Author Archives: Craig Brown

Opinion: Evidence-Based Policy and the Culling of Badgers

Tomorrow, our MPs will have the opportunity to vote in an Opposition Day debate on government plans for a badger cull. It is almost unheard of for the government to lose an opposition day motion, the last one being on settlement rights for veteran Gurkhas in 2009 – the first time since 1978. I have it on good authority that our parliamentary party has made up its mind that badgers are to be culled in the UK.

I would like to make a few things clear before I get into the meat of this post. Firstly, I’m not an ‘animal lover’ …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 14 Comments

Getting involved in the Association of Liberal Democrat Engineers and Scientists

The Association of Liberal Democrat Engineers and Scientists (ALDES) organises a fringe event at each conference. Our fringe event this Spring is entitled ‘The UK Space Industry: An Unsung Success Story’ – a topic very close to my heart, as an engineer designing space missions out of an office in Hertfordshire. Yes, ladies and gents, the UK ‘does space’. And what a lot of people don’t realise is, we do it very, very well.

The UK space industry has bucked the national trend and has seen impressive growth during the recession. Areas such as satellite broadcast, communications, equipment and support services …

Posted in Conference | Tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: The truth about the graduate contribution

There is a real danger that many prospective students will be put off from going to university due to the confusion, half-truths and lies, often left unchallenged, relating to the new system of university funding and graduate contributions.

A bright light which breaks through the fog can be found over at, where Martin Lewis pares things back to the bare facts. His Student Loans Guide 2012 makes the following key points:

  • Existing students stay on the old system of loans
  • Students don’t pay anything up front
  • Graduates will pay back £540 per year less than they do under the current system – graduates will have more money in their pocket each month
  • Graduates who earn less than £21,000 don’t pay back anything
  • Graduates will owe more and be in debt longer but this debt will not affect credit ratings
  • People shouldn’t think of the new system as a loan but as a graduate tax
  • The rules may be different for students in Scotland and Wales
  • Most people will never pay back all of this debt as the debt is wiped out after 30 years

A graduate tax: the very thing that the NUS has been calling for. It is a crying shame that the NUS has decided to be political over the new changes rather than do the right thing by the people it professes to represent.

I would be extremely disappointed if there is a single person put off going to university due to the spin put on the changes by the NUS. Let’s hope that as many prospective students as possible find their way to where they can actually get some honest expert advice on what to expect when they take up their courses in 2012.

Editor’s note: You can also watch a video of Martin Lewis explaining student funding from 2012 on YouTube:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 19 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 4th Oct - 10:59pm
    If no crime has been committed it is still an outrage that Michelle Thomson and her husband have been buying up properties from victims of...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 4th Oct - 10:50pm
    Al, Suggest you just read the Scottish Law Society judgement then if you don't like Ian Smart. Perhaps you can explain to us how "Mrs...
  • User AvatarMary Reid 4th Oct - 10:28pm
    Ah - the man who talked with his eyebrows.
  • User Avatarjohn Stevens 4th Oct - 10:20pm
    Working with France is the way forward. A pity the party did not support this in 2005, when it was proposed by pro-Europeans and when...
  • User AvatarAl 4th Oct - 10:11pm
    Unbelievably, Caron is actually recommending you read what Ian Smart says. Caron is well know for complaining about "abuse" on the internet including in comments...
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 4th Oct - 10:10pm
    Alex B 4th Oct '15 - 8:25am "Agree that the Green party is a broad church, as Stephen outlines. I’ve come close to joining myself...