from FaithWorld:

Anti-Muslim bias now the social norm, UK cabinet minister says

By Reuters Staff
January 20, 2011

warsiPrejudice against Muslims has "passed the dinner-table test" and become socially acceptable in Britain, says the Conservative Party's chairwoman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

Michael Gove’s radical academies plan

May 26, 2010
Gove900The Conservatives’ promise to give parents money to run their own schools won all the headlines ahead of the election. But the coalition’s new education secretary Michael Gove is likely to achieve a much more  dramatic shakeup of education in England with his invitation to all schools to apply for academy status. It means schools opting out of local authority control and becoming independent, but state-funded, institutions. Originally reserved for the most poorly performing schools, Gove is now extending this privilege as a right to 2,600 top rated primary, secondary and special schools. Other schools can apply for the change, and Gove intends his renamed Department for Education to do all it can to help them. It turns back the clock on more than 140 years of local political oversight of school education in England, dating back to the Victorian school boards and the local education authorities that replaced them in the opening years of the last century. John Dunford, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, who has seen regular changes of education policy over the years, believes this time something significant is taking place. “I think it will come to be seen as one of the most radical pieces of legislation for a generation,” he told me. He sees a large number of England’s secondary schools signing up. For many, the clinching factor will be getting hold of the 10 to 15 percent of state funding that local authorities now retain to pay for shared services, which they will see as insurance against an expected tightening of budgets in coming years. Then again, secondary schools are far less dependent on local authority assistance than primary schools, which tend to me much smaller, and are not expected, even by Gove, to be rushing to change status. Concerns have been raised by many, including the Local Government Association, that England is heading for a two-tier education system that will neglect the most difficult and deprived children. But the three school leaders Gove invited to a journalists briefing on his plans dismissed these fears, saying it was the current system that worked against those most in need of extra help. Dan Moynihan, Chief Executive of the Harris Federation, which runs nine academies in South London, said no longer having to devote staff time to “endless local authority initiatives” meant teachers could focus on what they were meant to be doing – teaching. He said: “This kind of status for all schools in England is the beginning of an education revolution which has the potential to transform the life prospects of disadvantaged children across the country.”

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from MacroScope:

Britain heading for rude awakening?

January 20, 2010

 UK_DFTEZ0110

 

There is a divisive election ahead for Britain, the threat of a ratings downgrade on its sovereign debt and a deficit that has ballooned into the largest by percentage of any major economy.  UK stocks, bonds and sterling, however, are trundling along as if all were well. What gives?

from Mark Jones:

A Google election?

January 6, 2010

The return to work on Monday prompted the launch of the main UK political parties' pre-election campaigns and the indications are that social media is likely to play a big role in the run-up to the general election.

Expenses row saps Brown’s authority

April 28, 2009

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Gordon Brown setting out a plan to overhaul MPs’ unpopular allowances and announcing it on YouTube too.

Abandon Northern towns for the prosperous South?

August 13, 2008

mersey.jpgEven the report’s authors say the idea may sound barmy.

But the Policy Exchange, a right-wing thinktank, says it was serious when it called on the government to stop spending money trying to regenerate struggling northern cities and use the cash instead to help their residents relocate to the southeast.

Does Glasgow spell the end of Gordon Brown?

July 25, 2008

gordon.jpgGordon Brown has woken to some unhappy headlines during his year as prime minister but the verdicts on newspaper websites following Labour’s shock defeat in the Glasgow East by-election were probably the worst he has faced.

Work for dole?

July 21, 2008

purnell.jpgWork and Pensions Secretary James Purnell wants long-term job-seekers to work for their state benefits.

David Davis – what the papers say

June 13, 2008

david.jpg Leader writers applauded the shock value of David Davis’ resignation but were divided over his motives and predicted the potentially shambolic by-election to come would damage the Conservative party.

A courageous decision?

June 12, 2008

daviddavis1.jpg“Courageous” is how Conservative Leader David Cameron described the decision by his shadow home secretary, David Davis, to quit his parliamentary seat and force a by-election over the issue of pre-charge detention.