Decisive action is essential to tackle Britain’s housing market problems

(c) kandyjaxx

Tom Bailey

The report by the National Housing Federation (NHF) published today warns of the dire state of the UK housing market. As a result of ‘a chronic under-supply of homes’, we are likely to see a fall in people owning their own homes over the next decades with a forecast that the average house price in England will ‘rise by 21.3% over the next five years from £214,647 in 2011, to £260,304 in 2016’. For some, this will come as good news. Read more of this post

Aberdeen University will charge £27,000 for a degree

LeftCentral has received a disturbing press release from the National Union of Students’ Scotland branch this evening, confirming suspicions that a Scottish education will go from being a cheaper option for UK students to a more expensive option. Read more of this post

An uncertain future for history students?

(c) SolGrundy

Georgia Lewis

In a rather one-sided piece in The Daily Telegraph, a Conservative MP said that Labour was apparently to blame for potentially one hundred and fifty thousand students missing out on the chance to study history. It was then pointed out that this decline in the study of history is only happening in state schools. History is as popular as ever in non-government schools. Cue further hand-wringing as these privileged students are more likely to get Oxbridge university places.

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Swift justice on rioters may not be the best long-term solution

(c) Still Burning

Georgia Lewis

Inevitably, there is plenty of talk in Britain as to what we have learnt since the riots and what can be done to stop this ever happening again. Some people, like Pauline Pearce, are making sense, others, like David Starkey and EDL Twitter accounts, are making unhelpful and divisive comments about race that oversimplify a complex situation.

Yet in the midst of the chatter on radio, online and in miles of newspaper column inches, not much has been said about what will happen once those sentenced to prison terms are in jail. Who cares, some may ask. It is easy to dismiss everyone involved as a useless fool who will never amount to anything.  Read more of this post

The euro crisis reveals the bitter division within the Conservative party

(c) XiXiDu

Tom Bailey

Potential eurozone integration may not have the fiery pictures of riots to accompany, but it is of enormous long-term importance. While we have become used to regular stories of the divides between the coalition partners, the more interesting split on this issue is that within the Conservative party, a divide becoming increasingly evident as the euro crisis deepens. This crisis emerged from problems which eurosceptics predicted would result from having a half-baked euro, one with monetary union but not fiscal union. These issues have come to fruition in recent years and show no signs of ceasing. Read more of this post

Feed-in Tariff: An excellent project in need of long-term confidence



Tom Youngman is a member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition‘s delegation to the United Nations climate change negotiations and part of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Youth Advisory Panel

Last Sunday I watched the first episode in the new series of ‘Dragon’s Den’. At around 9:45 came the serious proposition, the project that (we’ve all now pretty much sussed the show’s structure) will definitely get investment. As a sustainability activist, it pleased me greatly to see Chris Hopkins, MD of Ploughcroft, a solar panel installer, occupying this slot.  Read more of this post

Taking rioters’ benefits away could cause deeper problems

A mass clean-up in London has already ensued (c) Burma Democratic Concern

Katy Owen

David Cameron today returned to the worrying theme of ‘broken Britain’ in a speech outlining his intended response to last week’s riots. The theme is worrying not because I disagree that there are parts of British society which could be labelled ‘broken’ (rich and poor alike), but because of the issues he chooses to attach to this idea.

For example he equates ‘children without fathers’ with selfishness and bad behaviour as signs of a collapse of morals. Recent research may have suggested that children from single-parent families are more likely to be badly behaved, but this is likely due to factors coinciding such as poverty and unplanned pregnancy. A recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies have shown that marriage has little effect on children compared to educational background. Read more of this post

We need real answers, not screaming redtops and ranting broadsheets

(c) hozinja

Georgia Lewis

Coverage of the past week’s riots has made armchair tutters of most of us. It has been a week where a lot of us have had our values and beliefs challenged, a week where people of all political persuasions have qualified comments with prefaces such as “At the risk of sounding like a Daily Mail reader…”

But amongst the predictable screaming headlines of the remaining redtops, the coverage has been peppered with incidents that have been truly bizarre. By the second day, one Sky News reporter was talking about extensive damage in Enfield while standing over what looked like a spilled strawberry milkshake. Read more of this post

A blog celebration of Jimmy Reid

A photo of Jimmy Reid addressing shipyard workers

(c) Learning and Teaching Scotland

To commemorate the first anniversary of Jimmy Reid’s passing and celebrate his life, on 10/08/11 we have published here the transcript of his Rectorial Address to Glasgow University, described by the New York Times as “the greatest speech since the Gettysburg Address”. If you’re interested or have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. To learn more about Jimmy Reid, Learning and Teaching Scotland is a good resource.  Read more of this post

There is a larger debate we need to have about SATs

(c) dlisbona

Sam Burt

Last week, this year’s results for national curriculum tests, or ‘SATs‘, were published for almost all 11-year olds in England. They were closely followed by the now familiar refrains of the main teachers unions – which want to replace SATs with teacher assessment – and the schools minister – who highlighted the annual rise in the proportion of students achieving the level 4 standard in individual subjects, whilst restating his understandable concern that a third of primary pupils are finishing without attaining a level 4 across the board.  Read more of this post