Tag Archives: matthew d’anconca

Opinion: On immigration, let’s keep out of this race to the bottom

If there’s one area of political debate where perception triumphs over reality, it’s immigration. While the public rate it as the number one issue facing Britain, it tumbles to 12th place when they’re asked what concerns them most at a personal level, behind the more pressing issues of pensions, health and household finances.

This is the ‘disconnect’ between what people hear about in our debate on immigration – fanned by political opportunists and their media allies – and the reality they experience in their daily lives. It’s the doorstep charge of “well there are just too many of them,

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 66 Comments

Telegraph claims Clegg has ruled out a coalition with Labour. I claim the Telegraph is talking nonsense on stilts.

Last week’s serialisation sensation was all about Damien McBride. This week’s is Matthew d’Ancona’s inside scoop on the Coalition, In It Together.

The Telegraph, doubtless keen to get its money’s worth, has hyped-up the revelations, splashing with the headline, ‘Cameron opens talks with Clegg on second Coalition’. Here’s the key passage, which reads unconvincingly to me, as I’ll explain below:

D’Ancona writes: “From time to time, he would raise the question of a second coalition with Clegg. ‘If we did it again,’ he mused to the Deputy Prime Minister, ‘I’d have to seek collective permission.’ ” It is

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 47 Comments

Your essential weekend reader — my personal pick of the week’s must-reads

It’s Saturday evening, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices culled from all those I’ve linked to this last week. You can follow me on Delicious here.

Political predictions: as the year ends, what does 2013 hold for the main party leaders? – Andrew Rawnsley sanely assesses the 12 months to come: ‘Nick Clegg and David Cameron face more of the same. Ed Miliband’s future is more complicated. He has choices.’

No longer the dunce – Anne McElvoy whispers the …

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Our political writers can pretend they know what makes us tick: a response to Matthew d’Ancona

Here’s how Matthew d’Ancona could’ve started his article for today’s London Evening Standard, ‘Our political class can now work out what makes us tick’. But he didn’t.


So what was all that about? As the waves of media fervour subside to reveal the bleak promontories of Austerity Commentariat, let us pause and ask what this extraordinary four-day Jubilee told us about journalists, and their obsession with extrapolating about our national life and character.

There then follows some delicious cognitive dissonance. First, an acknowledgement of what is to follow:

The lazy reflex for political observers is to extract the lessons that suit them.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Social mobility: new reporting coming but what is the real objective?

Tuesday sees the launch by Nick Clegg of a social mobility strategy for the government, including a new ‘report card’ to track the government’s progess.

The phrase “social mobility” is one I still don’t like. It is too much like that other inside-politics phrase “street furniture”. Councillors and council officers talk about street furniture works, improvements, strategies, investments and proposals with abandon but you never hear someone say, “I’ve just moved into my new flat and the local street furniture is lovely”. Street furniture matters, but falling into the habit of using an uncommon piece of jargon hinders understanding, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments
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  • User AvatarLiberal Neil 27th May - 9:11am
    Spot on Alex.
  • User AvatarCaracatus 27th May - 8:54am
    @Eddie Sammon - I regret you vote Lib Dem too. @ Lorenzo Cherin "The day this party wants head teachers to have less power than...
  • User AvatarMichael 27th May - 8:50am
    On certification, testing and maintenance: These are obviously difficult and complex issues. But they are issues that we engage with at the moment with a...
  • User AvatarMichael 27th May - 8:48am
    @Phil Beesley There is a paper at http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2011/5/107702-the-future-of-microprocessors/fulltext that says that microprocessor PERFORMANCE has increased 1000-fold over the last 20 years - not solely directly...
  • User Avatarbob sayer 27th May - 8:42am
    David: keeping the peace is daft. Well I am old enough to remember the war and one of the aims of many who supported the...
  • User AvatarWilliam Shutt 27th May - 8:28am
    There are a number of helpful comments here on the subject of UBI, particularly the ones that consider the difficulties of arriving at appropriate payment...