Posts Tagged ‘broken promises’

Cameron’s bottle-out on fox hunting: a good broken promise

06/01/2011, 07:00:26 AM

by Sally Bercow

Spare a thought for the scarlet-clad tally-ho brigade. Not only were over half the Boxing Day foxhunts called off due to heavy snow and ice, but it looks increasingly like game-over for a repeal of the hunting ban too. As DEFRA officials recently admitted, David Cameron has now abandoned his oft-repeated commitment to facilitate an early overturning of the ban. A free House of Commons vote has been kicked firmly into the long grass. Indeed, with a bit of luck, it may not even take place at all.

This is music to the ears of most people in Britain. For, unlike our prime minister (who was born into the hunting tradition and has repeatedly argued that the 2004 hunting act was “a mistake”), over three-quarters (76%) of us believe that fox hunting should remain illegal. Despite concerted propaganda to the contrary by the countryside alliance and their ilk, Labour’s hunting act has proved to be a popular, humane and effective piece of legislation, which enjoys an impressive conviction rate.

It would be heartening to think that Mr Cameron has abandoned his pledge swiftly to repeal the ban because he has undergone a Damascene conversion. All who oppose wanton cruelty might sleep more easily in their beds if they thought that their prime minister now acknowledged the error of his ways and accepted that, in a modern, civilised society, there is simply no place for dogs to shred foxes to pieces. Such a volte-face would be a real blow (“I say, old chap, what’s going on”?) to the die-hard, unreconstructed, hunting-obsessed Tory toffs who think that opposition to their “sport” is merely the vulgar prejudice of the lower orders. (more…)

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Is this the new road you promised Nick?

10/12/2010, 08:15:45 AM

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Pat McFadden on the Browne report

14/10/2010, 04:05:16 PM

Student finance always combines policy with highly combustible politics. And so it is with the parties treading round the Browne Review as if it was an unexploded land mine, accompanied by headlines about degree costs running into tens of thousands which alarm students and their parents alike.

But first, step back. Many similar headlines were around in 2004 when legislation increased fees to £3,000. Since then participation has continued to rise, including from low income groups, confounding predictions that fear of debt would put off prospective students. Upfront fees were abolished, making higher education free at the point of use for students. Graduates paid but only when they were earning. And safeguards were built in to write off debt if graduates took time out of the labour market to have children or had low lifetime earnings.

There were also less welcome consequences of the 2004 changes. Charging no real rate of interest on loans had the unintended side effect of limiting student numbers because it costs the state more to borrow the money for the loans than it gets back in repayments. So although participation has gone up, universities are still held back from taking on as many students as they would wish because it is too expensive for the government. (more…)

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