Educating Mr Miliband and Mr Di Canio

Education is the formation, by means of instruction, of mental habits and an outlook on life. It is unsurprising then, when people who have the same type of education, such as those who went to public schools or those who were educated in trades and trade unions, tend to have very similar outlooks. They may, as a group, differ in the detail, but the thrust of what they have as their weltanschauung occupies reasonably well defined parameters. I can illustrate this by two examples in the news. Continue reading

Moving on from the Iraq war

When a politician says that it is time to “move on” what he or she usually means that they want a public debate about a topic to stop, because they find it inconvenient to talk about it. David Miliband, former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, thinks that we should all stop talking about the war in Iraq. Continue reading

lobbying for biomass

If I want to meet a Government Minister to explain a proposal or to influence some item of policy, I write a letter. I rely on the Minister’s civil servants to read the letter, assess its importance compared with the Minister’s overall tasks and job requirements and then to compose a reply which in accordance with the ministerial objective either grants me access or not.

I do understand that Ministers are bombarded with requests for access. They cannot see everyone and there has to be some objective system of granting access to those that want to explain or ask for a policy or a change of policy. It seems to me that Ministers have no confidence in their own civil servants to make the appropriate judgements. The proof lies in the existence of paid lobbyists. Continue reading

Three ways to secure our energy – but has the scramble started?

If a week is a long time in politics then five months is so long that the policies that were espoused then as solutions are as odd to us as those that were offered a hundred years ago.

It was only a month ago that our Foreign Secretary, David Miliband made an important speech at the London School of Economics. Mr Miliband is one of these very bright people who went to Oxford where he studied Politics Philosophy and Economics and his subsequent career has been exclusively in politics, as far as I can gather.

He argued in his important speech that there was a “resource crunch” which has led to prices of fuel and food rising tremendously. Continue reading