Right across the political spectrum, there is now broad acceptance that there’s a real and truly worrying recruitment and retention crisis in General Practice. Not only are experienced GPs retiring in droves; new medical graduates are avoiding that branch of the profession like a bout of Ebola. Surgeries are starting to close because of their inability to find replacements for retiring partners, with the inevitable knock-on for surrounding surgeries who have to adopt the dispossessed and abandoned patients. Continue reading →
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6)
The Bible is crammed with generic nuggets of advice about child-rearing. Much of it is self-evident and straightforward – correct them, love them, nurture them (eg 1Thess 2:11f). Some of it is very specific, like not provoking your children to anger (Eph 6:4), or making sure you leave an inheritance to your grandchildren (Prov 12:22). And, in an age of child-centred orthodoxy and human rights, some of it has become contentious, like the use of corporal punishment (Prov 13:24). Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the Bible about what you do if your children are spending too much time playing ‘Call of Duty’ or more engaged with Facebook than their physics homework. But from several broad biblical principles has emerged some sound Judæo-Christian praxis about child-rearing. Basically, parents know what’s best for their children, and with the right instruction and discipline administered with consistency and love, they will become an asset to you, to their communities and to God. Continue reading →
The 1970s were a dispirited, discordant and fractious decade of industrial unrest, strikes, blackouts, three-day-weeks, piles of unburied corpses, and kerbsides strewn with mountains of uncollected rubbish. I didn’t care: I wasn’t even really aware. I used to love power cuts because they meant darkness and adventure. I was far too young to worry about wages, fuel shortages, Commie unions and inflation. I didn’t know that the country was on its knees, but I loved the warming glow of candles, and the wonder of carrying one “up the rocket” to bed. Continue reading →
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the irrepressible Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP, has apparently had enough of the EU’s Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA). These demand in-depth screening, scoping and consultation on all major planning and development projects, and have long played havoc with domestic planning law as every road, railway, factory and housing estate becomes mired in months and years of delay as bats are counted, wind-speed recorded, decibels measured and earthquake risks monitored.
Every brown-field site is seemingly treated as a putative Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as each development has become subject to uniform assessment criteria. And it’s not only the hassle of delay, but the additional significant costs on the whole planning process. Quite why our own town and country planning systems in England and the devolved administrations can’t be trusted to conserve our own birds and bees is something of a mystery. But in local government there is almost a default fealty to EU supervision and oversight as the planning regime has become increasingly subservient to European Union law. Continue reading →
If Douglas Carswell had been born 400 years ago, he’d have been burned at the stake. There’s a touch of superstitious wizardry about his unnerving prophecy heralding the end of politics, and a fin de siècle inevitability about his sceptical doom and gloom. His problem is that he’s a Roundhead in a party of Cavaliers; a radical Whig in a sea of resolute Tories. He’s not just an irritating nonconformist; he’s a theo-political heretic. And we all know what happens to them.
But before they meet their grisly end, they tend to preach subversive sermons and write revolutionary tracts in the hope of winning a few souls to salvation. Carswell’s fiery homilies eventually brought down Speaker Martin – the first to be ejected from the Chair of the House of Commons since Sir John Trevor was forced to resign in 1695. Carswell now blogs profusely and incisively about how the oligarchical elite feed like parasites on the people, and how a corrupt and compromised Parliament is incapable of holding the Executive to account. ‘The End of Politics and the birth of iDemocracy’ is an analysis of the murky political morass into which we’ve sunk, and an observation of the emerging technological solutions. Continue reading →
This might seem like a very small victory, or a relatively insignificant retraction from the onward progression of the EU’s ‘ever closer union’ which has (until very recently) seemed inexorably one-way. But Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has firmly rebuffed the pompous Europhile academics and statisticians who demand unquestioning compliance to EUniformity.
From the end of October, the Department of Communities and Local Government will no longer collate or publish data based on the EU’s regions, which form part of the administrative landscape in all member states. Instead, data will be gathered along distinctly UK business and council-led Local Enterprise Partnership boundaries, to complement existing statistics gathered by local authorities. Continue reading →
The name of Adonis will go down in the history of education in England as one of the most reforming and far-reaching ever – right up there with Forster, Balfour, Butler and Boyle; names which have become synonymous over the years with their respective legislative acts. This achievement is all the more astonishing since Andrew Adonis was only an advisor, then head of policy, and then a minister: he was never Secretary of State, and yet his name eclipses dozens of those who have carried that brief.
While Tony Blair and Gordon Brown steadily gnawed their way through six education secretaries who issued 14 separate acts of parliament, along with a seemingly endless stream of white papers, green papers and flowery reports, Adonis was quietly beavering away in the background to forge the academies programme – a new breed of quasi-independent state schools, designed to replace the failing, mediocre, inadequate ‘bog standard’ comprehensives, with the sole objective of raising student attainment in areas of high social deprivation. Continue reading →