowing story about how he was held hostage and feared for his life, and we were all sitting there dressed as Captain Hook".