Web Analytics Trust People (once an Englishman in Philly): 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Good for you IDS

Well done to Iain Duncan Smith for what should be a very worthwhile project. Let's hope it keeps going!

Friday, June 25, 2004

And so it ends...

After three most memorable, formative, action-packed, rigorous but thoroughly enjoyable years my time at Cambridge has come to an end with graduation today. Tomorrow the real wide world beckons.

This blog will continue, however, at this address but in a slightly different form. I've been awarded a Thouron Scholarship to study in the States next year, so I hope to be able to continue to offer interesting and insightful commentary on events and well as the usual tedious trivia!

I came up, I saw, and I conquered.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


To be honest, David Beckham, as captain and set-piece specialist, is probably right: he ought to be able to put a penalty on target. Then again, we actually won the game in the ordinary 90 minutes with Sol Campbell's fantastic goal. Unfortunately the diabolically and scandalously one-sided referee disallowed. Yet more years of hurt...

Roll on the next World Cup. Both I and (I believe) the players believe we can win it.

Free GAP years

Seems like a good idea to stop a rush on cheap university places, to exempt gap year students from 'top-up fees'. Surely it's a little bit unfair that two students can be getting exactly the same 'product' at the same time yet one will pay a comparatively small amount upfront and the other will pay nothing and get clobbered later in life. Quite dissatisfactory.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Calling this a debate does an injustice to the word.

The 'debate' about the EU constitution is typical of so-called political debate in Britain today. We don't argue, discuss and compare but play for points and play for smears and play presentation and the rounds of applause on Question Time. What is needed for the British public to make up our minds is some sensible discussion of what sort of Europe we want.

What is the long-term strategic purpose of our involvement, what will its long-term ideals and structure be? Let's discuss what we want Europe to be for us and what the future is or should be for Britain. Let's be honest, open and straight-forward and not dress everything up as either 'just' an incremental 'final solution' or the single act which will cede Britain to Brussels.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Finals update - Results day

So 2.i it is. I'm actually gutted - 69.5% with 70 being a first. Nonetheless, my friends have all done well, the sun is shining, new challenges beckon.

"If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;"

Onwards and upwards.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Shning light of Estonia

Dr Eammonn Butler makes some great points about the state of the Estonian economy and its great period of growth.

May Week de-bunked

'May Week' in Cambridge takes place not in May but in June, or, more specifically in the week (and a bit) following the end of our full term. I believe that the reasoning behind its bizarre name is that the term used to end in May but in recent years ('recent', of course, in Cambridge terms meaning the last two centuries or so) the term has been shifted later. This also explains why the term just finished, known throughout the world as the summer term, is called Easter Term!

It covers the period between the end of term and graduation, so for graduands it is effectively two weeks long; and for all undergrads it represents an unbelievable period of relaxation and mindless drinking, punting and partying. In blazers. Or black tie. Marvellous...and terribly, terribly British.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Touchy-feely House of Commons

"When MPs are not at work, the Commons chamber should be available for debates by students or member of the National Youth Parliament, say the MPs."

This does seem a bit silly...could well undermine the Cambridge and Oxford Unions...

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Trinity May Ball

Last night I was at the greatest party in the world - the First and Third Trinity Boat Club May Ball. It was absolutely fantastic -words can't really do it justice! Having finally woken up after getting in at 7am I'm going to try to play with the technology to get some pictures up.

Such is the hard life of a politically-interested Cambridge student!

Sunday, June 13, 2004

LibDems let Tories in by back door.

Interesting article.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Great piece in the elections

This is a great piece by Laban Tall. I especially like his point about about it being a three-way battle with three battles in different areas.

The impact of this view is intriguing though - is it a trend or is it a manifestation of general frustration on specific issues?

May Week

May Week in Cambridge always confuses me...everyone seems so desperate to have a good time. In fact, almost too desperate so that they are trying too hard to enjoy themselves - as a result I think people miss out on fun they could have. At the same time it's very easy toget carried away in being chattily nice to everyone that you lose who you really are - and people gloss over others who are genuine and could be real friends!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Finals over finally!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


They will doubtless have their day on Thursday, may well make electoral gains, and will certainly claim that the UKIP is now a serious political force. That claim will be utter, unmitigated, fully-fledged nonsense. Who now takes seriously the Green Party, which gained 14.9 per cent of the vote in the 1989 European elections?

The truth is that the electorate is sophisticated, and sees Thursday's polls as an opportunity to give Mr Blair and - in some areas - Mr Howard a kicking. The voters regard local government as more or less powerless, and the European Parliament as irrelevant: if these elections have any meaning, therefore, it will be as a protest vote, a collective act in mischief-making and a means of sticking two fingers up at the political establishment.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Am I an election fraudster?

Fortunately not, but I could have been - the dodginess of all-postal systems has become worryingly obvious. I received yesterday my second postal ballot for the European elections and this isn't even an all-postal area! I'd even crossed it along with my local election postal ballot before I caught myself and realised what I was doing!

The problem, as I've said many times before, is that postal voting as anything other than a necessity shouldn't happen. The argument that it's more democratic as more people vote presupposes that every vote in a postal vote is as 'democratically valuable' as every vote in a normal ballot. I don't think it will be. Turnout is down because people aren't engaging with politicians or weighing up their policies and proposals.

You don't remedy this by letting people just cross a box on their kitchen table somewhere between dinner and their dessert. Walking to a polling station hasn't proved a massive burden in the past - that isn't why people aren't voting. Deal with the problems and retain the value of voting. If it isn't that great a burden, yet it means people place some stock in the value of voting.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Howard may back peaceful fuel protests

I've been totally supportive up until now (perhaps blindly) but I think this reeks of opportunism. Would he really lower the tax on petrol (though he's right the increase shouldn't proceed)? Should we shelter the market from the price of fuel?

Furthermore supermarkets would have to promote local food helping many rural and farming communities rather than being able to play parts of the country in the far north and the far south off against each other due to the negligible effect of transportation costs.

Why should some be able to disrupt the productive and law-abiding lives of many as they did last time?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

440 000 let down by Labour: there are some numbers for your posters Tony

'The 1 June deadline for sending out ballot papers for the all-postal voting trials will be missed, say ministers.
More than 440,000 postal ballots have yet to be delivered to the Royal Mail but Lord Falconer says the trials are still "something of a success".'

How out of touch must they get?!