Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A Day At The M4C National Assembly

Look at that photo. Just a group of people with common purpose.

Keir attended an event that took him way back yesterday.

Virally promoted on Twitter and driven by personal relationships, not press releases, David Miliband's Movement for Change National Assembly was probably a very new experience for many of the 1,000 people who had gathered. Keir's recent experience of political meetings and gatherings has been far from inspiring. Dull branch meetings in smokey rooms aren't what people join for, yet that's often what we get.

But the National Assembly was so far removed from those meetings. It showed that the people have the ability to turn those meetings on their head and turn politics on its head. The Assembly was by the people in it and for the people in it. It was in their experience; there were unscripted outbreaks of Zimbabwean song and dance, leaders of the allegedly conservative Pakistani community on their feet shouting and hollering, beach balls, flags and technical glitches that caused the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland to do a small dance followed by a few lines from a popular song. It was fun and it had some small mistakes; that is in people's experience. Passing resolutions and minutes is not. It was also in their experience in other, more serious ways. Testimonies from our Labour people who are going to be affected by the Conservative cuts made the Assembly what it was: moving, powerful, important and a stimulus for continuous action.

"The coalition's cuts could kill me" began one of our people. It was no exaggeration. The gentleman's story could not fail to resonate with any person in the room. And then the story of the young carer: her life, changed at the age of 9 when she had to begin caring for her mother and siblings, reminded the people why they were there and why they are Labour. The Tory cuts to the organisation that helped her through her life and into University will mean people like her will not be given the chance to succeed; all of them, our people.

Finally, the white, working class man with a white, working class family. Some suggest we lost our way and stopped helping this family. That argument is hard to believe after hearing the story of how the NHS helped him provide for his young disabled son. Shoes to help his son walk, shoes that would have cost £100, free on the NHS. "I don't want the world", he continued, explaining that all he wants is the continued chance for his family to live a dignified life.

And at no point in the personal testimony was there the tone of the victim. Dignity and determination flowed from the testimony-givers, who were not professional speakers, as they told their story to the thousand gathered.

So when David Miliband got up to speak the atmosphere, above all other things, was one of solidarity. Keir's fond of a good speech: Obama in the rain, Gordon against the world on May 3rd , JFK's "we all breathe the same air", Dr. King telling the people not to let dogs or water hoses turn them around and Malcolm X scaring the life out of the Establishment all rank among the favourites. Let's be frank: as good as David Miliband is, this was not going to be an MLK speech. But Mr. Miliband did not lecture, he did not preach and he did not patronise. He spoke to each person in the crowd. Of course he was the main event and of course he seemingly has hero status with many people, but he was part of the Assembly like anyone else. He spoke with them, was angry about the same things they were angry about and determined in the same way they were.

The speech was superb. Sadly, Peter Mandelson, as much as Keir respects him, has hijacked the headlines. It is all getting a bit tiring now. So the people's Assembly was not as high on the news agenda. But ask the 1,000 people there what the biggest event that day was and you'd get a different perspective. Ultimately, that is all that matters: the people.

Kudos to Stella Creasy and Willie Bain too. A nice presentation about the birth of our party with lots of pictures of Keir. Stella is clearly going to be a crucial member of the parliamentary party for many years. She spoke on stage about real things in the community that matter to people's everyday lives and also managed to recruit, on stage, a 15-year-old Walthamstow pupil to the party. Adding to the Walthamstow connection was a stunning song and performance from a 14-year-old girl who had seen the effects of violent crime in her community. You can follow her on twitter @mizzcamara. I'd recommend you do; she will be a big deal.

And Jim Murphy...what a guy. Keir can confidently say that he has never seen a Shadow Cabinet member do a little jig and sing in front of 1,000 people.

What's important now is that Labour members make the right choice. David Miliband is the only man who will win us an election. Elect any other candidate and we face a decade in Opposition whilst the Conservatives destroy the lives of the pensioners, the young carers and the working class families: our people.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Morning Star Affirms Keir's Opinion


Good to see The Morning Star has caught up with Keir's sentiments from a few days ago in today's paper.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.



A Small Note On The Chilean Miners

While we fret about the actions of our government, Keir wants to remind those that care to read this little piece of internet that we must also not forget the plight of workers around the world. Keir was an internationalist. So for those who breathe the values that Keir founded our party on, it's distressing to hear of the Chilean mining accident.

A pre-teen Keir got trapped down a mine. His family feared him dead when he didn't come out with the other miners after an accident had left them stuck for some time. It turned out he had merely fallen asleep and was brought to safety by a co-worker once people realised he was down there. A slightly comical anecdote, but a despairingly serious incident. From these incidents, Keir was sparked to life. The injustice he saw and experienced moved him to fight, to agitate, to "stir up divine discontent" and to act: our movement was born.

If the stories are true, there is every chance the men stuck in the Copiapo mine could die deep underground. The psychological effects even if they don't die could be terrible. If these men come out alive and well, it will be a testament to the emergency services there as well as the advancement of nourishment technology.

Keir hopes they all see the light of day again like he did all those years ago. But let us not allow our political situation to blind us from the plight of these workers.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

More Than A "Call"

This sounds like it will be epic.

Much more than a "call for change", whatever that is.

Keir knows a big movement event when he sees one. Could this be David Miliband's Stratford Town Hall moment?



Sunday, 22 August 2010

Iain Dale: Twat.

So this is why Iain Dale's blogposts often give false information...

You've got to look at the page Iain. You silly little minstrel.

Evidence of this inability to represent information effectively came in a recent blogpost regarding David Miliband's campaign literature.

The title of the minstrel's post is "David Milibrother Says "Ladies! Tidy Your House".

He then posts a section from David Miliband's guide to holding an effective house meeting. For those of us who know where to look when reading, we can tell that it says,

"Get in from work, give the place a quick vacuum and general tidy."

At no point in the excerpt from the house meeting guide is any reference made to gender. Indeed, at no point throughout the whole document is any reference made to gender.

But of course, the way of the right-wing, working-class-mocking minstrel is not to use actual quotes when trying to make a story out of something. It's just to be a total and utter prick.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Continuity Myth


Something's been bugging Keir recently in this arduous Labour leadership race. It is partly due to the fact that the contest hasn't been front page news what with a World Cup and a country having it's head resting uncomfortably on the spending guillotine. The fact is, this Labour leadership campaign hasn't hit the news as heavily as we may have hoped. And this has lead some of the coverage to be lazy and presumptuous. The result of this has been that David Miliband, Keir's chosen candidate, has been portrayed as a "Blairite", continuity candidate. In much of the coverage, Ed Miliband is being presented as the new man for change and renewal. And some are believing it.

Frankly, that's nonsense.

Ed Miliband is a good guy. Sure he let us down a bit at Copenhagen after so much build-up and blamed it on others, but he tried his best. However, let's be clear, he does not represent renewal and change as much as his brother. For all Ed's talk about strengthening the grassroots of the party and engaging new members and people as a whole, he hasn't actually done anything to show his commitment to that. David has.

The Movement for Change, as Keir has previously pointed out, is not just words. Whilst Ed talks, David acts. People throughout the country are being trained to effectively organise within their communities and strengthen the movement as a whole. This is unprecedented for someone who is still merely a leadership candidate to be investing in. If David Miliband was already Labour leader and he'd invested money in something like the Movement for Change, we'd say "great". That he is doing it whilst only a candidate shows this man's love for the party and his dedication to strengthening the movement.

And then onto policies. One thing that really grates on Keir is Ed Miliband's relationship with the living wage. Can we all be clear about something: the living wage is NOT Ed Miliband's idea and not his campaign. London Citizens began this campaign. Boris Johnson and HSBC, among others, adopted the living wage before Ed started piping up about it. And all of the Labour leaders support the spread of the living wage, not just Ed. Yes, that means David too. The only difference is that David isn't trying to pass it off as his own.

But there's more to show that David is anything but "continuity".

Just a few weeks ago, he and Tessa Jowell led the call to make the BBC a co-operative, making it more democratic and more accountable to the public. That is: "make it accountable to the public". Not "make the public run it", for those of you who were thinking "isn't that the Big Society?"

So that's one progressive policy. Want more? Gay marriage. At the end of July, David came out (excuse the pun) in support of full gay marriage. Continuity? Keir thinks not.

And what about the mansion tax? David has supported a 1% tax on homes worth £2m. Left Foot Forward agreed that this is a progressive tax. And, they add, it has the support of voters.

It doesn't stop there: a High Pay Commission and employee representation on the pay committees at top firms. This would, as David himself said, put a check on corporate excesses. Will Straw seemed to like that one.

David also wants to see the party move forward in democratic and progressive terms. Introducing a leadership academy for BAME community members is another of David's policies. Our party needs to continue it's move towards a much more representative membership; in particular the parliamentary party. Investing in this sort of idea will go a long way to aid that. In addition, David's commitment to an elected party chair is one of the main reason's that Keir was convinced to support him. This is an absolute "must-do" policy.

Don't believe the myth. David Miliband is not continuity, not "Blairite". He and his policies are progressive, electable and bold. That's what we need.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ben's All Lonely

Ben needs some company down south.

With that in mind, Keir has been looking into the electoral situation in the South West of England. Other observers have been correct to point out that Labour lost a key demographic in C2 and DE. Liam Byrne MP was the quickest off the mark in a Progress publication shortly after the election. As Byrne pointed out, losing 20% of the C2 vote share is not just a horrible statisticians figure; it's simply wrong. These are the people that our party was formed to serve yet we clearly let them down. Byrne's analysis is excellent and well worth a read. It was watered down recently by Ed Miliband in his essay for the Fabians. He seemed to think he'd stumbled across a revelation but Byrne had already made the case months earlier. Not surprising that Ed's copying and plagiarising though, what with his constant trumpeting of the Living Wage campaign without reference to the fact that it was a campaign started and run by London Citizens. Keir learnt how to reference sources in secondary school.

Anyway, whilst it's correct to point out these issues of our vote share dropping amongst C2s, it's also striking how we got annihilated in the South. This has been talked about by John Denham MP in the weeks proceeding the election. Keir has been particularly interested in this regional divide.

The South-West had 55 seats at this General Election: 5 Labour MPs were returned. The electorate there returned 35 Conservative MPs and 15 LibDem MPs. The biggest vote share that Labour got was 38.6%; and that was in a seat we didn't even win. Keir thinks we can come away with at least 16 at the next election. Optimistic? Maybe not as much as it sounds.

On the 5th May, voting intention polls showed 29% of people were going to vote Liberal Democrat and they ended up with a 23% share of the popular vote on polling day. The latest voting intention polling from YouGov gives them a 13% vote share. Going on their poll swing, that's a 16% drop in support. Take 16% off of their national vote share and you are left with 7%.

Seven per cent.

I know that's not entirely mathematically correct. But all the same, the drop is very big.

And what of Labour? Voting intention polls on May 5th gave us 29% of the vote share and that was indeed accurate on polling day. YouGov at the moment have Labour with 38% of the vote share.

Keir is often suspicious of using national swing and applying it to seats and/or regions but is annoyed when it often translates quite accurately. So let's bite the bullet and use it here.

In Stroud, the Tories won with 40.84% to Labour's 38.6%. The LibDems polled 15.45%. A mere 3% swing from the LibDems to Labour would secure this seat. But the national swing away from the LibDems at the moment is that whopping 16% and the swing towards Labour is at 9%. So that is a must-win seat.

Even further down the scale, we can convert seats. Let's take a trip to Somerset North East. The Tories won with 41.27% here ahead of Labour on 31.67%. The LibDems polled 22.33%. If we can convert 10% of that LibDem share to Labour, we have another seat. And that's before accounting for the inevitable decline in Tory popularity that will be seen from 2011 onwards.

Filton & Bradley Stoke: Tories 40.76%, Labour 26.44%, LibDems 25.25%. Swingy, swingy, swingy.

Swindon South: Tories 41.78%, Labour 34.36%, LibDems 17.63%. LAB GAIN.

And lest we forget the non-voters in these constituencies. A GOTV drive would open up the possibility of even more votes to topple the incumbents. Although turnout was generally good.

Of course, it's not so simple as to be able to just rely on discourse. Labour and our new leader need to make sure we appeal to the people of the region.

Aeronautical industries have grown in Bristol. Labour needs to recognise this. We need policies, similar to the ones in our manifesto, that will encourage growth in these areas. One thing that Keir believes in is re-embracing the vocational ethos of the old polytechnic. This would stimulate these sorts of manufacturing businesses as people won't be coming out of University with solely academic degrees or degrees in things like Business Studies. Instead, they will be able to take targeted, vocational courses that will translate into employment in these sectors that have high potential for growth.

Tourism in places such as Somerset and, more so, Cornwall also need stimulation from the government. Cornwall is way out of our reach when you look at the figures. In St. Ives we got 8.17% and in St. Austell & Newquay we got 7.17%. Dire. These are not places where we have a chance on the face of it. But the Liberal Democrats got just over 42% in both of these seats. Of course, we'd need more than the current national swing to topple them, but the numbers of people that they have betrayed from those constituencies by relinquishing values for power must be huge.

In addition, Labour has a proud tradition of devolution in the last 13 years. It is time to expand on that. An elected Cornish Assembly? Even a South West Assembly? Keir can think of crazier things. Well, you don't need to think of them really; Gideon, IDS and Gove just talk about them all the time.

There is the real possibility to capture the South West. Labour must capitalise.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Keir Makes Reasoned Decision

Keir has decided to remove the post in response to Iain Dale's nasty, mocking attack on the working class.

It became apparent that, rather than reading the context and understanding why the post was written, people were jumping to the conclusion that Keir actually thought the things that were in the letter from the fictitious MP.

It is a shame that people cared not to read the context. It is also a shame that those who decided to criticise Keir for "homophobia" having not understood the post did not dish out the same criticism to Iain Dale for his blogpost which sparked the response.

Iain Dale's disgusting post that mocked the poor and vulnerable was something that he actually did find funny. Keir did not find the response letter funny; it was used to highlight the despicable nature of Dale's blog. It was deliberately absurd to highlight a point.

What Keir would suggest is that those who jumped to criticise his post examine their own attitude toward the poor. What is more of a disgrace than the criticism leveled at Keir is the lack of similar criticism directed towards Iain Dale; a man who's views on society must be killed off by any means necessary. His elitist ideology, and that of others, is the sort of thing that sparked Keir to enter the blogosphere.

The sooner that ideology leaves this country and this planet, the better.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The History Of All Hitherto Existing Society...

These 7 words have resonated with Labourites for decades. And the 6 words that follow them send the blood pumping through the left-winger's veins.

It was in 1848 that Marx and Engels opened the first chapter of the Communist Manifesto, Bourgeois and Proletarians, with that explicit, direct and assured phrase. A phrase that, when heard, makes total sense. You almost needn't read the rest of that book:

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles"

It can sound old-fashioned. When we read the history books, it's clear that class struggle did exist, but it's something we look back on. We see photos of the upper classes waltzing the streets and then images of the poor in the workhouses. And then we think of the 1980's; a time where class struggle was rife and Thatcher's political war with the unions divided the nation.

But that was history.

Centrists and centre-right folk will say class no longer matters. And some Labour people may have been inclined to agree as support for the poor has grown. Even though the gap between rich and poor has got bigger in this country, that bottom, basic level of support has undoubtedly got more substantial and humane.

But today, for those who were in any doubt that class mattered in 2010, David Cameron showed that the Conservative Party will always be a party that favours its own class over the working class. The Prime Ministers topic for today's PM Direct showed that class struggle is right back on the agenda.

Cameron has attacked benefit fraud which, alone, is right. People who wrongfully claim welfare should be punished, of course. Cameron said,

"There are some people who are claiming welfare who are not entitled to it and that is just wrong and that should stop."

Again: totally right. So what's the problem?

Firstly, I have a problem with this £5.2 billion figure being used. Because the first disgusting thing about Cameron's slight on the working class today was how he kept banding around the £5.2 billion figure that is lost through "benefit fraud". Read the small print (or just read anything other than the headline) and you'll see that only £1 billion of that is fraud. Indeed, over £3 billion is down to official error, yet that is being grouped into this £5.2 billion figure and referred to as "benefit fraud".

Secondly, and more importantly, why isn't Cameron speaking about something that costs this country a lot more money than benefit fraud? Tax evasion, white-collar fraud, costs the country over £15 billion a year compared to benefit fraud which costs us just over £1 billion. If a PM Direct session was completely dedicated to benefit fraud, surely Cameron should be dedicating another session to an issue that is costing fifteen times more than benefit fraud?

Of course, he won't be. Partly because it won't serve to please The Sun and the Daily Mail who get lustful thoughts when they hear Government officials criticising benefit fraud. And partly because the people who evade tax are those who can afford the accountant to fiddle their accounts. They are the upper middle classes; the business elite. They are the people the Tories rely on for votes, money and champagne receptions. They are the non-dom peers and the ginger Capital Gains Tax-dodgers in the Treasury who think nothing of their crimes but berate the underclass and working class for committing crimes that account for fifteen times less financial loss for this country.

And what else has Cameron's government done? Cut Child Tax credits whilst decreasing Corporation Tax. Increased VAT whilst doing barely anything to reclaim money from the banks that we, the people, saved from collapse. Allowed rich parents with free time to take their children out of schools to set up their own elite schools whilst the run-down, arse-end facilities in the state system are allowed to rot as the Building Schools for the Future programme get's abolished.

These are all attacks on the underclass and attacks on the working class. They are no different to Thatcher's political, ideological attacks on the working class in the 80's. And they are no different to the careless, shameful actions of pre-Welfare State governments that locked the poor up in workhouses. Labour governments have ensured that normality has progressed. But now, as they always do, the Tories are back to try and take society backwards again.

Class struggle, entrenched in the history of all hitherto existing society, is back.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.

Monday, 9 August 2010

In Defence Of FibDems (A Bit)


Keir, like many, disagrees wholeheartedly with the Liberal Democrats decision to ally with the Conservatives to form the new Government. This isn't because they chose the Tories over Labour, but rather that going into coalition with a party so drastically opposed to your own ideology is just plain wrong. On the one hand they were right in a democratic sense to have talks with the biggest party first. However, also in a democratic sense, they were wrong to go into coalition with a party that most of their voters do not identify with in any way.

But in light of today's polls showing LibDem support plummeting, I do think that it's worth pointing out that there is an argument that could stand when trying to justify their decision. It was expressed by Vince Cable recently (in an article that I can't find to link to) and has been quietly uttered by some LibDems from time to time, but not loud enough in my opinion. Part of me can understand that they saw this opportunity to influence policy even to a small degree despite only holding any power because their seats held sway in creating an effective majority. They have wielded a lot more power than they warrant with their seat proportion. Though the much maligned Tory "gerrymandering" will tarnish it, the referendum on AV would never have been a thought to Tories had they won a majority. Nor would some of the economic policies such as the proposed graduate tax. These ideas wouldn't have seen the light of day; even if the Tories may end up throwing them out eventually.

The likes of Simon Hughes and Vince Cable are at least trying. Granted, I don't like Cable and still think he's a perennial turncoat, but he's clearly exerting influence way beyond his party's mandate from the electorate.

My real problem comes with the new Tories: Mr. Anti-Nuclear Chris Huhne, thief David Laws, tax-dodger Danny Alexander and, most of all, Deputy Dawg himself. These men have sold out their principles. Either that, or they were basically Tories all along but just wanted to be different in University and it's just stuck. Huhne has sold out on nuclear, Laws on economics and, well, principles, Alexander on...erm...economics and principles, and Clegg on basically everything.

That said, I'm glad their poll results are diabolical and I do think they have totally sold out. They should have left a Tory minority government to rot. So, basically, this was a pretty pointless post. Just a mini-rant.

Something more productive next time.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Tick...Tock...Tick...Tock



Keir always thought this government would last no more than two years. The signs are ominous/promising, however you want to look at it.

Simon Hughes' open discontent regarding David Cameron's housing proposals today is a meaningful moment. Hughes has always been held in high regard by liberals and progressives, and with good reason. A member of the Beveridge Group, Hughes' views have always been compatible with progressives in this country. And today he showed he isn't afraid to speak out against a government he knows is doing wrong. Unlike his peers Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, Hughes doesn't seem too fussed about power and doesn't want to sell out his principles. Sadly for him, his party did that on his behalf. Even the things he has said regarding the coalition have been sensible and far-removed from the brown-nosing "I thought this was a good idea all along" attitude of Deputy Dawg. Hughes is right, of course. He is right when he says that the point of social housing is to provide security. Being in social housing means, as he said:

"You know you can have affordable housing for the rest of your life and for people in many walks of life – out of work, retired, on low incomes – that's fundamentally important."

That is the view of the progressive. And it is diametrically opposed to the view of the Conservative. The Tories are intransigent on issues like this; especially now during a time when they are being smokescreened by the view that all of these cuts are necessary.

In addition to today's disaffection, Hughes also passed comment on Michael Gove's mental free schools plan last month. "A nonsense" is what Hughes said it would be to spend money on free schools that could have been spent improving existing school buildings. And God knows what Hughes thinks of Theresa May's decision to scrap plans to ban domestic abusers from the homes of the victims. I'd forgive him if he was still sitting at home squinting at his screen, wondering whether he is actually reading that story correctly. I'm still confused now as to what is going on inside May's head.

Coalitions collapse over things like this. We all saw what happened in Holland over disagreements on Afghanistan troop numbers. And Belgium's coalition government collapsed over what I think can be deemed an even smaller matter than the housing issue; although the cultural factors in that particular case were complex. Then there was Romania's coalition catastrophe. In all of these cases, the splits were arguably between parties much more closely aligned by ideology than our current coalition.

Though I admire Hughes' defiance, I will wait for him to start voting against things until passing full judgement. He has a lot of respect throughout the party, as shown with his election to Deputy Leader, and therefore should have a lot more influence over the left-wing MPs than Messrs. Clegg, Cable, Alexander and Laws. If he feels this strongly, he could lead a revolt. But I get the feeling that he also wants to be sensible and try to make this odd coalition work.

Still, the possibility is there. It shows how fragile this Government is and it can collapse. What's the relevance? Labour must be ready to fight on the ground whenever the moment comes. Keir still feels this will be before the end of 2012. We need to begin mobilising now. And as soon as our leader is in place, we need to unite and begin the fight; whoever that leader is. Let's be clear though: that leader has to be the Member for South Shields in order to give us the greatest chance of winning.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Pretty Dry Analysis, But A Link To a Good Study

An interesting study conducted by IPSOS released this week studying the aspirations of young people. Keir's had a read of the data and drawn some conclusions. Bear in mind, it's late at night, so the analysis is hardly fine-tooth-comb stuff.

The results make for an intriguing read though. Firstly because it's generally positive. But there's some data to get the mind motoring.

The study was conducted with 14-16 year olds and it is particularly telling that they said they feel they want more advice on further education from people who had actually experienced it; rather than just their teachers and careers advisors. Combine this with the fact that they were generally optimistic about their futures and options and we could deduce that they may feel differently if they are told some of the negatives that could come from further eduction. Negatives such as an ultimately useless degree combined with massive debts and no jobs to come out to. I don't want to sound like a Scrooge, but maybe more realistic advice would change the outcome of this particular study and the young people themselves may be able to make more informed decisions about their futures. Also factor in that careers advisors can be total morons so it's not surprising the pupils want advice from elsewhere. Keir's careers advisor told him to look into work in leisure centres in South Wales. Great advice considering he's now doing a Masters in Politics and working in Westminster. Good job girls were taking up too much of Keir's thoughts at that age to pay attention to some rubbish careers advisor.

Following on from that digression, a whopping 75% said they wanted to do AS and A Levels after Year 11. But 20% said they wanted to get a job and 23% said they wanted to get an apprenticeship. It is definitely a fair point to say that over the course of the last Government, Labour did not to enough to balance the economy; or rather, it let the financial services grow way faster than other sectors. Manufacturing went up, but financial services sky-rocketed. The fact that 43% said they wanted to go straight into work after Year 11 in some form or another may suggest a changing trend. Though the percentage wanting apprenticeships could be higher. I think it is generally a good thing that 75% want to do AS and A Levels though. The bigger problem comes with the next stage when it comes to deciding whether to go to University or not.

It is somewhat upsetting that the main way the pupils viewed "success" in school is via exam results. But also what struck me was how some pupils saw their societal or biological factors as a barrier to success. 16% of the pupils said they thought their ethnicity would make it more difficult for them to succeed in life, 11% thought their family background would do the same and 11% thought their gender would. This is pretty worrying for children of that age. And even more worrying? 35% thought that having a disability would make it more difficult for them to succeed in life. Work to do there. Not that I have any ideas.

I haven't read through the whys and whatfors; only the actual data. But it's well worth a read.


LetUsFaceTheFuture.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Violins At The Ready

Interesting comments from Shimon Peres regarding the English attitude towards Jews. By "interesting", I mean deeply disturbing and deluded. The Zionist has suggested that England is "deeply pro-Arab"; something that must explain our country's recent actions in Iraq and during the Suez crisis. He also said that England has, "always worked against [Israel]"; something that must explain our role in helping the state of Israel itself to be created.

So, he's bonkers.

What I'm more concerned with is if and how William Hague now reacts to this. Israel's image has been severely damaged by the flotilla attacks and there seems to have been a burden lifted from the shoulders of European nations who were cautious about criticising Israel in the past. Hague now has a duty to defend the reputation of this country in light of these absurd comments from Peres but, from what I can tell, only some unknown MP who vice-chairs the Conservative Friends of Israel has spoken out. Where is Hague? Why hasn't he reacted like the former Foreign Secretary did to the use of fake British passports by Israeli assassins?

Wonder if Peres knew he was saying "English" and not "British"? Shimon does sound a bit Welsh...


LetUsFaceTheFuture.