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The Blog

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]

Statistical Blunders and Manipulations

Something has gone badly wrong with the Home Office statistical service. Not all that long ago you could place reasonable reliance on official statistics. Today a mixture of bungling and deceit seem to be the rule. I recently sent an email to the Home Office about the prison statistics asking them to clarify a figure… [Read More]

Less than Full Marks for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools

6 October 2004

In a speech made yesterday to a secondary school in County Durham, Mr David Bell, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools for England and Wales, laid out his vision of what purposes our schools should serve in today’s ever more globalised world. According to Mr Bell, they should seek to accomplish two main purposes. The… [Read More]

New poll on Europe

5 October 2004

A new poll carried out by ICM for the New Frontiers Foundation finds strong support for the idea of taking back power over trade, employment, and civil rights, and for creation of a new global trade and defence alliance. The full findings and an analysis are available at this link. It’s well worth a look.

What the Treasury can learn from the Private Health Insurance Companies

4 October 2004

Today’s Times carries a report that a private health insurance company, PruHealth, intends to charge a lower premium to customers who maintain a healthy life-style by not smoking, regularly visiting the gym, etc. Surely, the Treasury could and ought to consider offering comparable kinds of rebate in connection with NHS charges? At present the Government… [Read More]

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