Archive for Op-eds

Judging Jimmy Savile

2 November 2012 ,
OK, I know due legal process and all that is important. Innocent until proven guilty and all that. But sometimes you don’t have to wait until the police and legal systems have done their stuff to have a firm view. And when you look at all the evidence the media has been reporting, it’s pretty [...]
Labour Citizen leaflet June 1929

How leaflets used to look: Labour’s Citizen leaflet from 1929

Today’s leaflet in my series on old election leaflets is a centrally produced Labour party 4-pager from 1929. As with the Conservative leaflet from 1931 which I previously featured, the design may be very different from good modern leaflets, but the content has some very familiar overtones.

Jimmy Savile: can we have the police crisis now, please?

27 October 2012 ,
The BBC is rightly in crisis over its handling of the Jimmy Savile case. But the mix of some journalists loving taking pot-shots at the BBC and the BBC’s own love of reporting itself (did you see the Newsnight piece on the Panorama episode about the Newsnight story?) means the BBC’s troubles has been over-shadowing [...]

There should be far more rebellions like the one yesterday

23 October 2012 , , ,
A brief footnote to Stephen’s piece yesterday Government suffers defeat in Lords over ‘new poll tax’ changes to council tax benefits. Note what the rebellion was over: An independent review of the changes to be carried out within three years of them being introduced. Yup, that shocking idea that after a new policy is introduced, we [...]
Ed Miliband

An ironic gift to Miliband from some of his opponents

20 October 2012 ,
Amongst the political obstacles between Ed Miliband and No. 10 Downing Street are a closely entwined pair related to deficits: how much control over him is wielded by the trade union bosses* and does he have a credible alternative to the government’s economic policies? Labour has often been very coy about quite what it would cut and [...]

The pointlessness of political opinion polls

19 October 2012 , ,
Leo Barasi’s piece over on Liberal Conspiracy raises an interesting point about the frequency of political opinion polling in the UK. We now have far more polls than before giving national voting intention figures (this Parliament so far: 878, 2001-5 312 in total, 1987-92 548 in total – to give some examples). But do we have [...]

The European Union deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

Something I wrote back last autumn is rather applicable to my views of the Nobel Peace Prize going to the European Union: Sat on a shelf a few metres away from me is a box containing the various military medals won by my relatives over previous generations. The medals criss-cross Europe, coming from different countries, [...]

At this rate, I’m going to be launching the Save Andrew Mitchell Fan Club

13 October 2012 , ,
The Andrew Mitchell Gate-Gate story started off simply enough: politician does stupid thing, bungles apology and faces heavy pressure to quit. Add to that what I’ve heard from people who have worked with him, and it all seemed a straight forward story of a person with an unpleasant streak getting found out. But you know [...]

Are you a member of Unlock Democracy? Please help improve it

12 October 2012 ,
In the spring and summer I blogged about how underwhelmed I was by the exceptionally tight campaigning restrictions for Unlock Democracy’s internal elections which blocked contact between candidates and voters (the irony given the organisation’s name!), leaving just a fairly uninformative booklet to guide my votes: Now having the ballot mailing for the council and for [...]
Nursery premium graph

A graph, a dip, a policy: why the nursery premium is so important

2 October 2012 , , ,
Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton saw the a motion passed calling for the party to investigate the practicalities of introducing a ‘nursery premium’. At first glance this sounds like an obvious extension of the party’s existing pupil premium policy. Delving more closely into the data, however, shows that it is more than simply an obvious [...]