Wednesday 14th September 2005

Wednesday 14th September 2005

Oxford Mail: City Council's £1m 'black hole'

Today's Oxford Mail picks up on the story I reported here last week about the failure of the City Council to make £1 million in promised savings. Under the headline, 'Council faces budget cuts', the Mail rightly warns of the 'black hole' which may see services suffer. The Council's Labour leader, Alex Hollingsworth, is quoted saying in response: "The budget is well under control and well managed.

After the Ashes

My fellow Liberal Democrat Mike Holmans is a fount of good sense on cricket.The first post in this thread gives his take on the Ashes series and England's future prospects. And the first in this thread asks "whither Australia?"

Sure Start, uncertain reasoning

I was amused by yesterday's Guardian. The front page lead was an account of leaked report saying that early evaluation of the government's Sure Start scheme had been disappointing. In fact the report showed: Sure Start as a whole failed to boost youngsters' development, language and behaviour. It also showed children of teenage mothers did worse in Sure Start areas than elsewhere.This story was discussed in a leader and by Polly Toynbee. To be fair (as footballers all say nowadays) there arguments that it is early in the day to be evaluating Sure Start and that there problems with the ...

Watch 49 Up tomorrow

ITV are showing the latest installment in Michael Apted's documentary series at 9 p.m., with a second episode on September 22. Apted has followed a group of children since they were seven. The first documentaries were shown in 1964, and has gone back to them every seven years ever since. They are among the most important documentaries ever shown in Britain. I remember our class spending an entire double English lesson talking about 21 Up in 1977 or 1978 because it was all we (and the teacher) could talk about. Jonathan Freedland writes about the series in today Guardian: ...

Obvious Joke Alert

A sequel to the old joke alert, this story on BBC News caught my eye: "Sports minister Richard Caborn* says our footballers should learn to conduct themselves like England's cricket team. "Football has something to learn from cricket: respect for officials, for each other as professionals and for the opponents," said Caborn." Seems only fair to me, after all cricketer Freddie Flintoff learnt how

Mary Leapor

I'm cutting down on excessive whimsicality in this blog, so I've changed the title from 'Mira's Picture', which was the title of one of Mary Leapor's poems to 'Jane's Blog'. Mary Leapor was an eighteenth century working class poet. Her father was a gardener and she worked as a cook. Her poems are rather good. She died of measles aged 23. I'm probably not related to her, but I'm still tickled pink that we share a surname. Mary had a dry sense of humour. 'Mira's Picture' makes fun of upper class readers who imagined her a blushing beautiful maid, when ...

The Will this fragile Spaceship Earth survive long enough?

I've noticed that the new Guardian, in trying to be a little more Le Monde-esque, to give the impression that it is a bit more shishi and a bit more high brow cognoscenti than it used to be, it has expanded its comments/op-ed pages. The problem is that the commentators are the opinion-writing equivalents of Dan Brown - more Tom Clancy than Umberto Eco. Brown's trick, of course, is to trick the reader into thinking that they are smart for working out the 'devilishly' (un)tricky clues. So now we have more to suffer than George Monbiot. Earlier this week we ...

Footballers like cricketers?

Richard Caborn has suggested that England's footballers should behave more like England's cricketers. I don't imagine that he had in mind being absolutely hammered in Trafalgar Square though.

Low key fuel protests

There are many things that can be said about the current round of fuel protests. One of these is that for the last five years the level of taxation on fuel has remained unchanged. Rising prices have been caused by demand and supply issues outside of the control of any one government. And yet the response of the protestors to the high cost of diesel and petrol has been to focus their discontent onto a taxation policy they have been happy to tolerate for half a decade.Their frustration is understandable but so is the Government policy of keeping taxation at ...

"Muscular Liberalism" revisited

by PeterWe raised the banner for Muscular Liberals a few weeks ago, in light-hearted vein, seeking to call up the spirit of Arnold rather than Truman. And now Madelaine Bunting has put the phrase to use in an article in theguardian (as we now must call it).Simon Mollan pulled this to bits on his blog. He makes some good points, in seeking to distinguish between Islamists and muslims. But Bunting made some good points too.Because it is certainly true that Huntingdon's "clash of civilisations" thesis now has a baleful influence over world politics. The risk always was that it would ...

An embarrassment of leaders

Having effectively installed Dafydd Wigley as their fifth leader a few days ago Plaid Cymru walked straight into a major crisis this morning with speculation that the Assembly Presiding Officer will shortly be assuming the role of Group Leader in place of the beleagured Ieuan Wyn Jones.Whoever briefed the Western Mail is certainly an admirer of the qualities of Dafydd Elis-Thomas:DAFYDD ELIS-THOMAS is being lined up to save his party through a spectacular comeback as leader within months.Leading Plaid Cymru figures are now ready to embrace their former president as the Renaissance Man to lead them into the National Assembly ...

Doctor Who praised at TUC conference

Doctor Who praised at TUC conference “The popularity of the series demonstrates that there is still an audience for quality family entertainment, and that distinctive UK television productions can still provide a talking point for the nation.”

The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia

“N.B. - The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” The Ashes at Wikipedia. (Circuitously via.)

More jobs for export

I am worried about reports that British Gas may be exporting about 2,000 local jobs. The problem is that if we export industrial jobs and then export service sector jobs then we continue to undermine our long term stability. An interesting point was also made about Star City at the Council meeting last night. Many of the jobs there are not people from the inner cities, but instead people from

The Apollo Project

Read this by the Apollo Project on Liberal Principles. Now read the follow up. Funny and instructive. It's all to play for, I guess....

A debate worth listening to....

The few regular readers of this blog know of my interest debate. I was therefore intrigued to hear that Christopher Hitchens will be debating George Galloway on the Iraq War, the event being netcast here. Hitchens has a bloody good go at Galloway in Slate magazine. It is worth reading for entertainment value alone.

So England Beat Australia...

...cast your mind back to last summer. remember this Thought not! Ireland beat the West Indies...AGAIN. Now which team was the first to beat the English Rugby World Champion's. Lets see if the ECCB arrange a match in Sion Mills soon.

Previous days: Tuesday 13th September 2005, Monday 12th September 2005, Sunday 11th September 2005, Saturday 10th September 2005, Friday 9th September 2005, Thursday 8th September 2005