Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Porter’

Monday News Review

14/03/2011, 06:18:28 AM

Lib Dems force rethink on NHS reforms

Nick Clegg yesterday made a desperate attempt to prevent a Lib Dem revolt over the Tories’ NHS shake-up. Just hours after Party activists voted against the reforms, the Deputy Prime Minister insisted the Coalition was not trying to privatise the health service. The plans will let market forces run riot in the NHS and senior Lib Dems fear it will inflict more damage on them than the broken tuition fees promise. But, speaking at the spring conference yesterday, Mr Clegg said: “What I need you to know is all of us in Government are listening and that we take those concerns seriously.” Mr Clegg also used his speech in Sheffield to rally his Party after the Barnsley by-election battering. Responding to claims he was too close to the Tories, he joked: “I haven’t been kidnapped by David Cameron, I haven’t changed one bit.” He added: “Yes, we’ve had to toughen up. But we will never lose our soul.” The Deputy PM mocked Mr Cameron for opposing electoral reform. He said the only people in the “No” to the alternative vote camp were the Conservatives, the BNP, John Prescott, Norman Tebbit and David Owen. Mr Clegg was also ridiculed for claiming the Coalition was “not a cuts Government”. Labour MP Tom Watson said: “He’s living in cloud cuckoo land.” – Daily Mirror

Ministers signalled a potential climbdown over the Government’s controversial health reforms last night – after Liberal Democrats delivered Nick Clegg a bloody nose on the issue. Tory Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the reforms, which would put GPs in charge of the £80billion NHS commissioning budget, remained ‘under review’ in the wake of criticism from inside and outside Government. Critics claim the changes will break up the NHS and lead to greater privatisation and less accountability. Lib Dem activists at the party’s spring conference threw out a motion supporting the Government’s health reforms over the weekend and replaced it with a text that was highly critical of the changes. The British Medical Association will also debate a series of critical motions on the reforms at an emergency conference later this week – including one expressing no confidence in Mr Lansley. – Daily Mail (more…)

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Smashing things doesn’t prove you’re more angry, just more violent

12/11/2010, 09:00:50 AM

by Jonathan Walker

I’ve been surprised at the number of left-leaning people who seem to celebrate the violence in London this week.

Personally, I agree with the NUS and the Labour party that “the vandalism and violence that we saw on Wednesday is completely unacceptable”, to quote Ed Balls.

But many people I’ve spoken to (including quite a few journalists) seem to believe that violent protestors were representative of the protestors as a whole and even, echoing Guido Fawkes and other right-wing bloggers, that the NUS is secretly pleased about the while thing.

Unlike Guido, however, they don’t mean it as an adverse criticism. They enjoyed watching Tory HQ (actually the reception of a building used by a number of organisations) get smashed up.

One argument used by apologists for the violence is that it got people’s attention.

But getting attention doesn’t always help you win the argument.

The demo prompted earnest debate about the failings of the metropolitan police, not the correct level to set university tuition fees or the merits of a graduate tax. (more…)

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Moving the goalposts on higher education will leave scars on our society, says Aaron Porter

18/08/2010, 12:30:14 PM

As A-level results day approaches it is already clear that over 150,000 students with both the grades and the desire to study at university this year will be left without a place.

Crucially, this limit on places is not one of necessity; the restrictions on university places are being achieved through an entirely arbitrary cap on student numbers which is itself being enforced through the government’s threat to fine any university which ends up oversubscribed.

Michael Brown, vice-chancellor of Liverpool John Moores university said last week that the government fines for over recruitment mean that some universities will even have empty spaces despite turning qualified applicants away, with government fines preventing universities from accounting for inevitable drop-outs before the start of term by slightly oversubscribing courses at this stage.

This is both morally unacceptable and economically short-sighted. It is morally unacceptable that students who have worked in order to achieve grades that would normally be sufficient to study at university will – for reasons entirely out of their control – find that the goalposts have been drastically moved. These young people are being denied the opportunity to study at university, with all the intrinsic value that holds, together with the increased work and career opportunities that affords.


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