In the recent proposals for university fees reform, Lord Browne wrote; “The return to graduates for studying will be on average around 400%”. In this world view higher education is an economic investment. If his recommendations are adopted there will be even greater pressure to study only for a high paying job – and a strong deterrent to potential students who are uncertain that they can command the salaries needed to cope. More
Above: Last year's winning film, My Paper Boat
Young film-makers are being asked to take part in an international film competition by entering 1 minute films on regional climate change. The films will be shown on the internet, at targeted political screenings and film festivals worldwide.More
Francis Maude says that there has been no coherent plan by the government for efficiency savings. He is absolutely right – the Treasury’s outlines for the spending review certainly don’t provide one. But I sincerely hope that Sir Philip Green’s boneheaded proposals for centralising public sector procurement do not take the place of one either.More
This morning our Chancellor of the Exchequer will make his conference speech. What he says will tell us much about the focus and priorities of this government. Expect much talk of cuts in public spending, clearing up Labour’s mess and how their decisive action has averted international investors from running screaming from UK government gilts (because of course the UK and Greek economies are SO similar).
That much we can expect. But watch out for what’s missing.
George Osborne acknowledged in his budget speech that the crisis started with the banks. More
We’ve just had a major speech on the economy where the Chancellor ended on his vision of the country’s future. Not, it seems, a future where we live within our ecological limits. No great transition to a low-carbon economy. No recognition that it is well-being that matters, not money. No realisation that spreading wealth is as important as creating it. No acknowledgement that all being ‘in it together’ requires some concept of social justice. Instead we see a country where we all wish to 'work the extra hour' - noses back to the grindstone for perpetual capitalist growth. More
In politics, when somebody tells you that "there is no alternative", it usually means that they are just desperate to stop anybody else noticing that there are several. Where the depth, speed and scale of public spending cuts is concerned, the story told by the coalition government – and dutifully, and largely uncritically, repeated by the BBC – is that we have no choice. More
Yesterday, the Royal Society, the voice in the UK for the scientific establishment, published a new general public guide to the science of climate change. It covers areas of general agreement, broad consensus where there is still some debate and aspects that are still not fully understood. The nature of scientific enquiry is such that there is no such thing as absolute certainty, merely explanations of the world that are waiting to be disproved. But, if deniers of human-driven climate change were hoping for rare succour, they will be disappointed. More