Category: Blog

‘Time for a Truce on Grammars, Mr Corbyn!’, by Sheila Lawlor

Grammar Schools have a part to play in raising the bar for all, says Politeia’s Director, Sheila Lawlor.

The mowing down of innocent pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and the fatal knifing of a police officer guarding Parliament has overshadowed other – and what may seem – more prosaic matters. Just hours before the attack in Parliament itself, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s leader, had challenged the prime minister over education. He is hostile to the proposals for new grammar schools and their funding. And, a report issued the same day by the universities’ clearing house, UCAS, was taken to mean schools faced greater than ever teacher shortages, since the numbers applying for teacher training fell in 2016.

Mrs May did not refer to that report or to other data on retention in the profession when responding to Mr Corbyn in parliament: instead she reminded him that his was a… read on

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‘The Road to Royal Assent’, by Peter Crisp

Peter Crisp*, Dean of Law at BPP University, explains that this week the will of the people has been implemented.

Yesterday the Queen gave Royal Assent to the Brexit bill, clearing the way for Theresa May to start talks to leave the European Union. The brief European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill had been passed by MPs and peers earlier in the week.  The Prime Minister may now notify Brussels that the United Kingdom is intending to leave the EU; Mrs May has indicated that she will trigger the process Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon by the end of this month.

The road to Royal Assent has twisted and turned in unexpected and unpredictable ways over the last nine months. There have been legal and parliamentary challenges as well as a welter of commentary and analysis, much of it arguing… read on

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‘Big Money and Small’, by John Redwood

The Budget’s review of UK PLC shows the forecasting to be weaker than the UK economy.  Britain now needs to grow the economy and raise productivity, says The Rt Hon John Redwood MP*.

The Chancellor – on reviewing his press after the Budget – was asked whether the £600 million a year he expects to get from higher National Insurance on the self employed was worth the controversy it has stirred. He shifted small sums of money around in the budget compared to the totals, offering a little extra spending here and taking a little bit more in tax there. His aim was a neutral unflashy budget with just a few technical changes.

It turns out technical changes can be more political than he realised.

The budget reviews a large enterprise, the UK state. It costs £800 bn to run next year, so taking… read on

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‘Unshakeable Self Righteousness! The House of Lords is not alone’, by Jonathan Clark

Britain’s national forums have been captured by a leftist leaning, increasingly coercive, opinion says Professor Jonathan Clark*. He explains how popular opinion is no longer fairly represented in national forums.

This week the House of Lords voted in committee to amend the Brexit Bill to compel the government to guarantee the position of EU nationals resident in the UK. Its debates, like those of the Commons on the same Bill, provided gripping viewing on the live television channel provided by Parliament’s website (I confess to a new addiction). The vote was notable on several grounds:

First, the Bill is so short that there is almost nothing in it that could be amended, that is, revised and improved. What are called ‘amendments’ therefore count as attempts by the Lords at primary legislation, adding new substantive content rather than improving existing substantive content.

Second, the huge turnout of 358 Lords voting in favour. We all knew that the House had been bloated by… read on

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‘Hard Choices!’, by Sheila Lawlor

Voters in this week’s by-elections recognise that their future will depend on a different economy, one competitive, global and skilled, says Politeia’s Director, Sheila Lawlor.

This week the people in two northern seats voted. Having judged the complex cocktail of policies and politics, they kept Labour in Stoke on Trent Central, its historic ‘potteries’ constituency. But they sent the party packing further north in Copeland, the Cumbrian coastal seat from which coal exports were once despatched, electing instead the Conservative challenger. Is this, as Labour’s Stoke victor, Gareth Snell, implied, a return to the politics of the two-party system, without the complications of the referendum? Or are the voters once again ahead of Labour, not just on Brexit, but on the economic realities that they and their country face today?

Snell claimed that voters in Stoke-on-Trent (nicknamed ‘Brexit Central’ for its high Brexit vote) had now chosen the politics of hope over fear. In his moment of success… read on

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‘More for Less!’, by The Rt Hon David Gauke MP

As Britain’s public services face rising demand, The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, explains in Politeia’s Winter Address that improving productivity and efficiency are part of a wider strategy for success in the 21st Century

So often, political debate on [the future of Government services] is reduced to sheer weight of numbers. Are we spending more than we did before? Are we spending more than the opposition are saying they would spend? Are we spending more than other countries are spending?

The answers to any of these questions will only take you so far. The question we should also ask is not just how much, but how well we are spending that money. It is in that spirit I am leading a Government-wide drive to make our public services more productive—quite simply to get more for less. That might sound idealistic. Even simplistic. But unless… read on

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