Showing posts from December, 2013

Two views on immigration

This morning has brought a couple of different pieces in the newspapers about immigration which are worth a short comment. Firstly, in the liberal-left’s house rag the Guardian , former New Statesman and Independent on Sunday editor Peter Wilby has written an interesting piece on how the Labour Party could somehow banish immigration concerns by seeking to restore the “historic bargain” with its traditional working class supporters on wages (which stagnated during the last great phase of immigration during the last Labour government). Then in The Daily Mail , the liberal-left’s bête-noire, comes a front page story that England has now overtaken the Netherlands as the most crowded country in Europe (excepting tiny Malta), with 411 people per square kilometre, compared to 374 in 1997, and with an estimate of an increase to 460 by 2030. The [Hate] Mail’s journalism is often dismissed on the left as shrill and heavily biased, but besides the typical tabloid hyperbole and

On Labour Party Reform - my submission to the Collins Review

  How we do things is who we are The Labour Party’s internal problems are largely down to a lack of ethical standards in the party culture. I joined Labour around three years ago and it has become clear to me that conflicts of interest are rife in party organisation, seemingly at all levels, and are exploited widely by those in positions of responsibility. The way we do things is who we are, and the way we organise processes is often dominated by group- and self-interests rather than commitment to any values or ethics . There is a culture of fixing which encompasses all factions and all powerful groupings within the party, not just the major unions.   The ethical framework this relies upon is anti-ethical, the justification being that it is right to fix and manipulate processes in order to secure the right result. This is anti-democratic and indicative of the poor state of democratic culture and practice within the party. Also, positive discrimination processes con

Labour’s double standards on gender segregation

Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna has gained a whole load of plaudits with his unequivocal opposition to Universities UK’s advice on gender segregation at events hosted by universities . Umunna, whose brief covers university education, told the website Left Foot Forward : “It is deeply troubling that Universities UK has issued guidance suggesting that segregation would be tolerated at higher education institutions. It was mistaken to do so,” he said. “A future Labour government will not tolerate segregation in our universities – it offends the basic norms of our society. People should, of course, be free to practice their religion privately, at places of worship and religious events, but universities are publicly-funded institutions of teaching, learning and research and state-sponsored segregation would be utterly wrong .” So, ball placed firmly in the political net there by Umunna amidst the gathering outcry, which David Cameron and Michael Gove

Gender segregation, and a clash of ideologies

‘Segregation’ is quite an emotive word, especially now with thoughts of Nelson Mandela and apartheid fresh in our minds. But segregation in practice isn’t such a simple issue as many people make out. A report from Universities UK offering guidance on how to deal with external speakers has ignited quite a storm over the issue of segregation, specifically over a hypothetical case study example of   a religious speaker wishing for his event to be segregated according to gender. It’s probably worth quoting the scenario (not quite in full): “A representative of an ultra-orthodox religious group has been invited to speak at an event to discuss faith in the modern world. The event is part of four different speeches taking place over the course of a month exploring different approaches to religion. The initial speaker request has been approved but the speaker has since made clear that he wishes for the event to be segregated according to gender. The event organiser has foll