Archive | July, 2012

Dubious Stat klaxon!

It passed me by at the time, so I’ve only just seen a piece by Gary Younge in the Guardian, published back in May, which contains this damning observation on the educational background of MPs. ‘Today,’ wrote Younge, ‘almost 40% of MPs went to private school. In 1997 it was just 30%’. He went on: […]

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Polling Observatory #16: Summer Doldrums

This is the sixteenth in a series of posts that report on the state of the parties as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling […]

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Disraeli vs The Iron Lady

Meryl Streep won the 2012 Oscar for Best Actress for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. But she is not the first actor to the win an Oscar for playing a British Prime Minister. In this post on my personal blog I reveal who that was … although the illustration above might just give […]

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Miliband Addresses the Big Meeting: A Return to Labour’s Past?

In his speech to the Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday, Ed Miliband was keen to emphasise that he was there to honour the past – to honour the tradition of the Gala itself, of the North East and of the labour movement. He was ‘humbled by the history’ of the Gala, and by the list […]

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Questions about G4S, the government and securing the Games

Dr Will Jennings is a regular contributor to our ‘Polling Observatory’. He blogs over at Olymponomics. The private firm at the centre of the row about Olympic security, G4S, has been widely criticised and some of the stories that are appearing from people who received training depict a chaotic process, but a number of questions […]

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Syria, Assad and the Military

News that a Syrian General has defected from the regime and fled to Turkey focuses international attention on the state of the Syrian military. More than any other single factor, the size and capability of Syria’s armed forces have deterred outside powers from intervening directly in the internal situation of that troubled country. Its ‘order […]

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Four Records Down, a Fifth Avoided

Last night’s massive rebellion by 91 Conservative MPs broke four records.  It was – as many have pointed out – the largest Commons rebellion to have hit the coalition since 2010, topping the 81 Conservatives who defied the whip in favour of a referendum on the EU in October last year. It was also the largest […]

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‘No Extremists Please – We’re British!’

Why has the far right in Britain failed? In a new Radio 4 documentary, Trevor Phillips explores this question and draws on an interview with Dr Matt Goodwin. The documentary also includes excepts from infamous speeches by Enoch Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Norman Tebbit and Gordon Brown, and takes a nuanced look at a question that […]

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Lords reform: back to the future

Want to know what happens when you lose control of the timetable of the Commons whilst trying to push through a controversial piece of legislation?  Want to know what ‘full and unrestrained scrutiny’ looks like? Then take a look at the Parliament (No. 2) Bill. Most people won’t have heard of it. Most of the […]

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Struggle for a Public University

In February, the Annual Dearing Higher Education Conference 2012 was held at the University of Nottingham entitled The Business and Growth Benefits of Higher Education. At the meeting, the Director-General of the CBI, John Cridland, demanded that business not only co-operate with universities in the setting-up of spin-off companies but also be more closely involved […]

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