The Great Debate UK
from UK News:
The Cambridge University study says play-based learning should go on for another year. Making children start school so young was a throwback to the Victorian age when the factories wanted them to start early so they could finish early and get working on the production line sooner.
Only Wales, Scotland and the Netherlands start children off at school so early, it noted. Schooling starts at the age of six in 20 out of 34 European countries, with eight nations, including Sweden, waiting until children are seven.
The government disagrees. "A school starting age of six would be completely counter-productive," says Schools Minister Vernon Coaker. "We want to make sure children are playing and learning from an early age and to give parents the choice for their child to start in the September following their fourth birthday. "
I’m heading to Brighton to join colleagues from across Government, the Parliamentary Labour Party and grass roots Party members from across the country.
Political leaders gathered in Dublin to debate both sides of the controversial Lisbon Treaty and the implications it could have on the future of Europe.
The panel consisted of Micheál Martin, Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigel Farage MEP, leader of UKIP, Mary-Lou McDonald, Deputy President of Sinn Fein and David Begg, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
- Andrew Robinson is the leader of the Pirate Party UK. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Draconian penalties for file sharing were threatened by the government on Tuesday. In addition to the previously announced 50,000 pound maximum penalty for “IP offences” we are now told that whole families are to be disconnected from the net if just one member is accused of sharing files.
- Arudou Debito, is a columnist for the Japan Times, activist, blogger at debito.org, and Chair of the NPO Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association. The opinions expressed are his own -
Japan’s famous mantra is that things don’t change much or very quickly. But I have a feeling that this approaching Lower House parliamentary election on August 30 just might prove that wrong.
The Labour politician and intellectual Richard Crossman once described the British constitution, with a sovereign Parliament at its centre, as a “rock” against periodic “waves of popular emotion”.
Whatever reservations there might be over the way the leaked information was obtained, the publication of hitherto secret details about the endemic abuse of MPs’ expenses was without doubt in the public interest.
There's been a lot of discussion over the past few months on this and other blogs about Barack Obama and religion. Looking back at it now that the campaign is over and he is starting to shape his administration, it's interesting to see how many of those discussions shed little light on what he would actually do. There were comments about him being a hidden Muslim, for example, or not a real Christian. That speculation seemed based on thin evidence and the assumption he was running for preacher and cleric-in-chief rather than president and commander-in-chief. As a journalist covering religion in public life, after learning whether a candidate professes a certain faith, I want to know how that faith will really influence his or her decisions in office. This is not necessarily the same as listing the soundbite positions used on the campaign trail. (Photo: Barack Obama at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, 15 June 2008/John Gress)
Seen from this point of view, probably the most interesting fact about Barack Obama's religious views is one that rarely gets mentioned. It's that he's an admirer of the late American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). The President-elect has clearly named "America's leading public theologian" as a major influence on his thinking. It comes out less in specific positions than in the way he looks at problems and discusses policies in terms with a "Niebuhrian" ring about them.