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Don’t strike on 30 November, take a coffee break

Industrial action and the Conservatives are not naturalbedfellows, notwithstanding (pictured drinking water) education secretary Michael Gove’s appearance on apicket line in a former life as a journalist.  What his current colleagues think of Militant Mike’s picketingpast can only be the subject of conjecture (youthful impetuosity, perhaps?),but at least he stuck it out longer than the […]

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Libraries or social care? Right-wing Tory has a point on cuts

Assuming councils have to cut some services, where does theaxe fall? An article on The Guardian website written by theConservative leader of Oxfordshire Council, Keith Mitchell, suggests libraries. However, the bookish county has risen up, with its literatiadding their outrage to the general disapproval.  Understandable, too. Morally, libraries should not shut,particularly as UK literacy rates […]

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Gangs, the good old days and contemporary naivety

Innocent times. How often have we heard those two words, anexercise in retrospection, uttered by a speaker from behind rose-tinted specs? Innocent times: when hospital consultants were doctors whowore bow ties rather than accountants wielding red pens; when the radio newswas read by men in dinner jackets and the (dreaded) commercial radio”weathergirl” was as distant […]

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If Lansley goes, could a Lib Dem replace him?

Why has the Health and Social Care Bill stalled? Is itreally for a listening exercise, as the prime minister would have us believe?Or is David Cameron simply buying time to rid the nation of an increasingly unpopularhealth secretary in a mini shuffle? The bill is the one issue that truly divides the coalition,with deputy prime […]

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Duncan Smith falls into the poverty trap

It was prescient of work and pensions secretary Iain DuncanSmith to choose the Sir Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture to inform us that givingmoney to poor people can make their lives worse.  Sir Keith, Margaret Thatcher’s economic guru…OK, enoughsaid. Back to last night. Duncan Smith said the political classeshad become “damagingly fixated by income levels alone”. […]

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Big Society tsar hasn’t enough spare time

Loved this from today’s Guardian. Lord Wei of Shoreditch, who is heading the government’s state cop-out called Big Society is complaining that the role is occupying too much of his spare time. Shocked at the hours he is having to devote to the role – and unlike many Tories devoid of a private income of […]

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Does homophobia pass Warsi’s dinner-table test?

Tory party co-chairman Baroness Warsi (right) must endure someawkward times at dinner parties. She really must because, as the UK’s firstMuslim woman cabinet minister, she felt strongly enough about attitudes towardsher faith that she can only conclude that Islamophobia is now sociallyacceptable. It had passed the dinner-table test, she said. How often Warsi has to […]

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Children’s minister stumped by the Big Society

Many a time I have pondered: what IS the Big Society? I amin good company. Children’s minister Tim Loughton is mystified too.

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Benefits and immigration: the Tories subverting the coalition

So much for the idea that it would be the rebels among theLib Dem backbenchers who would pull the magic carpet from under the feet of thecoalition. Expressions of dissent in recent weeks suggest that DavidCameron would do well to look at the fellow travellers from his own party. 

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Top Tory wants ‘poor’ to limit families as Cameron keeps mum

“I name this lead balloon Big Society.” I assume that is whatDavid Cameron yesterday told delegates at the Conservative Party conference,such was their muted reaction.

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