And so it is settled. Despite overwhelming opposition from the passengers who travel on it, the workers who run it and the communities who depend upon it, East Coast will be carved off from its current public operator and handed over to a consortium dominated by Stagecoach, but with the cheerful Virgin logo stuck on.
With the hurry by the Conservative-led government to pull off major constitutional reform before the next election, it seems that Mancunians, yet again, will have to endure a Tory re-organisation of a city their party long ago abandoned outside the Trafford enclave.
This year’s Prince’s Trust Youth Index on the emotional and mental wellbeing of my generation came out last Wednesday, with the news that one in 10 young people (16-25) feel they cannot cope with day-to-day life, and 28% of all young people feel depressed “always” or “often”.
The Autumn Statement is upon us, though delayed this year well into Advent. The timing may well be more appropriate. In it we expect to see little of Keats’ “mellow fruitfulness”. Rather the British economic outlook fits C.S. Lewis’s words, “Always winter, but never Christmas.
Henry IV of France, facing a conflict between his faith and a chance to be king, declared “Paris is worth a mass.” There are rumblings, as there always are when Labour are out of office, that getting into government again might be worth a coalition.
I made the trek up to Durham last week for Unite’s political school and the Miners Gala. Just a fortnight after Unite’s Policy Conference in Brighton, and with a cold hanging over me, I had considered whether I was really this committed. However in the intervening time I received a (completely unsolicited) letter from the Communist Party.
Anthony Blair’s musing over a return to British political life has caused much consternation amongst the Labour movement. The two great criticisms of New Labour as a project, that it was too close to Big Finance and Big Media, are being thrown into sharp relief by Leveson and the events at Barclays.
417. That is, at time of writing, the British death toll for the Afghan war. The latest victim was Pte Gregg Stone. He was 20. To put it another way, he was 9 when the planes hit the World Trade Centre.
After over a decade, the victories of the Western Alliance in Afghanistan are hard to spot.
There have been a few stories on our boys in blue these last few weeks. The march by off-duty officers was received with a sort of curiosity by much of the union movement, as was their treatment of the Home Secretary. It’s like seeing the beagles start growling at the huntsmen.
Golden Dawn now sit in the Greek Parliament. The National Front achieved their highest ever vote share in France.
Yet in Britain the BNP vote collapsed last week, with all their councillors up for re-election going down to defeat, and the party coming last in the London mayorals.
There are 2.65 million unemployed people in Britain. 1.7 million people are on the waiting list for social housing, while 2 million say they struggle to pay their rent or mortgage. I would not be the first person to point out that a mass programme of house-building would go some way to alleviate the unemployment problem.
Yesterday our Anglo-Saxon protestant nation celebrated the accomplishments of a Middle-Eastern Catholic in slaying a monster from Germanic folklore.
Personally I‘m all for it, especially the recent campaign to get us another bank holiday. We have the fewest in Europe and any excuse is a good one.
As the great man said, you can’t have one without the other. That’s the issue at the heart of the government’s reforms, and why calls for ‘traditional’ marriage are confused.
Traditionally marriage has little to do with romantic love, and only a passing dalliance with monogamy, at least as far as men are concerned.
On Tuesday George Osborne expressed his incredulity that some of the richest people in our society pay the least tax. This once again brings to the fore the supposed distinction between avoidance and evasion, one which even the excellent Richard Murphy was not entirely clear about on the Moral Maze last month.