Author Archives: Ed Wilson

Opinion: How about a cross-party declaration on an EU renegotiation and referendum?

referendum2One way or another, there’s going to be an EU referendum, and we must not just let it happen.

Pressure is mounting on David Cameron to move before 2017 and on Ed Miliband to shift from a perfectly clear position to one which is more “acceptable” to the sceptical groundswell. I’ve seen Tim Montgomerie suggesting that the spitzenkandidat system is a transfer of power to Brussels and might therefore trigger the referendum lock. Unfortunately for him, the legally enshrined vote is an in/in decision, and there’s no formal move – treaty …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 35 Comments

Opinion: Don’t like the exam question? Just cross it out…

The place of religious schools in a secular society is always a subject for debate, but it comes to a head when you discover that some schools are redacting questions in GCSE exam papers because they wouldn’t approve of the answers.

All schools are required to teach the national science curriculum, and are inspected on that basis by Ofsted. We are told that to present creationism as science is not allowed. Yet one school – a Jewish girls’ secondary in this case, but the same question may arise elsewhere – has chosen to cross out questions which offend their sensibilities. …

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 23 Comments

Opinion: Who cares about the environment? The coalition doesn’t seem to

fishSunday’s Observer features two related stories (Revealed: how water firms are polluting our rivers and beaches and Ministers putting seas and marine life in peril) which suggest that the coalition does not plan anything more than a minimal response to major environmental problems and opportunities.

There is an opportunity for this government to act on ready-made recommendations from the sentencing council, from select committees and from a representative group of environmentalists and fishing industry interests. The “greenest government ever” seems likely to deliver either nothing at all or a merely pathetic set of proposals.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: GCSEs? O-levels? Open your minds!

Consider a vocational subject – dentistry. It leads to a job and requires hand-eye coordination and knowledge of tools and materials. To be good at it, you must prove your interpersonal skills. A major study is the physiology of certain human systems.

Now consider an academic subject – engineering. This needs an understanding of physics, chemistry, mechanics, maths, cutting edge optics, electronics, materials science… not every one in every case but your subset will require detailed reading, theoretical work and experimentation.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Opinion: Government’s fuel top-up advice has been a serious miscalculation

My heart sank when I heard Ed Davey telling the nation to fill its petrol tanks. It seemed very likely, tipping over into obvious, that Ed Davey’s statements would feed into the kind of behaviour that we have seen in recent days, and it’s disturbingly clear that the coalition government had taken a position to promote the topping-up of tanks. That was a serious miscalculation of the likely results.

What proportion of motorists fill up less often than once a week? I suspect that …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 23 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSean Hagan 21st Jan - 8:43pm
    @Andrew Houseley - you make an interesting observation about the challenge posed by decentralisation to “mercantile buccaneering capitalism”. Perhaps this helps to explain the obvious...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 21st Jan - 8:10pm
    David Raw, I seem to recall the Liberal Party under Jeremy Thorpe did rather well in the February 1974 General election, drawing quite a bit...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 21st Jan - 7:45pm
    @ JoeB, It isn't explained. It's just more assertion. A point that strikes me is that may be that 80% is produced in the private...
  • User AvatarMartin 21st Jan - 7:33pm
    David Raw: Isn't it predictive fingers rather than predictive text? - At least you picked it up. I had the same, sinking heart reaction when...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jan - 7:20pm
    The last time there was a February election was, I think, in 1974. As now, the Heath Government was in a pickle and ran on...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 21st Jan - 6:56pm
    There is no way that we can control the debate in a General Election, it would be the usual confused mess & we & Brexit...