Wednesday, 15 August 2007

The Poliblogs 15th August 2007

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.

Conservative Home

Independence Thoughts

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.

Bob Piper

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 Scotland - Robert Gordon with £1,103 and Abertay Dundee with £1,123 - where they do not have top-up fees.

Peter Black

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).

The Wardman Wire

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 Scotland. Predictably all three opposition parties have rounded on him and accused him of trying to wreck the United Kingdom. That may or may not be so, but surely it would be a good thing to allow the Scots to vote on their own future, rather than the argument dragging on needlessly. The white paper outlines three options:-

Iain Dale

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 Westminster becoming an issue for the Tories to exploit.

Political Betting

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.

Wonko’s World

The march of devolution

Scotland's independence will come in small steps, not by a single bound.

Iain MacWhirther

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.

Blether with Brian

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.

Chicken Yoghurt

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.

Lib Dem Voice

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:

Lib Dem Voice

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 England (if, indeed, upon any of it)."

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.

Coffee House

Phil Taylor: Why is London's public transport so broken?

At the end of July Transport for London's (TfL’s) Annual Report and Accounts was published without fanfare on the their website. TfL was formed, along with the GLA and the London Mayor, by the 1999 GLA Act and is in charge of all public transport in London except for mainline rail services. In July 2003 London Underground, the Tube, became a part of TfL. TfL's 2003 figures were restated to include the Tube so we now have 5 years worth of comparable figures to pore over, an audit trail that makes it increasingly hard for the Mayor to hide the bodies. In this article I try to unearth them.

Conservative Home

No comments: