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Why the BBC’s Charter Should not be Renewed

27 October 2004

‘Accurate, impartial and independent journalism is the principal way we support informed citizenship. Our journalism and editorial values are the cornerstone of the BBC’s remit and constitute a core rationale for public funding.’ So runs a statement on the opening page of the introduction to a submission by the BBC on behalf of the renewal… [Read More]

Losing Control of Our Borders

26 October 2004

David Blunkett has admitted that he intends to give up Britain’s ability to veto EU policies on immigration and asylum. He claims that we will not have to accept any policies we do not like, but the EU has never operated that way. The European Court of Justice will impose policies agreed by a majority… [Read More]

ASBOs no substitute for effective policing

22 October 2004

Crime and anti-social behaviour are amongst the most serious problems we face. Quite apart from the financial costs of vandalism and rowydism, the inability of the forces of law and order to guarantee to law-abiding citizens the right to go about their business without let or hindrance is blighting thousands of lives. If people are… [Read More]

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]

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