* Am I the only one who thought that the Times headline the other day was wrong. EVERY ONE IN FIVE.... YOUNG ARE OUT OF WORK. The second part of the headline is approximate (and I can’t check it because it’s behind a pay wall), but it’s the first part that concerned me. It should surely read “ONE IN EVERY FIVE........” To think it used to be a newspaper of record!
* The Metropolitan police are the most incompetent lot, aren’t they? They seem to get precious little right. Now English high court has ruled that the way in which they kettled people during the G20 demonstrations in April 2009, was illegal. The court heard that police used mass detention against peaceful protesters, and that officers punched faces, slapped and hit out with shields as they tried to move a demonstration against climate change. It has opened up the possibility that up to 5000 people may sue the police for wrongful detention. Damned right. People were kept for hours with nothing to eat and no toilet facilities crushed up against one another. I hope to never see that kind of tactic used in Edinburgh. I don’t know what happened to England’s much acclaimed free speech. The fault of course was of the management. Well no surprise there. I wonder where Commander Dick was that day. Looking for a room maybe?
* MPs have reacted with anger at a 16% cut in the BBC World Service. They say that as the BBC is undergoing only a 10% cut (I didn’t notice a 10% cut in my licence fee), it is unfair that the Foreign Office-funded World Service is being penalised. They say that the BBC is used to promote British values around the world. So that got me thinking. What are British values? Are there such things? Are values different in Scotland from in England, what about Irish and Welsh, or for that matter Cornish, Manx, Jerseyman or Guernseyman values? Are British (or any part thereof) values different from say Danish ones? The things that go through my head. Answers on a post card to the usual address with the usual prize going to the usual winner.
* Annabel Goldie was a million miles better than Tavish in her interview with Gordon Brewer, and a fair amount of what she said made sense. Why keep 14 year olds who will learn nothing more at school distracting other people who want to do well, and making teachers’ lives hell.
But Brewer didn’t ask her what she proposed to do with them, or what it would cost. You can't just let them vegetate in bed.
And although I believe absolutely in free education, I could see some sense in Annabel’s argument for graduate tax. But again Brewer missed a chance. Annabel says that everyone knows that there is a black hole in the finances, and she will use the graduate tax to fill it. But the tax won’t start trickling in for 4 years, and then pretty slowly. How will she fund universities till then? And how much will it cost for the Treasury to collect it, as we can’t tax.
And wouldn’t a tax (as opposed to a loan) encourage people to go abroad after we have educated them?
I wonder how Gray will be tonight. How will he explain the 150,000 jobs out of thin air trick he’s going to pull off? Iain Dumblegray, Scotland’s greatest wizard. Not.
* Does anyone agree with me that it might be a good idea for the government to sing from the same hymn sheet? Headlines this evening have changed from “Cable attacks Cameron”, to “Cable agrees with Cameron”. Perhaps there should be a quick meeting of top advisors at the same time as Cabinet each week with each department giving a list of the speeches its ministers are going to make, so that if there is to be a major policy disagreement it can be thrashed out before they look like a bunch of unruly kids, not after.
* Would it not be best for the News of the World to come clean now? It all looked good for a while; the Metropolitan police hadn’t really investigated and long sighs were being heaved.
But there are too many “important” people among the victims; too many with clout in the right places. It is bound to come out in the end.
In the meantime, I’d say John Prescott is bang on the nail. No matter how many dinners the Prime Minister rather stupidly has with Murdoch’s son, and no matter how unprofessional Vince Cable is, there is no way that the BskyB deal can go ahead while this is hanging over our Rupert. I’m not suggesting any impropriety you understand... but it is going to look like dodgy deal.