More bad news for Alan Johnson. It really is starting to pile up for him - though that is what happens when you are Health Secretary. Sir Derek Wanless, an advisor who was one of the Brown's men who were behind increasing the NHS budget by £43bn over the past five years is about to break ranks and launch an attack on the failure of the scheme. The idea was that £43bn was supposed to deliver a first-class health system. Now, we all know that this is not exactly what we have got, but when it comes from an insider you know there really has been a failure of policy somewhere along the l
The first casualties of the HIPs fiasco have already fallen. It is being reported that many of the first packs have to be scrapped because they have been deemed invalid. It is also reported that other packs are being held up because local councils are obstructing people conducting land surveys - a crucial part of the packs. And to make matters worse for the government next week, both the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors as well as the National Association of Estate Agents are expected to report that the housing market has suffered a substantial slowdown as a result of the scheme.
It is getting to him - and so soon too. That is to say Alan Johnson is already suffering from his role as Secretary for Health as it makes him come out with bizarre policy suggestions. The latest one sounds as though it should have come straight from David "Dave" Cameron's mouth. I am, of course, talking about the £120 fruit and veg allowance for pregnant women. The idea being, it will mean that pregnant women will have enough disposable cash to buy life's luxuries - or at least what Johnson thinks is a luxury - fruit and veg and therefore passing on the benefits to th
Vote Dave! He has come up with a sure fire, water tight, can not fail, genius idea to save the future of this country. It won't be long until we leave our front doors open again, teenagers will stop their underage drinking, boys will stop fighting, drugs will disappear and we'll come together in one big brotherly love fest. This is the future ladies and gentlemen and all because Dave has worked it out - he must have done, the Sun called his plan genius. So, what is it? Send teenagers on national service. And put £500 in the pocket in the process - not to blow on booze, of course. Cameron wants to send every 16 year old on a six week jolly where the bone idle will, for some unknown reason, suddenly want to climb three peaks and the book obsessed class swots will suddenly become sport mad jocks.
Do you ever get the feeling that the government is pulling the wool over your eyes? It seems they can never be straight about how much money they are going to take off you to spend on their latest social experiment or landmark building...
A "national service" for the 21st century will be introduced for hundreds of thousands of school leavers under a scheme unveiled yesterday by David Cameron, the Conservative leader. Young people would be paid a grant, understood to be around £500, for taking part in a six-week programme of community work, outdoor pursuits or even military training with the Marines.
Government in poor value for money shocker! This time, however, it is a "master class in bungling"!
Britain's first written constitution should be drafted by a convention whose membership has been partly chosen by random lot, the Liberal Democrats propose today. Half of those involved should be members of the public, with the others drawn from parliament, and the final draft subject to a national referendum.
The education debate has rumbled on longer than usual it seems this year in the aftermath of the annual GCSE/A level dumbing down standards debate. One of the reasons, I suspect, is that the mass investment from the Labour government is coming home to roost with little to show for itself. An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report today certainly backs this up. It states that despite a decade of reforms when education spending nearly doubled, exam results did little better than keep pace between 1996 and 2006. That is to say while spending on education increased by 83 per cent in ca
Radical plans to create a network of smaller inner city secondary schools were unveiled by the Conservatives yesterday. The party's policy blueprint for reforming public services suggests stealing an idea already used in the US – whereby high schools with 2,000 or more pupils are split into four different schools, each with a separate identity, thus transforming their examination results.
Despite reports last week that the NHS has gloriously balanced the books and managed to hoard £1bn of public money to "reinvest" in the health service, there are reports that Junior Doctors are being short changed by £500 a week due to...
A university student who put her feet on a train seat has been summonsed to appear before a court for "wilfully interfering with the comfort or convenience" of other passengers. Kathleen Jennings, 19, from Oldham, said she was approached by an enforcement officer as she sat on the train. When reprimanded, she took her feet off the seat straight away, but still finds herself facing the possibility of a criminal record.
Good news at the NHS – they are set to have a whopping surplus of £1bn for the year. A turnaround from the £500m deficit last year. And how have they achieved this? Not through cutting costs in areas that have nothing to do with front line patient care – in fact completely the opposite. While Brown and the gang can say how financially efficient the NHS is, the fact is the cost savings have been made by cutting jobs, below inflation pay rises and cuts in services. Well done Gordon - giving with hand and t
Continuing the theme of declining standards in education, government statistics from the Department for Children, Schools and Families reveal that for the second year running writing standards amongst seven year olds had fallen. They also showed no improvement in areas such as Maths or Science. Now, what this means it is hard to sure – it does indicated that at least they aren’t lowering the standards to improve the headline figures. The results have shown, however, that one in five seven year olds is not reaching the minimum requi
Changes to out-of-hours NHS care could mean that serious illnesses in children are being missed, an expert says today.
One of Britain’s leading environmental researchers has been chosen by Gordon Brown as the Government’s new chief scientist, The Times has learnt.
The Daily Mash has really hit the nail on the head today. Yesterday I wrote about the incredibly stupid idea of encouraging more people to take up science at GCSE by making the exams easier. Today the Daily Mash reports:
Brain surgery exams are to be made much easier because not enough people are applying to become brain surgeons, the Government has announced.
Picking Losers usually focuses on the British Government's failed attempts to introduce policy to make our lives safer, fairer and better - the consequences almost always being that they create more problems than they solve and blow a whole load of tax payers' cash in the process. Why do governments feel that they have to intervene at every given opportunity in every area of life? While Britain is bad in this area and becoming more so over time with an incredibly busy executive and legislature and an ever expanding public sector with an economy based on high tax, high spend, thing
David Cameron said last night that the level of immigration to Britain was too high and placed unacceptable pressure on public services and housing. The Conservative leader had previously been reluctant to speak on immigration, a subject that he believes Michael Howard mishandled during the last election.
Do you think the Government's crime policy has come a little unstuck? Or perhaps it never worked in the first place. Either way, you'd have thought they would think something was up from this example alone...
“A 43 year old woman in Northern Ireland is serving her 31st prison sentence.”
As the education dumbing down debate continues where one side argues that exams are getting easier while the other suggests that teaching is getting better, it seems that the Joint Council for Qualifications is looking to resolve the debate once and for all. They are going to dumb down science papers. There, no more need to quarrel over the state of our education and examination system - it is crap. Official. The JCQ says that, from next year, exam papers should consist of 70 per cent “low-demand questions”, requiring simpler or multiple-choice answers. These currently make up just 55 per cent of the paper. This is all in the name of getting more kids to take up science - i.e. bribe them with a good grade. What a brilliant way to get the new generation of scientists, hand over top grades to a bunch halfwits.
This comes with the news that in the past five years, the proportion of students gaining a grade D or better in one of the combined science papers has leapt from 39.6 to 46.7 per cent. So now they are official going to get easier, it seems there won't even be a need for a D grade anymore - which is just as well because most of the students taking science probably won't be able to get that far in the alphabet anyway.
Take this example questions from a GCSE paper (from today's Times):
Many people observe the stars using:
A a telescope
B a microscope
C an x ray tube
D a synthesiser
I am not kidding. That is a genuine question from a GCSE paper. It's like some sort of Richard and Judy phone in quiz.