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Entries by Nik Darlington

Ken Clarke has Been "Found Wanting", Says Lord Howard, in Astonishing Rebuke to Coalition Prison Policy

(0) Comments | Posted 1 November 2011 | (00:02)

Former Home Secretary, Michael Howard, delivered an astonishing and controversial rebuke to the coalition's penal policies in a speech in London on Monday night.

At the Carlton Club's Carlton Lecture, which in the past has been delivered by sitting Prime Ministers, including Margaret Thatcher, the former Conservative party leader, now...

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Tory Grassroots in Manchester Show Little Appetite for Fighting Murdo Fraser's Separation

(3) Comments | Posted 5 October 2011 | (11:51)

The Scottish Conservative & Unionist party held a leadership hustings in Manchester on Monday. In a hotly contested debate (in an even hotter Midlands Hotel), Murdo Fraser, Ruth Davidson, Margaret Mitchell and Jackson Carlaw entreated an attentive audience to support them in their bids to lead a political party at...

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Conservative Conference Diary: conspiring MPs and naughty ministers

(0) Comments | Posted 5 October 2011 | (10:49)

In conversation with a small group of the 2010 intake in the early hours of Wednesday morning I was told this little thigh-slapper.

Q: What is the collective noun for a grouping of three or more MPs?

A: A conspiracy.

So spooky it could have been choreographed, up sidled one...

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Nation Running on Empty, but Optimist David Cameron Wants Britain to Summon Appetite for the Fight

(0) Comments | Posted 5 October 2011 | (10:30)

If the Lib Dems had their heads in the Birmingham clouds, and the Labour party bore its authentic soul on the Mersey, the Tories have kept their feet firmly on Mancunian ground.

It has been variously described as the "flattest Tory conference" in memory (by

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"Words, Words, Mere words", but Ken Clarke is Correct About Reforming Britain's Prisons

(0) Comments | Posted 6 September 2011 | (08:28)

The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has an important article in the Guardian today, in which he blames the riots that swept English cities this summer on this country's "social deficit" between mainstream society and a "feral underclass".

Some people are dismayed by the language used. Be that as...

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Polly Toynbee is Wrong About Tories and the Poor, but it is Equally Wrong to Call her a Hypocrite

(3) Comments | Posted 1 September 2011 | (18:17)

The Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee has made a career out of loathing the Conservative party, so it should come as little surprise when she claims that Tories simply can't understand the poor. This is the woman who described the coalition government's housing benefit reforms as a "final solution"...

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Politicians are Ignoring the Plight of the Great British Pub

(2) Comments | Posted 29 August 2011 | (00:00)

The average price for a pint in a British pub is now £3, according to the Press Association.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) says this is partially due to "huge" tax rises, which make drinkers in Britain amongst the highest taxed in Europe. UK alcohol duties...

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Might a Mansion tax Allow Politicians to Create a Domesday Book for the 21st Century?

(1) Comments | Posted 25 August 2011 | (17:39)

"While spending the Christmas of 1085 in Gloucester, William had deep speech with his counsellors and sent men all over England to each shire to find out what or how much each landholder had in land and livestock, and what it was worth."

So, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, began...

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Will We Blow the Final Whistle on Irresponsible Financing of Sport?

(0) Comments | Posted 25 August 2011 | (17:00)

I got a shelf life of ten years, tops. My next contract's gotta bring me the dollars that'll last me and mine a long time. Shit, I'm out of this sport in five years. What's my family gonna live on? Huh?

- Rod Tidwell, Jerry Maguire (1996)

We can ignore...

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Muslim Students cry Usury to Avoid Interest on Student Loans. Is This Fair?

(14) Comments | Posted 23 August 2011 | (08:16)

The Independent reports that an organisation representing Muslim students in Britain is protesting against the coalition government's reforms to university finance.

The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSI) warns that young Muslims could be forced to sacrifice higher education as a result of the higher rates of interest...

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Clearing up the Mess: What Students Really Need to Know About Fees and Universities

(0) Comments | Posted 18 August 2011 | (08:08)

Tuition fees were abolished last year, but few people seem to have noticed. The cost of higher education is being transferred from the taxpayer to the direct beneficiaries (i.e. graduates) but students no longer have to pay any fees for their university experience. There are expenses incurred as a student,...

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To These Young People, There Really is no Such Thing as Society

(12) Comments | Posted 11 August 2011 | (00:00)

Londoners have passed a night of relative peace and quiet, as opportunistic rioting and looting spread to other English cities.

As shock fades, the recriminations begin. Conservative MPs accuse the previous Labour government of fostering welfare dependency, failing to improve education and forcing fiscal austerity upon the nation. Labour MPs...

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We Know Nothing yet, Except That we are all to Blame for These Riots

(32) Comments | Posted 9 August 2011 | (13:13)

Barking, Birmingham, Bristol and Bromley. Camberwell, Chelsea, Clapham Junction and Croydon. Fulham Broadway. The King's Road. Sloane Square. Notting Hill. Peckham High Street and the Isle of Dogs.

The rioting and looting was indiscriminate, random and terrifying. Shops, cars, police stations, even fire engines and private homes - old women...

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NHS takes on another class of junior doctors: "It's guaranteed to be a shambles but it's not the end of the world"

(0) Comments | Posted 28 July 2011 | (12:09)

Next Wednesday, the NHS welcomes another intake of junior doctors on to hospital wards. If clinical standards slide, they'll be blamed, but will it really be their fault?

For thousands of young people in Britain, next Wednesday is the biggest day of their life so far. They have waited at...

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David Cameron Pleads for Cesc Fabregas to Stay at Arsenal

(1) Comments | Posted 26 July 2011 | (08:26)

The Prime Minister welcomed Jose Luis Zapatero, the Prime Minister of Spain, to Downing Street yesterday. The recent events in Norway were discussed. David Cameron said that both countries had been "victims of horrific acts of terrorism in the past" and that they will be offering every support possible.

Also...

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The Definitive Summer Reading List for MPs

(2) Comments | Posted 23 July 2011 | (00:31)

The comprehensive guide to what MPs (and political enthusiasts) should be taking on holiday with them this summer.

Another long summer recess, another long summer reading list for Tory MPs. Keith Simpson, the MP for Broadlands and PPS to William Hague, is waving colleagues off on their holidays with a...

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If Ed Balls Wants to Watch Cricket at Lord's, Good on Him

(1) Comments | Posted 23 July 2011 | (00:00)

He brings to the fierce struggles of politics the tepid enthusiasm of a lazy summer afternoon at a cricket match.

I don't know who Nye Bevan was referring to back then, but it can safely be said that the sentiment cannot be applied to Ed Balls today. To put it...

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National Countryside Week Shows Prince Charles at his Best

(0) Comments | Posted 20 July 2011 | (09:30)

Prince Charles is a man who has spent much of his life being berated for trivial things (like having his toothpaste squeezed on to the toothbrush, or whispering not-so-sweet-nothings down tapped phone lines) whilst being heroically correct about some of very important things when chatterers decried him a fool: such...

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The Layman's Guide to the Last Ever News of the World

(0) Comments | Posted 11 July 2011 | (20:11)

At the end of it all, the final News of the World has caused quite the perfect storm.

It was heavier than I expected, and thicker, just like my usual choices tucked under the other arm (I won't reveal which: some mystery is healthy in any relationship).

After 168 years...

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Winnie the Pooh can Teach the Government A Thing or Two About Environmental Planning

(0) Comments | Posted 7 July 2011 | (00:34)

In the first Winnie the Pooh storybook, Piglet becomes stranded in a flood of biblical proportions. Holed up in his home, the water rising higher and higher, he fears the worst. Piglets cannot swim. Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear could climb trees; Kanga can jump very high; Rabbit could burrow;...

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