Is there anything he can’t do?
This is a selection of good reactions to the death of Margaret Thatcher. There are some real nasty reactions surfacing out there, I will expose them in a seperate post.
Mark Steyn has this wonderful quote:
In 1990, when Mrs. Thatcher was evicted from office by her ingrate party’s act of matricide, the difference she’d made was such that in all the political panel discussions on TV that evening no producer thought to invite any union leaders. No one knew their names anymore.
Margaret Thatcher, almost alone, refused to accept the inevitability of decline. She was determined to turn the country around, and she succeeded. Inflation fell, strikes stopped, the latent enterprise of a free people was awakened. Having lagged behind for a generation, we outgrew every European country in the 1980s except Spain (which was bouncing back from an even lower place). As revenues flowed in, taxes were cut and debt was repaid, while public spending – contrary to almost universal belief – rose.
Mitt Romney, defeated by Barack Obama in the 2012 US presidential election, hails Thatcher as a “transformational leader”.
History will enshrine Margaret Thatcher as a transformational leader who helped defeat communism, promote freedom, and bring hope to the oppressed. Her penetrating words and compelling vision will last for generations. Read more »
Boris Johnson speaks out on the Leveson reforms…and he is opposed, believing that only a gutter press can keep clean the gutters of public life:
When the moneymen are deciding where to do a deal, there is something more fundamental that brings them here – a feature of our culture and society that has been true for hundreds of years.
They know that London is about as uncorrupt as any jurisdiction on earth. They know that the deal will be honoured. They know that the law will be clear, and that their security to title is good. They know that they will not be tipped out of their hotel beds before breakfast and detained by the emanations of the state. They know that they will not be imprisoned without trial. They know that to do a deal in London, you don’t have to cut some minister in on the action, or employ their half-witted relative.
You cannot hope to win a contract in London by sending some public official a Rolex or a midnight poule de luxe; and that is because that official would be too amazed to accept, too honourable to accept, and above all too terrified to accept. British business, and British politics – and the nexus between business and politics – have been kept cleaner than in virtually all other countries because for centuries we have had a free press.You cannot hope to win a contract in London by sending some public official a Rolex or a midnight poule de luxe; and that is because that official would be too amazed to accept, too honourable to accept, and above all too terrified to accept. British business, and British politics – and the nexus between business and politics – have been kept cleaner than in virtually all other countries because for centuries we have had a free press. Read more »
These cars should really be called Formula G…G for Gay. They sound like big gay slot cars. A travesty.
Eco-friendly electric race cars could compete on the streets of London next year after the capital was included on a provisional calendar for the inaugural Formula E season.
Sanctioned by the FIA, the Formula E series is designed to showcase advances in eco-friendly high-performance cars. Ten hosts cities have today been named by the FIA, with London being joined by Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Zero emission world-class motor racing is a scintillating concept and I am hugely keen that London be involved in the birth of Formula E.
“It has the potential to highlight the impressive strides being made in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hosting a street race could also be of considerable benefit to our city.”
Formula E also revealed that it has received interest in hosting street races from 23 cities in total. It is hoping to add two more rounds to the 2014 schedule ahead of having to submit a final calendar to the FIA for approval at the World Motor Sport Council in September.
Alejandro Agag, CEO of promoter Formula E Holdings said: “We are thankful to all the cities that have expressed their willingness to host our races.
Boris Johnson makes a good point about the conceit of humans to think we can control the planet:
As a species, we human beings have become so blind with conceit and self-love that we genuinely believe that the fate of the planet is in our hands — when the reality is that everything, or almost everything, depends on the behaviour and caprice of the gigantic thermonuclear fireball around which we revolve.
I say all this because I am sitting here staring through the window at the flowerpot and the bashed-up barbecue, and I am starting to think this series of winters is not a coincidence. The snow on the flowerpot, since I have been staring, has got about an inch thicker. The barbecue is all but invisible. By my calculations, this is now the fifth year in a row that we have had an unusual amount of snow; and by unusual I mean snow of a kind that I don’t remember from my childhood: snow that comes one day, and then sticks around for a couple of days, followed by more.
My mate remarked the very same thing today about a road in his northern town that had a snow closure gate that he never saw used in his youth, and today was used for the first time to his knowledge. Read more »
Boris Johnson tells it like it is as he gets stuck into the Green Taliban over fracking:
If it were not so serious there would be something ludicrous about the reaction of the green lobby to the discovery of big shale gas reserves in this country. Here we are in the fifth year of a downturn. We have pensioners battling fuel poverty. We have energy firms jacking up their prices. We have real worries about security of energy supply – a new building like the Shard needs four times as much juice as the entire town of Colchester.
Our nukes are so high-maintenance that the cost of disposing of their spent fuel rods is put at about £100 billion – more than the value of all the electricity they have produced since the Fifties. The hills and dales of Britain are being forested with white satanic mills, and yet the total contribution of wind power is still only about 0.4 per cent of Britain’s needs. Wave power, solar power, biomass – their collective oomph wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding. We are prevented from putting in a new system of coal-fired power stations, since that would breach our commitments under Kyoto. We are therefore increasingly and humiliatingly dependent on Vladimir Putin’s gas or on the atomic power of the French state.
The Green Taliban are against progress…they want us all to suffer and eschew our technology.
And then in the region of Blackpool – as if by a miracle – we may have found the solution. The extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracture, or fracking, seems an answer to the nation’s prayers. There is loads of the stuff, apparently – about 1.3 trillion barrels; and if we could get it out we could power our toasters and dishwashers for the foreseeable future. By offering the hope of cheap electricity, fracking would make Britain once again competitive in sectors of industry – bauxite smelting springs to mind – where we have lost hope.
The extraction process alone would generate tens of thousands of jobs in parts of the country that desperately need them. And above all, the burning of gas to generate electricity is much, much cleaner – and produces less CO2 – than burning coal. What, as they say, is not to like?
Gareth Hughes will find something not to like…he is the master at protecting himself with the shield of sanctimony.
In their mad denunciations of fracking, the Greens and the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news. Beware this new technology, they wail. Do not tamper with the corsets of Gaia! Don’t probe her loamy undergarments with so much as a finger — or else the goddess of the earth will erupt with seismic revenge. Dig out this shale gas, they warn, and our water will be poisoned and our children will be stunted and our cattle will be victims of terrible intestinal explosions. Yesterday the Observer found some political support for the gloomsters, in the form of a German MEP. His name is Jo Leinan, and it seems he is a prominent member of the Euro-parliament’s energy committee. There were only two countries interested in this procedure, he said – Poland and Britain.
And according to Herr Leinan, neither of us knows what we are getting ourselves into. We are about to release the pent-up shale gas of Britain from its sinister cavities beneath Lancashire and Sussex, and anything can happen. Before we touch the integuments of the planet, he says, the European parliament will produce some regulations to “discipline” the operation.
Regulations? From the Euro-parliament? And these people wonder why we in Britain are increasingly determined to have a referendum on our membership of the EU. I am sure that the SPD politician means well, but just what in the name of hell has it got to do with him? Before he draws up any regulations for the British fracking market, he might care to look at what has been going on in America in the past four years, where the discovery of large quantities of shale gas is turning into one of the most significant political events since the end of the Cold War.
The Green Taliban ignores the progress made in the US. Instead they focus on spurious science and attack anyone who says otherwise.
Some readers are upset at my generalisations about pommy bastards.
There are one or two Pom politicians (that’s about the limit mind you) who could be encouraged to emigrate to New Zealand.
Boris Johnson is one of them, Liz Truss might just be another.
Liz Truss is the UK’s Minister for Education. Unlike our Minister, she has a clear vision, clearly articulated. And unlike our teachers unions, who think that some outfit’s guess that we are 8th in the world is a wondrous achievement, she thinks that education could do better for kids and country.
She attributes Britain’s failure to compete globally to the poor skills of people here.. She warns that ‘the proportion of our population who don’t have basic skills is very high in comparison with other countries’. This is a ‘culture and an education problem’, she says.
Her views on this issue date back to a year she spent in Canada when she was 12. ‘The whole culture was people wanting to do well and succeed. People wanted to be the top of the class, going home and working on your homework was a good thing. While the school I was at in Leeds was the opposite.’ She complains that people in this country have an ‘ingrained attitude that destiny is defined’. She bemoans that this is a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t think that, then you’re likely to do better.’
Does that sound like somewhere you know? She has the kind of aspirations for UK education that Hekia, and more particularly, the self-interested and protective teacher unions could do with here:
Her aim is for Britain to be ‘a very successful country’. In a break with all the early Cameroon talk of general wellbeing, she stresses that ‘you can quantify it in terms of how much wealth our citizens have’. She also wants to see Britain topping the international educational league tables. If she can achieve that, then the human hand grenade will have blown away most of the obstacles to success in modern Britain.
So a dodgy 8th is good for our country? Crap, we should be fighting to be number one, for our kids and for NZ. Would we be poncing about smugly satisfied with our achievement if the All Blacks were the 8th best in the world?
Boris Johnson gives back as good as he was getting and boy did they hate that. You’d hardly bleep out the word tossers though…
Fair enough to my colleague the Mayor of London: he gives as good as he gets. Pace the guys at Guido, I’m pretty sure that’s an F before the beep, not a T, but frankly, if someone’s yelling “scum” at you as you walk along, you’re really within your rights to call them anything you like.
I am a little disappointed he didn’t do it in ancient Greek, though.
While the NZEI and PPTA celebrate mediocrity all around the world is working proof that their ways are the ways of failing and new ways and methods are successful. The unions are intent on providing only for themselves, professing they care for all students while shamefully neglecting 20% of their students.
Michael Gove in the UK is forcing change and one school in a hard hat area is making a difference.
Cicero said ‘a mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than a field, however fertile, without cultivation’. So it is perhaps fitting that his head is on pupils’ blazer badges at one of London’s newest and most audacious schools.
The immaculate uniform is just one thing the West London Free School has in common with other, better-known seats of learning. There is the rigorous discipline, too, as well as a focus on competitive sport, musical excellence, a house system and mandatory Latin.
But what’s truly surprising is that this isn’t a private, fee-paying school, or even one of the country’s surviving grammars, but funded by the taxpayer – and is non-selective. Here is a working example of Michael Gove’s vision of how a state school might be freed from central or local authority control.
If schools are to succeed we must break the hegemony of the teacher unions.
Nor is this just any free school: it was founded by author Toby Young, the most prominent of the campaigners for state-funded independent schools. His WLFS, opened last year by Mayor Boris Johnson, is the scheme’s flagship.
Education Secretary Gove’s encouragement of free schools is controversial. Some fear they will appeal only to the middle class and could undermine existing schools. But on this rare visit behind the scenes, Young was unapologetic about the school or its ethos, which is more akin to that of a prep school or old-fashioned grammar. After all, nine children chase each place.
The school is proud of its strict discipline: one boy was sent home for his hair being too short. The few who get in live in the catchment area or are drawn in a lottery, and enjoy what Young calls a ‘classical, liberal’ education.
Mobile phones are all but banned, classes are small and teachers wear black gowns on special occasions. Chewing gum earns a detention and there’s an hour’s homework daily. Attendance at after-school clubs is compulsory four days a week – subjects on offer include debating, drama, Mandarin and Arabic. The neat blazers, by the way, are supplied by Eton and Harrow’s outfitters.
Young refuses to accept that children from low-income and single-parent households or ethnic minorities should set their sights any lower than those from white, middle-class homes.
‘Too often schools make excuses for children, particularly children on free school meals, children from low-income families. We don’t do that,’ he says. ‘Critics said if you include Latin and expect children to do at least eight academic GCSEs you won’t have a single Special Education Needs applicant, but that has proved to be wrong.
As is usual, the opponents are proven wrong time and again.
‘We were also told that because of the classical liberal curriculum we would only attract rich, white children with educated, middle-class parents. Actually, 50 per cent of our intake have English as an additional language, and 35 per cent are black, Asian or minority ethnic. A quarter of our pupils are eligible for free school dinners.
‘It is a really accurate microcosm of the area it is in, and that is one of the things parents single out – it is a comprehensive mix. Yes, we are attracting children whose parents would otherwise send them to fee-paying schools but we always set out to do that, as well as attracting the very poorest children in the community, because we want our school to be a genuine comprehensive.’
He adds: ‘We don’t have a boathouse, but we have high expectations of all the children.’
By having high expectations it raises everyone’s standards. Unfortunately the teacher unions have really low expectations, which is why they oppose almost every attempt to improve excellence.
Soon after the school opened, two children were temporarily excluded, one for fighting, one for stealing.
Then there was the case of 11-year-old Kai Fizzle, who was sent home after he came to school with a close haircut 3mm shorter than the rules allow. At the time, his mother Tania Scott said the school failed to understand Afro-Caribbean hair needed to be kept short to be easily manageable.
Young says: ‘We were criticised on the grounds that it was discriminatory because the boy in question was black and there were cultural differences to account for, but we thought that was nonsense. You can’t have one rule for the white boys and another for the black boys.
‘One of the reasons Afro-Caribbean boys underachieve is because schools don’t have the same expectations of them and don’t hold them to the same standards as other ethnic groups. At our school we hold every child to the same high standards. What is unusual about our school isn’t that we have strict rules, but that we enforce them. Quite often in school they will have an elaborate code of conduct, but they just won’t enforce it, and that sends a very bad message to children.
‘We have just as many challenging children as the local community schools but they know we have a fairly strict code of conduct and we are not frightened to enforce it.’
Happily, Kai has continued at the school – with regulation-length hair – and Young says he is ‘thriving’. He adds: ‘If you create a well-ordered, structured environment, that makes it easier for children to learn, especially if you have zero tolerance towards disruption in lessons.’
I can imagine the unionist commenters frothing already at those comments.
The school says that, as a result of imposing tough rules early on, the pupils, many from difficult backgrounds, soon learn to behave and are happier for it.
The same applies in general life.
The sooner we stop listening to teacher unions, they are part of the problem, not part of the solution the sooner we can start getting better results from the education sector.
The call for Boris Johnson to get rid of the wet plonker Cameron is growing with new evidence from polls that suggest if Boris was in charge the Tories would get a poll bounce.
The Conservatives would receive a six-point bounce if they Boris Johnson replaced David Cameron as the Tory party leader, a poll new has found.
Research by YouGov put the party’s support on 31 per cent well behind Labour on 42 per cent.
But that advantage would be virtually wiped out if the Conservative mayor of London took charge, according to the poll for The Sun.
About 37 per cent of voters said they would back the Conservatives under Mr Johnson, whose popularity has surged after the Olympics while Labour dropped to 38 per cent.
The results of the survey could fuel fevered speculation over Mr Cameron’s position as the Tory party leader in Downing Street.
Conservative traditionalists have been unhappy over compromises with Liberal Democrats. It emerged at the weekend that an MP was approached to run as a “stalking horse” candidate against the premier.
Some Tory MPs are also looking at Mr Johnson as a potential party leader.