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Here’s my piece today for The Spectator on Charity lobbying. Like everywhere else, the overwhelming majority of workers in my constituency of Falkirk work in the private sector. Most of them feel that as well as looking after their families, they’re doing their bit for society at large – building buses, refining oil, serving the.. read more →

18 Feb 2015
February 18, 2015

Dr Goldacre will abuse you now

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Dr Ben Goldacre is a medical doctor, writer and public personality. He writes books and a super, genuinely valuable, weekly column for The Guardian which criticise the misleading use of statistics and ‘science’ in public life. Yesterday, he tweeted this link to a short BBC Newsnight package he’d made about how politicians should be ‘punished.. read more →

16 Feb 2015
February 16, 2015

Fracking and jobs

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In the last few months I’ve talked to a lot of people in the Falkirk area about fracking. I’ve also spoken to industry experts across the UK and indeed the world, and the message from all, whether local workers or geologists in Africa, is consistently positive about the new technology. So it may seem odd,.. read more →

14 Feb 2015
February 14, 2015

Scapegoat – a game for all the family

1 Comment

The UK government has decided to scapegoat the obese this week. If fatties don’t seek help to get back into the workplace, they’ll have their benefits cut. Fair enough; they could do with a bit less to eat, anyway. But, hang-on, what about their kids? Won’t fatties keep stuffing their mouths with lard but just.. read more →

13 Feb 2015
February 13, 2015

IPSA’s latest FOI reply, and me

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IPSA is putting out a reply to an FOI request today which will say, amongst other things, that I owe the public body thousands of pounds. This is my only comment upon that for the moment for now. Life is simply too short. In early December 2014, I was notified by IPSA of reply to.. read more →

Those Ashcroft figures!  And there’s more to come. Yet while amazing to see in print, they didn’t truly surprise anyone at all. Although it’s certainly striking how, contrary to the usual daft and pointless polls by the Daily Record, the well-funded and serious polling efforts by the now very credible Tory peer Lord Ashcroft have.. read more →

03 Feb 2015
February 3, 2015

Gallantry medals and killing

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A Royal Marine is reported today as having killed at least 173 people. One of my oldest friends was a Royal Marines Commando sniper and a few years ago I got the chance to chat to a few in Afghanistan. Snipers are unusual in that it’s quite specifically their task to kill – which they sometimes.. read more →

03 Feb 2015
February 3, 2015

Chilcot Report bollocks

2 Comments

Some Labour opponents would like to see the Chilcot Report published before the election because they think it’ll harm Labour. Labour also says it wants the report published but knows it won’t be. Chilcot says he’s not ready to publish. It’s quite obvious that the delay is not due to Tony Blair or any other politician.. read more →

02 Feb 2015
February 2, 2015

University Vice

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University Vice-Chancellors (VCs) are calling for the £9k tuition fee to remain intact. They have plenty of sensible things to say about fee structures and living costs, and so forth.  They’re the experts in how to run our excellent universities well. And yet, because they fought hard against the introduction of tuition fees in the.. read more →

01 Feb 2015
February 1, 2015

Scots populism

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There are 3 political parties in the UK with 6-figure membership. Of these, the SNP has a concentration of members in Scotland (some live  outside) that equates to Labour or the Tories having a million members across the UK. Moreover, the great majority of SNP members are very new, very enthusiastic, relatively young and very.. read more →

I’ve made my views about fracking very clear in the recent past. There’s a vote in parliament today on the subject, though, so let me make my position crystal clear again and explain what I’ll do at the vote. I’m satisfied that fracking’s a technology of low risk. It’s not my job, as Falkirk’s member of.. read more →

14 Jan 2015
January 14, 2015

Surveys and slides

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This post is very much for people who teach and present, although it might be of interest to people who use tech generally – which is most of us I guess. 2sli.de is a simple and effective slide system for teachers and lecturers, designed by Dr Robin Shields of Bath University. It can be used by.. read more →

16 Dec 2014
December 16, 2014

Rape in war, in black and white

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The tragic events in Sydney yesterday won’t return to our front pages. People’s opinions will mainly be formed today from quick inferences and possibly-significant fragments. Would the attack have taken place if ISIS didn’t exist? Should the suspect have been given bail on his murder-accessory charge? Is there much more we, the Australians or anyone.. read more →

David Miliband has given an FT interview. Obviously pitching his usual will he?/won’t he? return to UK politics, he says: “Tony Blair and John Major have said that they wish they’d done their post-premiership jobs before they became prime minister.” And; “I have this residual faith in the common sense of the British people that generally they.. read more →

Amidst signs of a huge swing towards the SNP in Scotland, Labour is saying that a vote for the SNP is a vote for a UK Tory administration. This obviously false statement plays right into the hands of people who say Labour can’t be trusted. In fact, the SNP has cannily made it clear that.. read more →

Labour’s pitch at the moment is that everything in this country is screwed. I’m sort of reluctant to accept that, given that if everything were screwed it would surely have taken more than 4 years for it all to become screwed – wouldn’t it? I mean, screwing everything in 4 years would be an absolutely.. read more →

15 Oct 2014
October 15, 2014

Falkirk Fracking Fine

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Unite the Union, the SNP and a small number of ‘nimbys’ in my constituency of Falkirk are deeply opposed to fracking. For most folk, that’s probably evidence enough that fracking must be a super thing. But I had a darkly-hilarious exchange of tweets today with a constituent who challenged a tweet of mine to the.. read more →

Some UKIP dimwit, aka their Scottish MEP, has explained that his party will concentrate its general election efforts on Scotland’s ‘rust’ belt; “We’re looking at the Scottish rust belt. Seats where there were serious industries that were ­allowed to run down, with no replacement”. Falkirk’s one of these seats, apparently. He’ll be thinking of the.. read more →