Letter of the month wins Nigel Lawson’s newly updated MemoirsofaToryRadical
Real world experience While your article Are MPsAge-Limited?(TP, Oct) made interesting reading, it failed to discuss the real issue – the increasingly narrow life experience of many of our MPs.
(TP, Oct) made
MPs don’t just determine the laws that are made, but also the quality of decision-making as a process. If our MPs are able to draw upon a wealth of real life experience then the quality of our governance is the better for it.
In recent years there has been a trend for our MPs to be drawn from a very narrow group who have only ever worked in politics, as special advisers or in some similar capacity, as lobbyists or political journalists for example. These people have very little understanding of what it’s like to control a class of unruly teenagers, run a small business, deal with personnel management issues or directly tackle any one of the thousands of other issues that the rest of us in the real world deal with in our ordinary everyday lives.
People from such backgrounds are less likely to be independentminded because they’ve been cocooned in and dependent upon the world of politics for their life and income. That’s dangerous for the public who expect their MPs to challenge the executive and to actually think for themselves. John Reardon Carlisle
Lights, camera, action Despite protestations, the abolition of the UK Film Council will actually create a vital opportunity for a more direct relationship between the British Film Institute and the government. This change is both welcome and necessary for the continuing success of the film industry in the UK.
direct relationship between the British Film Institute and the government. This change is both welcome and necessary for the continuing success of the film industry in the UK. We should remember that British films such as BillyElliot, Notting Hilland TheFullMontyhad huge commercial and cultural success prior to the inception of this quango, and at a time of financial difficulty, it is vital that taxpayers’ money is directed where it will be most useful.
Most importantly, we must maintain and extend avenues for film investment in the UK. The Film Tax Relief programme in particular has raised more than £100m for the sector since its introduction in 2007. With firm governmental support for tax-efficient investment vehicles, the UK film industry will continue to go from strength to strength. Richard Harrington MP Vice-chair, All-party parliamentary film industry group
Leaving a legacy The 2012 Games presents the biggest opportunity we will ever have to inspire a generation into sport, and it has never been more important. More young people are obese than ever before, and it will get worse if our lifestyles remain sedentary. Communities are changing, but sport can bind us together. It also boosts education and reduces anti-social behaviour. A 2012 legacy of increased participation would spread these benefits further than we have ever seen.
It needs funding, with central co-ordination but community ownership, and we must never
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forget that – however entertaining the games will be – they will slip into memory if we fail on legacy. I will be pressing the government to deliver on these commitments. Lord Pendry of Stalybridge and Hyde Chair, All-party parliamentary sport group
Move on up Theresa Villiers is right (TP, Oct), carrying on investing in transport links between and within UK cities will be critical to creating private sector jobs
Total Politics is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the play Onassis the Novello Theatre. Tickets are valid for Monday – Friday performances until 17/12/2010.
the play Onassis at the Novello Theatre. Tickets are valid for Monday – Friday performances until 17/12/2010. Chosen dates are subject to availability.
How to enter Simply email your caption to competition@totalpolitics. com with your name and address before 8/11/2010.
Entries submitted after the closing date will not count.
Last month’s winner “Short of dough? So will your parents when David and I have cut their child benefit” Nigel Galloway
A pair of tickets for Bloodand Gifts at the National Theatre are on their way to you. in the difficult years ahead.
But your feature largely focused on big ticket projects like highspeed rail and Crossrail. And, while important for future prosperity, the evidence suggests that smaller schemes at bottlenecks or pinch points within cities and around our ports and airports actually provide more bang for the buck. And they tackle head-on the congestion that costs UK plc between £1020bn per year. That’s £1.2bn in central London and £70m in Cambridgeshire alone. High Speed 2 matters but isn’t set to operate until 2025. In the meantime, if we’re to get the economy moving, the government cannot allow our cities to grind to a standstill. Alexandra Jones Chief executive, Centre for Cities
Is change good for you? The coalition government’s plans for the NHS involve a radical transfer of financial control and accountability and a significant structural upheaval, but are these plans the right ways to go about it?
Our data suggests that two in five feel that the changes will make the NHS worse; a smaller proportion believes they will make it better. The headline reform puts funding for patient care directly in the hands of GPs – two in five think that this will make the NHS better. However, one in three are undecided. Greater public say in the service they receive is another aspiration. If done well, public involvement can produce services that better meet their needs. Done badly, there exists the possibility of greater inequality. Equally, choice is proposed as a mechanism for greater control for the individual and higher standards of care, but brings the risk of unequal access to services. Finally, patient experience. If the aspiration is excellence, how can we measure whether it’s being achieved and what happens when the government’s well-intended goals of improving health outcomes don’t actually occur. Ashish Prashar Ipsos MORI & 2020 Public Services Trust
Big hitters and big visions
Big hitters and big visions
Ben Duckworth explains how this issue features two of the most formidable negotiators in government
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In November’s issue we’ve secured a couple of cabinet big-hitters – two of the more formidable negotiators with the Treasury before the spending review. Our cover star is Iain Duncan Smith, a man who sees himself as not only the work and pensions secretary but also as someone who is driving the social justice agenda across government. None of the challenges that he has set himself can be described as small. Turn to p38 to find out all about his methods and motivations.
We also talk to Liam Fox on p20 to learn how frustrated the defence secretary gets sitting behind the desk rather than being out and about meeting our armed forces.
We follow up the spending review with coverage you’ll find throughout the magazine, reflecting the wide range of ways we approach politics. Polling from European countries who have already initiated cuts provides some useful lessons, as Andrew Hawkins spells out in his regular column on p8 – not every country which has wielded the axe has proved unpopular. But, of course, some have. We discuss where future growth can come from, with experiences from around the world of spending cuts on p14. For those knocking on doors, read our feature on how to campaign for and against the cuts on p56.
The coalition has rapidly become part of our parlance, considering that before May we had no comprehension of what coalition government meant for modern Britain. One coalition partner is fiercely proud of their independence but the party is shorn of money, and critically shorn of political advisers at the top levels of government.
While commentators ponder the issues that might trip up the Lib Dems in coalition, we examine what coalition has meant for the internal party. What does the future hold for the Lib Dems? Read Amber Elliott’s piece on p42 to find out.
Also inside, we mark the 20 years since Margaret Thatcher left office on p28, while a more contemporary political debate is brought up in my interview with Will Hutton on p32 – what is fairness and why is it currently such a popular theme for politicians to claim as their own? Find that and far more inside this issue of TotalPolitics.
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