Thursday, April 21, 2005

Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons

While everyone's backs are turned the Scottish Parliament has legislated to permit top- up fees for university courses. Apparently they are only going to be used for medical courses.

And if you believe that you'll believe anything. You can almost feel the squirming from the Executive. They really, really don't want to do the right thing, but realise they have no choice.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Stephen Pollard on the election

Stephen Pollard is a columnist for whom I have a great deal of respect, but his latest piece on the election is, well, a bit muddled if you ask me. He tells us:
In domestic policy terms I can think of only a few reasons to vote Labour. The real story about 5th May is, after all, that if Labour wins Blair is already a lame duck.

Even if Blair won with the same majority as Labour now has, the result would be, at best, treading water for two years until Brown takes over. Blair has been unable with his existing majority to get through his purported real agenda of reform, from Foundation Hospitals to top-up fees, without caving in to the Old Labour backbenches.

Which seems to me only partially correct. Yes Blair has failed to force through any meaningful reforms, but why Brown should be any more successful (he is after all rather closer to old Labour than Blair) is beyond me, particularly as any majority that Brown might have would be much smaller than that enjoyed by Blair at the moment.

But this isn't really my gripe with Pollard's piece. The problem with it is that he ends the article by stating:

But overall, I too will be treating this election as a referendum on the veracity, judgement and ethics of the Prime Minister..

I just can't believe that Pollard is going to vote for Blair on the basis of something he did several years ago in the full knowledge that he is going to be a lame duck for several years before handing over power to someone who is somewhat less likely to bring about meaningful reforms. There are really big issues around (pensions anyone?). Why should we be voting about a relatively piffling issue concerning a PM we know is leaving soon?

Sorry Stephen, you can do much better than this.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Chalk another one up to the blogs

Belmont Club finishes off the job of demolishing AP's story about how one of their photographers "chanced upon" the murder of some Iraqi election workers. Old media sure does learn slowly.

Voting fraud

Political Betting has an interesting speculative piece on the effect of further allegations of voting fraud during or after the general election campaign.
The question is what effect finding such evidence will have. If, as is possible, the winning party win a majority despite losing the popular vote, then in my humble opinion the brown stuff will hit the fan if any [hypothetical] allegations involve the governing party.

Of course it's quite possible that this would be met with a shrug of the shoulders, particularly if more than one party had been caught at it. But if only Labour were caught, the effects could be startling. The question is whether anyone in the UK would care enough to do anything about it.