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Understanding David Blunkett

7 December 2004

Sociology until the nineteen sixties was greatly interested in “understanding” how people behaved socially. “Understanding”, though he retained much of its ordinary meaning, was defined with painstaking exactness by Max Weber. One of his basic ideas was the common-sense one, that people can’t act on the basis of what all the facts of the situation… [Read More]


Personal family conduct and public family policy

6 December 2004

‘Creating stronger families’ was an explicit objective of the Home Secretary’s recent Five-Year Plan. ‘Families’ were allegedly placed ‘at the heart’ of his policy to combat crime. (Confident Communities, Cm 6287, July 2004.) In the document, however, the word ‘family’ appears only when it means any household arrangement whatsoever. ‘A family’, to the Home Secretary… [Read More]


Window on the BBC’s World

I rarely listen to Radio 5, but I happened to turn it on just before midnight last Saturday (4 December) to see if I could catch the score for the Sunderland v West Ham game. The announcer was just letting people know what the next discussion would be. His exact words were: “Does anybody in… [Read More]


Blunkett and the Milkman Clause

The most important effect of the Blunkett affair could well be the hitherto most neglected, namely, the astonishing twist he has given to the old legal question, Who is a child’s father? From at least as far back as the twelfth century the legal rule has been that if a mother of the child is… [Read More]


David Blunkett and the Family

David Blunkett is daily exhibiting a startling obtuseness about a distinction that lies at the heart of government–that between the public and the private. It is this, more than anything else, that has exposed his incapacity as a senior politician at the heart of national affairs, whatever his past achievements or present merits. Religion and… [Read More]


Why Life in Brown’s Britain is Destined to Become Still Harder

3 December 2004

Despite all the manifold problems of rising levels of violent crime to have beset Britain since 1997, life has not been too bad for the vast majority of its citizens. In many ways, the period of sustained growth and rising living standards most of them have enjoyed was the legacy of sound public finance that… [Read More]


How Much Faith Should We Have in Faith Schools?

2 December 2004

Today’s papers contain the results of tests in English and mathematics carried out last summer on 11 years olds in England’s primary schools. They establish beyond doubt that, on the whole, faith schools achieve much better results than so-called ‘community’ schools which have no denominational affiliation and at which religious education and collective acts of… [Read More]


Should David Blunkett be Given an ASBO?

30 November 2004

It looks as if David Blunkett has used the trappings of power to impress a female he was attracted to. He admits giving her two first class rail tickets at the taxpayer’s expense and there is little doubt that his official chauffeur-driven car (along with official papers) has been used to give Mrs Quinn lifts… [Read More]


Patriotism and History

29 November 2004

It’s well worth reading a piece by Amanda Craig in the Sunday Times in which she criticises the disjointed teaching of history that is now typical of our schools, public and private. Children are taught a bit about the life of the medieval peasant, before skipping to a module on Hitler’s Germany or life in… [Read More]


Onward Christian Soldiers…

26 November 2004

Many among Europe’s intellectual and political elite are atheists and would welcome Europe becoming entirely secular. Their attitude towards religion was recently well illustrated by the recent decision of the European Parliament to reject the entire team of Commissioners proposed by the incumbent President of the Commission than accept as one someone who had had… [Read More]


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