David Cameron to put healthcare at the heart of his fightback
David Cameron returns from his holiday this weekend, hopefully rested and ready to launch his fightback. The latest opinion polls suggest a widening of Gordon Brown's lead over the Conservatives and today's Daily Mail reports that steel tycoon Lord Paul - worth £280m - has said that he'll give as much as he can afford to fund any autumn General Election. Paul donated £45,000 to Brown's leadership campaign. ConservativeHome has learnt that the NHS will be at the heart of David Cameron's fightback.
An interesting discussion this lunchtime on 5 Live about Scottish independence (or English independence as some would see it). I must confess to being a bit ambiguous over it all, but I suppose if I have to state a case it is for self-determination, and if the Scots, or the English, felt strongly enough about the issue, I have no real opinion one way or the other.
Inevitable debt burden
The Independent reports that first-year university students are totting up record debt levels of nearly £6,000 a year and face leaving university owing more than £17,500. This is a 25.5% increase on the debt levels incurred by first year students in previous years.
For some reason the University of Glamorgan has the second highest level of first-year student debt in the country with an average of £7,942. Two of the three universities where students have the least debt are in
Gordon Brown has a big nose, he is Scottish, and he smells
This is the level of some of the responses to John Redwood’s proposals for tax reform and deregulation.
Here I feature Ted Harvey (a sometimes - not here - thoughtful commentator) and Polly Toynbee (who you all know and love).
Why the SNP is Right to Want a Referendum
SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has published a white paper today outlining three options for the future of
Can Gord satisfy the Scots and the English at the same time?
The announcement by Scotland First Minister, the SNP’s Alex Salmond, that there’s to be a “national conversation”, a distinctly new Labour term, on the future governance of Scotland could present a real challenge for Brown.
For on the one hand he wants to head off the SNP pressure and might consider more devolution - but how does he do that without the role of Scottish Labour MPs at
SNP & Independence
The Scottish National Party has caused a bit of an upset both north and south of the border by pressing ahead with its manifesto promise of holding a referrendum on Scottish independence.
All the other parties in the Scottish Parliament with the exception of the Greens who are in coalition with the SNP, have promised to jointly fight the proposal and the British establishment is similarly horrified that democracy might actually take place on terms that are not favourable to their agenda.
The march of devolution
Signs of coalition
And there's more. Signs tonight of a variable response from the SNP's rivals to the White Paper.
Labour want nothing to do with it, the Tories think nothing can be done with the SNP until they sideline independence.
But the Liberal Democrats take a different line. They remain leery of Mr Salmond and his SNP. But they argue that it is significant that the SNP are now canvassing constitutional options short of independence.
Legal Challenge to Government as Pressure Grows for Independent 7/7 Enquiry
As I’ve said before, in the absence of any official support, some survivors have had to, by themselves, fend off voracious conspiracy theorists and journalists. Survivor Rachel North has become a focus, via her blog, of much media attention. She has had to deal with a stalker and a legion of conspiracy theorists who simply refuse to take the facts at face value. Some of them have even imaginatively accused her of being a team of MI5 disinformation agents.
Google News to start taking comments
This could be an interesting development: Google has announced that their Google News front page is going to start accepting comments from people. However, it won’t be a comment free-for-all; rather the people allowed to comment will be the subjects of the news stories themselves.
New figures show top-up fees causing student debt problems
Two new surveys on student debt levels point towards top-up fees increasing student debts:
Heathrow's 3rd runway won't tip the earth into the balance
Alice Miles argues in her Times column on the climate change protests at Heathrow that, "Pretty much anyone without shares in BAA would not wish another runway on that particular part of
I really don’t think this is true, even if some people won’t admit to wanting another runway in green company. I’d wager that the vast majority of those who have been delayed taking off or landing at that airport would welcome something that would cut down on these delays. While everyone I know who flies out of there regualrly is positively clamouring for it.
Phil Taylor: Why is
At the end of July Transport for