An Oxford First!
Friday 23rd September: This week’s World University Rankings put UK universities at the top of the list. But, as Jonathan Clark explains, all may not be as well as it seems. Professor Clark writes:
Oxford University has just come top of the World University Rankings, as conducted by the Times Higher Education Supplement, a first for any UK university; Cambridge is ranked fourth, Imperial College eighth. This should be a matter of celebration: the UK is certainly a superpower in university terms, and has many excellent institutions. But is everything as it seems? Is all well? What is the overall picture? What will happen next?
Friday 16th September: True justice depends on impartiality says Professor David Abulafia, who welcomes the green light for new grammar Schools
There is something inspiring in the title Grammar School. One would like to think that these schools offer a way to improve people’s grammar – teaching the difference between mayand might, or lieand lay, just to cite the most common and outrageous errors that appear daily in the press. In fact, the grammar they were founded to teach was mainly Latin and Greek grammar, and the aim of those who founded these schools in name of King Henry VIII, King Edward VI and other monarchs was to bring free education in the humanities (as then understood) to provincial towns. It is often pointed out that all the ancient public schools began as free schools, some of them, such as Harrow, as local grammar schools. Since the abolition of the direct grant, a number of what are now flourishing independent schools have continued to call themselves, with pride, Grammar Schools, notably ‘The Grammar School at Leeds’.
Friday 9th September: As Britain prepares to forge free trade deals globally, Jocky McLean, Politeia's Assistant Director, reflects on the importance of the rule of law for developing economies.
For Brazil, it was not meant to be like this. The Olympic Games are a perfect opportunity to celebrate the host-country’s identity on the world stage. China’s Games of 2008, for example, showed a resurgent country ready to take its place as a super power. London 2012 was also seen as part of developing Britain’s new post-imperial identity. For Brazil, however, the cariocas and caipirinhas of celebrations for having pulled off the Games have been marred by a serious political crisis. For ordinary Brazilians, the Games were a sideshow to the political trial of President Dilma Rousseff for irregularities in the state budget. Shortly after the closing ceremony in August, the senate confirmed the impeachment sentence against Mrs Rousseff, twice elected to the Brazilian presidency, and her removal from office. Meanwhile, much of Brazil’s political class on all party sides has been tarnished by a corruption scandal involving its biggest energy firm Petrobras.
Britain’s Quiet Revolution – Effective, bloodless and immediate.
August will be busy for Theresa May and her ministers, coming dramatically to power. After one of the greates upheavals in modern British politics, Politeia's Director, Sheila Lawlor, considers the events which prompted Britain's bloodless revolution.
MPs have now left Westminster, returning to their constituencies for the annual summer break. For many it will be a bitter sweet homecoming. They have been humbled by their voters, who showed more courage then they did in taking one of the most important decisions since 1940 about how Britain is governed, and by whom. Although the vote to leave the EU prompted a period of tumultuous political change, the sense of quiet relief across the country is now palpable.
Britain’s democracy has done what it does best. It has facilitated a peaceful revolution against those who wielded power, dramatically but quietly. British people returned their country to accountable, parliamentary government. In their understated way they went to the ballot boxes in their millions. They voted to end autocratic rule by an alien power and, in so doing, set off the chain of events to return power, seamlessly and authoritatively to the people with whom it had, for centuries, rested. The new prime minister, Theresa May, lost no time in completing the revolution.
A Question of Place, a Matter of Identity?
If Labour is to regain the trust of its voters, it must respond to the timeless concerns of voters - economic and cultural, says Rt Hon Frank Field, MP.
Already Labour’s future depends less on who wins the contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith, than who is elected UKIP’s leader. That is just one sign of UKIP’s potential challenge to the party’s future.
Labour’s greatest danger is if UKIP’s new leader rebrands the party as the English party.
I’ve never accepted that UKIP were the most serious long term challenger to Tory disgruntled votes. History has it that Tory voters are good at voting for Lib Dems in protest by-election votes, but are much more inclined to return to the fold at a subsequent, often second, general election.
UKIP’s Labour vote appears much more stable and loyal to its new party. The reason for this is simple. Much of the Tory protest vote in UKIP was against a general direction of government policy.