June, 2012

A view from the ramparts

Jordan Newell  |  30 June 2012

Every year, Armed Forces Day reminds me just how important the military community is to my town. Colchester is a proud garrison town, with military traditions stretching back generations. The army community is an important part of the town, with conflict and ceremony equally ingrained in our local life. Whether it’s shopping in Morrison’s or …

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Recognising our armed forces

Nick Smith MP  |  30 June 2012

We all know the importance of the work done by our armed forces. These brave men and women voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way so that we can sleep soundly in our beds. Sent to battlefields across the world at the request of our government, often at short notice, they give up a number of …

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Ed right on ‘predators’

Paul Richards  |  29 June 2012

One of my early, and, as it turned out, multiple, unsuccessful encounters with girls involved lecturing some unsuspecting sixth-former about why she shouldn’t open her student bank account with Barclays. The reason, as anyone over 40 will tell you, is because Barclays Bank was targeted by the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the 1980s for its links …

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Learning to improve

Simon Blackburn  |  29 June 2012

As an LGA peer, I clearly have an interest in sector-led improvement. But this week’s conference focused minds on it, but I wonder if it will focus hearts as well? Outwith of Ofsted, we have to contend with less external inspection than under the Labour government – applying the longstanding rural principle that ‘you don’t …

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A town hall-Whitehall settlement

Peter John  |  29 June 2012

While some things were different – and there were some very specific concerns raised by those attending – some things were very much the same at this year’s Local Government Association Conference in Birmingham. An all-too-familiar underlying discussion was taking place among delegates about ‘the future of local government’. Despite the innovations and efficiencies delivered …

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Shining a light in

Adam Harrison  |  29 June 2012

Greater transparency is part of the zeitgeist of the political era, as different layers of government rush to publish what they spend, and even the prime minister’s private text messages are revealed to the world at large. Thinktanks are no exception to the prevailing mood. The recently launched website Who Funds You? rated 20 thinktanks …

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Still no plan for growth

Angela Eagle MP  |  29 June 2012

On Wednesday the deputy prime minister published a bill on House of Lords reform. We welcome the legislation. I have always voted for an elected second chamber and I look forward to doing so again – this time with Conservative backbenchers joining us in the division lobby. When the last Labour government took through legislation …

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Not dead yet

Steve Van Riel  |  29 June 2012

Reports of the death of the Tory party are exaggerated, writes Steve Van Riel Last month, a poll by ComRes found that 52 per cent of the public agreed with the idea that ‘the Conservative party is unlikely to win the next election.’ For Labour supporters, that number stood at 74 per cent. Meanwhile, an …

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Labour’s economic cause

Rachel Reeves MP  |  28 June 2012

When Ed Miliband first started talking about the ‘squeezed middle’, many in the political and media establishment professed confusion. But it didn’t take long before the phrase began to appear in newspaper headlines, with the Oxford English Dictionary pronouncing Ed’s coinage their new ‘word of the year’ in 2011. Why has this phrase gained such …

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Banks need a Clause IV moment

Pat McFadden MP  |  28 June 2012

First the public had to bail out banks who bet billions on poor value securitised mortgage packages.  They then had to look on at a culture of reward that seemed from a different planet while they coped with pay freezes and price rises.  Now they find that within Barclays, and very possibly other banks, traders …

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