The new blog can be found at www.shanegreer.com.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Friday, December 15, 2006
"You know that basically Labour is the working class and the Conservatives are kind of upper class, and then everything else is... I have no idea,"Um, OK.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I’ll be on 18 Doughty Street tonight at 10pm. We’ll be discussing ConservativeHome’s recommendations for year two of project Cameron. Should be quite interesting, in particular I’m looking forward to discussing point nine:
Year 2(9): Management of the Policy Group reports
Recommendation 9: It is vital that the party anticipates the difficulties that are going to be presented by the gap of time between the Policy Reviews reporting and theTo this I would add that more should be done to prevent un-conservative recommendations such as the 35-hour week proposal.
leadership deciding which recommendations to embrace. Team Cameron have reacted quickly to the Tax and Social Justice reports – shunning one and embracing the other. Will they be able to react so quickly in future? If not, how will they deal with the Labour offensive against more controversial policy group recommendations that may need some defence?
Posted at 9:01 PM
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Just read an astonishing post by Iain Dale highlighting the LibDem MP Sandra Gidley’s call for school sports days to be done away with. I remember being one of the children she refers to who are last in line to get picked for a sports team etc. But it didn’t destroy my self esteem, rather it taught me that if I wanted to get picked for a team I had to train harder, get fitter, become better. This lesson carried over to other areas of my life, in particular my academic activities. I am thankful for the lessons competitive sport in school taught me.
I’m not saying that competitive sport has the same effect on all children; indeed for some it is a terrible experiece. However in life there are winners and losers. Competition is a part of our everyday lives; we compete to get jobs, we compete when we are in our jobs. The sooner children are introduced to competition the more ready they will be to deal with it in their adult lives.
Although perhaps Sandra Gidley would rather competition was removed from the job market as well; after all we wouldn’t want to damage the self-esteem of those who are unsuccessful. Besides, do we really need the best people doing the job – isn’t that just elitist?!?
BBC News 24 had a segment last night (there is a related article online) on the cost incurred by the public sector when providing translation services to people who don’t speak English. The grand total (although I should probably say shameful total) was £100m. Uncharacteristically the BBC highlighted the folly of such expenditure; it creates a disincentive for non-English speaks to learn English. The BBC interviewed two immigrants, one resident in the UK for two years, the other for 22 years; neither of them could speak English. Both indicated that the translation services provided by their local councils etc removed any reason for them to learn English.
For me however the parallels between the provision of translation services, and the provision of welfare are too important for us to ignore. If translation services remove the incentive for immigrants to speak English, is it really that surprising that welfare removes the incentive for people to work? After all, if you pay a person more to sit at home and do nothing than they could earn for doing an honest day’s work, is it surprising that so many people choose to rely on welfare rather than on themselves?
Welfare is a trap. A gilded trap perhaps, but a trap nevertheless.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Tony Blair’s acknowledgment that Iran is a ‘major threat’ comes as no major surprise. We have after all been aware of the danger Iran poses to international peace and security for some time. The recent conference questioning the holocaust is simply another provocative move by an increasingly confrontational rogue state.
Iran’s anti-Israeli (indeed anti-Jewish) stance has not abated any with the passing of time. The venom behind President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be wiped off the map is as evident now as it was in 2005. We would do well to constantly remind ourselves of the seriousness with which this threat is made.
Given Iran’s unrelenting aversion to peaceful coexistence, it is worth recalling the remark made by Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s earlier this year that “military intervention might have to be considered”.
I am now back from Brussels and ready to get back to blogging. As it happens Ireland didn’t invade Luxemburg whilst I was away.
On another note I didn’t realise how much of a welfare state Belgium is. For example I learnt, to my astonishment, that Belgians on welfare are entitlement to ‘holiday money’ once a year. It would seem things aren’t so bad in the UK after all (of course that doesn’t mean things could be described in any way as being acceptable).
Thursday, December 07, 2006
No doubt in the intervening period Tony Blair will be questioned under caution, Gordon Brown will launch a coup whilst Blair is ‘helping the police with their enquiries’, Polly Toynbee will be announced as the new Chairman of the Conservative Party, a new tax on breathing will be announced, and, who knows, Ireland will invade Luxembourg.
Posted at 2:03 AM