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Thomas Bridge
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I will admit bias here, as I'm doing a (second) degree with the Open University, but for adults who have part time requirements, they may well be the best solution. The economies of scale involved benefit as well - the OU are currently looking at reducing the number of courses they offer in some areas (such as maths and science) as they don't have the funds or resources to keep promoting them. Although a large, nationwide university, their decision to break down into regions for assigning tutors and means there's still a relatively local touch for students. It wouldn't suit students who would do better in a lecture hall setting, and it doesn't have the advantages of a campus community, but the mature student with other responsibilities may not have enough time to benefit from those features anyway.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2009 on Part-time support at CentreRight
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What about Brandon Lewis who has the nomination for Great Yarmouth?
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Graeme, Thank you for articulating what I felt when listening to Esther this morning. Her invocation of the Sarah Payne case was particularly assine and irrelevant to the point at hand.
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2008 on Speak to someone who cares at CentreRight
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Interestingly, a quick search using google of Amnesty Ireland's web site shows no use of the word "abortion" on their site.
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To be honest, how much credibility would you give someone who comes up with the devestating political anaylsis of "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," she explained. And she added: "I only vote Labour because me mam does."
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2006 on Friday 15th December 2006 at ConservativeHome
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"direct rule ministers go native when they arrive at Stormont Castle. They seem to think that we have been born sectarian. They cite the popularity of the local parties. But, then again, there has been nothing else on offer." I appreciate that the first past the post system doesn't really help, but both the Alliance party and the Conservative Party have organised in NI and failed to make any significant breakthrough. One of the ironies of the peace process has been that both communities have moved to their extremes - the UUP lost support to the DUP and the SDLP lost support to Sinn Fein. There has also been some discussion about the possibility of some of the Irish parties running candidates in Northern Ireland - Fianna Fail have certainly discussed it. I do wonder what the impact of both the British and Irish political parties running in NI might be.
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I admit I was only half awake this morning when I heard it - but I could have sworn I heard the Today program describe relative poverty - twice - as earning less than 60% of the median (not mean) income. That definition makes it relatively hard to reduce "relative" poverty. Still it's better than the person who once complained that half of the 16 year olds doing GCSEs had got below average results.
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The difference between nuns who wear the veil and the Muslim women that Jack Straw was referring to is that nuns do not cover their face. When a nun refers to taking the veil, she is covering her hair, but not her face. Which is what Jack Straw was talking about. The objection was not to dressing modestly, or even to the hijab or the "Convent veil", but to the fact that veil covers a woman's face and makes (in Jack Straw's opinion) communication harder.
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"when I said taxes should strip the rich I didn't mean MPs!"
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2006 on Captions please... at ConservativeHome's ToryDiary
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Rob D said: Of course we didn't care when Unionists had Stormont and voted at Westminster as well. Because the Ulster Unionists rarely, if ever, helped the government pass controversial legislation that didn't affect Northern Ireland. And in the end, Stormont was abolished by Westminster.
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There is a very special ring of hell that is designed to be like the arrivals experience that is Heathrow Terminal 3. If you think the EU nationals have it hard, I spent half an hour waiting for my wife to get through the other queue. And the luggage still hadn't got on the belt.
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I'm not in favour of merging councils - that's effectively a form of centralisation and makes them less responsive to specific local needs.
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Malcolm you write: ".More importantly my first point was 'a high salary does not guarantee quality' surely you accept this?" Yes of course, I do, you have to look at John Prescott for proof of that. My point that if you reduce the salary you may well reduce the overall quality doesn't stand in opposition to that though. I would also argue that we need to be more ruthless both as voters and as party members to root out the duds and replace them with talent (I don't wish to give an opinion on whether or not Malcolm Rifkind fits into that category, but he is apparently under threat of deselection as his constituency party are not happy with him).
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Malcolm, you write "There are far more people who wish to be MPs than positions available. As Conservatives we should be pressing for their salaries to be cut to reflect this." There is a flaw in this argument, because you can replace the word MPs with the phrase "Premiership Footballer" and the first statement would still be true, but it wouldn't lead to the second sentence. The issue is not whether or not we have enough people wishing to be MPs, but whether or not we have enough talented people wishing to be MPs.
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Michael McGowan, it's not entirely correct to say that "Those like the late Father Denis Faul who stood up to the IRA were vilified and intimidated with little support from their superiors." Pope John Paul II begged the IRA to stop their actions on his visit to Drogheda in 1979, and the appointment of Cahal Daly as Archbishop of Armagh made it very clear what the view in Rome was (Daly had attracted a lot of attention while Bishop of Down and Connor for his condemnation of the IRA). I grew up in a very republican town in the Republic (several people arrested on Eksund were from my town, including the skipper) and attended a Catholic school. I was never in any doubt that the actions of the IRA were in opposition to the Catholic leadership. To pull this back to the topic of Islamic terrorism, one of the issues in Islam is that there is no hierarchy equivalent to that of Anglicanism or Catholicism so there is no defined leader to make the sort of condemnations we need to hear. But the fact remains that if 19% of British Muslims felt the 7/7 attacks were justified, that means 81% of them don't. So lets not demonise all Muslims over the actions of a dangerous minority.
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2006 on 10/8 at ConservativeHome's ToryDiary
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Simon Heffer reminds me of General Melchett in Blackadder with his constant argument that the Tories should keep using the strategy that failed them in both the 2001 and 2005 elections. "And that is what is so brilliant about it - doing exactly what we've done nineteen times before..."
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The analogy with UK PLC can only go so far - and I was trying to focus on the status of individual MPs, whose job security does dependent on their constituents, rather than the CEO. If the voters don't like their representative, they have options to vote elsewhere, but as we know, voters tend to decide on the colour of the candidates rosette rather than the individual candidate's merits. As you say "Exactly. It's democracy, not the business world. You win or you lose. No compo. No second prize. No appeals tribunal. No £800k because the whips bullied you." I totally agree with that. But thats also the reason I suggest that salaries for those elected are not particularly high.
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The problem with setting the rewards for MPs to be "no pension and a salary exactly that of the national average. Thats the only way to start getting extraordinary people back into politics, and get rid of the career minded non-entities that currently predominate" is that you'd effectively price out most 40 somethings from Parliament. Only those that are independently wealthy, or have no family commitments would then put themselves forward for parliament.
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Tom Tom writes of the DUP "It is still the largest party in Northern Ireland". This may be true, but doesn't really prove that much - if the SDLP continue haemorraging support within the Nationalist community, Sinn Fein may well end up with the largest number of votes of any party at the next general election.
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Surely Alan Duncan's point was that having an MP from a Scottish seat created constitutional issues, rather than merely being Scottish. He has a very good point, and it's something that needs to be debated and now, before the Labour coronation of Gordon Brown takes place.
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