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Mind over Muddle

Friday 26th June: Chris Woodhead, England’s Chief Inspector of Schools 1994-2000, died this week. Here Politeia's Director, Sheila Lawlor reflects on the life and work of a friend who saw his task as purging English schools of the mediocrity left by low level ‘progressive’ teaching and doing battle with its perpetrators. Dr Lawlor writes....
 
Chris Woodhead got the job by accident. At the time in 1994 the powers that be wanted someone who would not ‘go native’. Woodhead, I was told by one such power-that-was, was not the favourite, because he was not deemed, in official speak, ‘reliable’. I took that to mean he was his own man - something which should have been in his favour. He was indeed the strongest of the candidates – intellectually independent, clever and academically sensitive to what the aims of education should be.
 
And while able, he was also a dreamer.
 

What Direction for EU Negotiations?

20 June 2015. As the EU Referendum Bill makes its way through the House of Commons and the prime minister continues to meet EU leaders ahead of the EU Council meeting on 25th and 26th June, The Hon Bernard Jenkin MP reflects on the week's events. 
 
This week, Politeia hosted the launch in the House of Commons for the pamphlet authored by me, Sir William Cash MP, and Rt Hon John Redwood MP, entitled The UK and the EU: what must change?  It was also endorsed by Steve Baker MP, the Chair of Conservatives for Britain.  Judge for yourself what we have set out in our paper. You can also read my introductory remarks at the meeting here
 
The origin of this pamphlet is a series of papers we prepared for discussions we had with the Conservative leadership and their advisers following the prime minister’s Bloomberg Speech of January 2013 up until the general election.  They each set out the consequences for the UK of continuing to be subject to the present EU treaties, if there is no reform of the EU, or fundamental change in our terms of membership.

Grexit - Good or Bad?

Grexit – Good or Bad?
The Eurozone would not be seriously undermined by ‘Grexit’
 
June 12th: Greece is running out of time and money. The deadline to unlock the remaining €7.2bn of bailout funding, without which the Greek Government will surely default on its debts, is the end of June. Default could then be followed by Greece’s departure from the Eurozone (‘Grexit’). But, even though the stakes are so high, Greece is playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship. It seems to believe, or at least gives the impression that it believes, that its creditors will make huge concessions and let the funds flow, such is their desire to keep Greece in the currency bloc. It seems to believe its creditors will blink first. I think they are mistaken.
 

Respected and Admired - A Rare Politician

Respected and Admired - A Rare Politician
 
Friday 5th June. Charles Kennedy's death has been met with sorrow across the whole political spectrum. Here, Greg Hurst, The Times journalist and biographer of Charles Kennedy, in a special piece for Politeia reflects on his political life. Greg Hurst writes:
 

Emerging from the Shadows - Four problems Britain must tackle

Bernard Jenkin MP reflects on Queen’s Speech.
 
Friday 29th May. In the shadows of the Queen’s Speech are four dark horses of potential apocalypse for the UK.
 
The theatre and ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament is not just a fantastic spectacle. It is a celebration of what lies at the heart of our extraordinary constitution: a meld of history and the contemporary exercise of power and a demonstration of how our institutions combine both continuity and change. I am less comfortable about how the present government has continued the Blair-ite habit of incorporating the jargon of party politics into Her Majesty’s address. It was a relief that Buckingham Palace or someone sensible stopped short of making her say ‘long term economic plan’, but we still heard her utter the words ‘Northern powerhouse’ and ‘metro mayors’. And we all do wonder why we need to bring forward legislation ‘to ensure there are no tax rises in income tax rates..’ etc., when such an increase can only be made by, er, legislation! So it is about as useful as Labour’s Ed Stone would have been.
 
The substance of a Queen’s Speech is always ‘can-do’ – and I support the principle behind every one of the measures announced. But it is what is not said in the Speech where the real challenges for this administration lie. Behind the reference to ‘Measures… to raise the productive potential of the economy’ is the real anxiety that the economic recovery has not seen the increase in productivity growth which most economists expected. The commitment to ‘secure the future of the NHS’: if only it were so easy as saying that! But I am confident the government will. There are however four horses of potential apocalypse which are galloping apace in the shadows of this fine prose.
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