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F Ofsted — the Grade its Reports Merit

21 October 2004

Ofsted is a governmental body set up by the 1992 Education Act whose full name is the ‘Office for Standards in Education’. Its original remit was to inspect and report on the quality of all state schools. If, based on an inspection, Ofsted judged the quality of educational provision of a school to be unsatisfactory,… [Read More]

Should Gambling be Regulated?

20 October 2004

An unusual coalition against reform of the gambling law has emerged. The Daily Mail is running a campaign but will not have expected support from Polly Toynbee in today’s Guardian. The main thrust of her argument was that deregulation will increase addiction. She also reminds her readers of the experience of Atlantic City in the… [Read More]

The Tomlinson report is a distraction

19 October 2004

The Tomlinson report into the education of 14-19 year-olds is a missed opportunity. By common consent our system, supposedly designed to ensure that rich and poor alike receive a good education, fails many of our children. About 5% reach the end of compulsory schooling with no formal qualifications. Only 42% of 16 year-olds achieve a… [Read More]

Boris Johnson should not have apologised

18 October 2004

The editor of the Spectator, Boris Johnson, should not have apologised for the leading article in last week’s issue. Instead, he should have offered someone from Liverpool equal space to reply. The Spectator leader drew attention to legitimate concerns. It may be that, in the light of criticism, the writer would want to amend or… [Read More]

Gangsta Rap and the Public Good

14 October 2004

As a rule, Afro-American rap artists are not a group noted for the profundity of their political insight. The wording used by one in an advertisement for an employee reveals him as something of an exception. Today’s London Times reports Sean “P Diddy” Combs as having advertised for a new butler by declaring himself looking… [Read More]

The moral authority of the United Nations

13 October 2004

There has been a lot of attention this week to the report of the Iraqi Survey Group, which confirmed that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. However, the far more important revelation is that United Nations sanctions were being circumvented and that voting in the Security Council by France, Russia and China was distorted… [Read More]

Work Until You Drop

12 October 2004

The independent commission, chaired by Adair Turner, has warned of the need for pension reform. Some groups are demanding an increase in the basic pension at the taxpayer’s expense, others an end to means testing, and a few are calling for raising the pension age. A basic safety net is a necessity, but if we… [Read More]

British Crime Survey under-estimates crime

11 October 2004

According to a report on the Today programme and a report in the Observer on 3 October, the Government is wrong to attach so much weight to the British Crime Survey (BCS), which substantially under-estimates crime. The report is by a new think tank, the Crime and Society Foundation, established by Kings College London. It… [Read More]

Inventing racism where none exists

8 October 2004

Ethnic minorities suffer from ‘passive apartheid’ in rural Britain, according to Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality. Speaking on the Today programme, he pointed out that in the South West region of England ethnic minorities were found in the ratio ‘one in 85’, whereas in the UK as a whole the ratio… [Read More]


7 October 2004

In an interview with Le Metro today French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin says, “for the first time, Europe has a shared Constitution. This pact is the point of no return. Europe is becoming an irreversible project, irrevocable after the ratification of this treaty”. For some other revealing insights into the real motives of some of… [Read More]

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