My comments on the Government’s BBC consultation

At present, the UK Government is running a little-publicised public consultation on the future of the BBC. (That’s the British Broadcasting Corporation for you Americans — our state-owned and funded broadcaster.)


The campaigning group 38 Degrees has provided a simple way to respond online to this consultation, and I did so this morning. Here are the questions and my responses. I urge you to submit your own thoughts, too.

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Very basic politics #4: how do we measure the strength of the economy?

“The economy is the central, critical, irreducible core of this election”, wrote David Cameron in the run-up to the election. “Everything depends on a strong economy.” And although I am not inclined to agree with everything Cameron says, this seems pretty much unarguable. If we as a country want to do the things that civilised countries do — educate our young, heal our sick, feed our poor, care for our elderly — we need money to do it.


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Sit the heck down, and watch the darned rugby!

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, to watch a Rugby World Cup match, Pool A, Australia vs. Fiji. Here is what I saw:

2015-09-23 18.01.30

Constantly. People getting up, wandering along the rows, getting drinks or hot-dogs, bringing them back, making people in their row stand up to let them past, obscuring the view of people in the rows behind them. Continue reading

The TO-DON’T list

My wife, Fiona, works as a music therapist for two charities — in a school for three days a week, and usually in one or two homes on the other days. She composes, and she’s finishing up a book. She also does a lot of work for our church, and runs the house. She always has a hundred things to do, so she nearly always has a TO-DO list on the go.


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Tim Farron, Lib Dems and the Political Centre Ground

I was very disappointed to read about the response of Tim Farron, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, to Jeremy Corbyn’s appointment as Labour leader:

The MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale argued that Corbyn’s victory would open “a massive space in the centre ground of British politics” […] Since Corbyn’s election, some party figures have suggested privately the Labour party is starting to encroach on territory that Farron had marked out for the Lib Dems, necessitating a change of direction.

This disappoints me for two reasons.

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Oh, Doctor! How are you going to get out of this one? (The Magician’s Apprentice)

Somehow I’d managed to avoid all spoilers. Which is great, because The Magician’s Apprentice took me by surprise, repeatedly. The moment when the boy in the field of hand-mines told the Doctor his name raised the hairs on my arms. I was genuinely creeped out.

Warning: spoilers follow the break.


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Where does the political centre lie?

We hear a lot from Labour MPs about how the only way to win the next General Election is to take the “centre ground” — not to be seen as a left-wing party. Jeremy Corbyn, then, as a “hard left” politician, is the last thing the Labour Party needs, so the reasoning goes. Labour need to take the centre.

What is this centre?


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