Author Archives: Simon de Deney

Opinion: No more casual flings

Mid-air DustyOne of our candidates, telling last Thursday, was told by his Green party counterpart that this particular ward, Clissold, was the Green Party’s one target in the whole of London. They had volunteers coming to Hackney from places as far flung as Orpington and Grimsby. So, how did they do? Well, they didn’t beat Labour, but they pushed us into third place. Clearly where they work, they win. Well, come second, anyway.

Only here’s the thing. Apart from the one ward, Cazenove, in which we kept all our councillors, the Green …

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Opinion: Art for Wealth’s sake

Pity the artists. The writers, sculptors, composers, musicians and actors. We believed we were struggling in our 21st century garrets, eking out an existence, surviving on our day jobs. At least we were suffering for our art. Only it turns out that we have been bitterly deluded. The latest report from Arts Council England (ACE) demonstrates with forensically gathered evidence and logic that we’re off the scale when it comes to ROI (that’s Return On Investment as any thespian will now tell you).


The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)’s study for ACE shows ACE gets less than 0.1% of …

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Opinion: Are we open for business or shutting up shop?

“Let it be heard clearly around the world — from Shanghai to Seattle, and from Stuttgart to Sao Paolo: Britain is open for business,” George Osborne proclaimed rousingly in last month’s Budget. But what does this say about how Osborne views the UK? Unpick the assumptions underlying the rhetoric and the language reveals an intellectual wasteland beneath.

The reductionist’s reductions

There are two arguments against this world view. The first is that it is a highly reductionist view of any country, particularly one as culturally and socially rich as Britain. The second is that it is equally reductionist in its view of …

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Opinion: emotional cleansing or ‘oops, your metaphor’s slipped’

Fluff over substance
I have a confession. While I have reservations about the current policy on social housing, that’s not what this piece is about. Andrew Stunell has written compellingly about our policy as has Dominic Curran.

All I’ll say is that successive Labour and Tory governments have failed abysmally over the last thirty years to invest in affordable housing. They’ve helped exacerbate social and community division, inflate housing price bubbles and distort the economy and our attitudes to wealth. Unwittingly or not, they are the architects of the ghetto. So

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: can the Pupil Premium only ever score 23%?

This may come as a shock if you’re a dedicated school governor. You see, I have a confession. I was in a governors’ conference last year and my attention wandered. During the keynote speech, no less. In fact, it didn’t just wander; I found the speaker so baffling that I resorted to doing maths.

I’ve been fascinated – obsessed even – with how you help children from disadvantaged, sometimes chaotic, homes make the progress they should at primary school (I’m Chair of Governors at a Hackney primary school with a culturally rich, but, on the whole, economically challenged intake). Now, obviously, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 13 Comments

Opinion: it’s not the economy, stupid

“Enough of the cuts already!”. We should be shouting. Not because of some ostrich-like desire to deny we’re part of a coalition that’s taking a scythe to public spending, but because the message is wrong. It’s not the cuts stupid, it’s not even the economy stupid. It’s the vision thing, clever.

Businesses are not in business to cut costs. Of course, they need to be efficient to compete (which includes not burdening themselves with debt that they can’t cope with). But their purpose, the reason someone set them up in the first place, is to make something or sell a service. …

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Opinion: Ed shows why we must disagree with Nick

‘Red Ed’? Congratulations! To all the newspapers that preferred easy rhyme over rigorous analysis. Because anyone who watched or read Milliband Minor’s Conference speech can see where he is aiming to position Labour: “This new generation that leads our party… will fight for the centre ground…”. And it’s this aim that shows why we must disagree with Nick.

At conference Nick Clegg quite rightly rejected creating “some synthetic differences” that would trade short term headline wins for long term damage to the Coalition. But that ‘synthetic’ misses the point. When the two other parties are leaping into the centre ground, playing …

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Andy Boddington
    You are drawing the wrong conclusions Nick. There have been shortages and oversize classes, still are, but teachers and students have battled against that. And ...
  • Peter Watson
    @Roland "The reason for the “deflation” is the teacher-marked grade inflation(*) of the last two years and an entirely sensible approach to addressing it." ...
  • Peter Watson
    @Martin "I suppose a narrow focus on three subjects is cheaper, but I think it is culturally stultifying." I agree entirely. I'd like to see A-levels replaced ...
  • Peter Watson
    It's a shame that, despite an article with a positive message, this thread has a horribly sour taste. We should be celebrating our children's success. After al...
  • Roland
    @Peter - I think Munira Wilson wants grade inflation. The reason for the "deflation" is the teacher-marked grade inflation(*) of the last two years and an entir...