English Football and Education

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The message needs to get through to young white males that they may indeed become footballers; they may indeed earn gigabucks like Becks – though the chances are of course that they will not. But even if they did, they would be far better off with a smattering of the education of our continental rivals.

We should blow the whistle on football

But what can you do? wailed the man at the end of my harangue. What can you do when the lads just want to be David Beckham?

I knew what he meant. Here we all are, having a collective fit about male underachievement in schools. We spend millions trying to persuade adolescent boys that they should think of themselves as university material. We launch feeble attempts at social engineering by discriminating against the children of university-educated parents; and yet in spite of all our efforts we only have 13.1 per cent of children from low-participation areas who make it to university – compared with 43 per cent across the nation as a whole.

It is not just that they don’t much aspire to go to university; in some cases they think the whole idea is positively sissy, especially since, as my interlocutor put it, “they look at David Beckham, and they see he’s earning tens of thousands a week, and they think, hey, what’s the point of all this education?”

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Conrad Black

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A story … a magnificent fable of pride and retribution..

In this age of social mobility, when the cereal packet of society is being endlessly shaken .. it is all the more galling if you don’t achieve very much

The essence of all tragic literature is that the hero should be conspicious..swagger around and that some flaw should lead to a catastrophic reversal and collapse

That is the tragic cycle, and how amply Conrad and Barbara have fulfilled it

We owe Conrad and Barbara gratitude

What a circus. What a show. What a wonderful way to cheer a bleak March morning. The English spring seems to have had a crisis of confidence and relapsed into winter. The English cricket team is collapsing – and yet all the way from Chicago there wafts a story to warm the cockles of the heart, a magnificent fable of pride and retribution, and we are indebted to one extraordinary couple for providing it.

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Junior Doctors

there are fantastic candidates who are not even getting an interview for specialist medical training

That is the trouble with our healthcare system. There is no flexibility …since junior doctors must always be paid the same, and have their wages negotiated centrally … and have nowhere else to go if the NHS lets them down

Blair’s parting gift: more doctors for fewer jobs

There comes a moment in every Prime Minister’s Questions when Tony Blair seems to wriggle off the hook. Houdini slips his chains. The greased piglet darts through the ring.

Tony’s trick involves suddenly whipping up his Labour backbenchers like a bunch of drunken Russians at a Black Sea resort. He majestically waves aside whatever charge is being put to him – systematic deception, sale of peerages, you name it – and starts a rhythmic chant about the scale of the expansion of the public sector under his premiership.

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Mo Fayed – Granted Inquest and Jury

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we are all losers .. In granting Fayed both an inquest and a jury, we have made British justice look like a rich man’s toy.

Fayed has deployed all his energy and cash to prove that there was a conspiracy …he is tormented with the unmentionable thought that he is himself partly at fault.

I’ll come clean: I know exactly how Diana died

What joy, what rapture unforeseen! In a decision of almost complete insanity the Court of Appeal has decided that the inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi must be held with a jury, and the celebrations are under way.

For legions of fat-cat lawyers, it’s going to be a binge of expense accounts and refreshers. For the interpreters, the taxi drivers, the hoteliers who will help to look after the dozens of witnesses who will be flown over from Paris, it’s going to be more lucrative than anything since Londonderry held the Savile inquiry. For the journalists, there will be yards of simply eye-popping copy.

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Boris joins Commuters

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MP Boris Johnson joins commuters in a typically packed corridor on the 7.40 a.m. train to London.

Boris takes the (s)train and finds it’s no joke! In fact, it’s a DISGRACE!

Since train operator First Great Western introduced a new timetable in December, Henley branch line passengers have been complaining bitterly. After two months, two apologies from First Great Western and minor adjustments to the timetable, and with complaints still arriving on his desk, we asked our MP Boris Johnson to find out for himself how bad the situation is. On Monday he rode with the commuters from Henley to London. Here is his account of the journey.

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No to war on Iran

the war in Iraq has greatly increased the threat of terrorist attacks in this country and across the world

the dominant power in Iraq is Iran

Iranians have made [the US] look like complete idiots

We must not let Bush wage war against Iran

No, no, let’s be fair. Let’s show the iron logic for which this column is famed. It is time to set on one side the catastrophic record of Bush, Cheney and the neocons, and look dispassionately at what they are now proposing. In considering the case for an attack on Iran, let us try to ignore the results of the demented adventure in Iraq.

It is not easy. The Iraq war has led to the deaths of more than 3,000 US service personnel, about 133 British troops, and anything between 50,000 and 655,000 Iraqis, most of them innocent civilians. There are about 100 Iraqis dying every day, or being hideously maimed, in the course of suicide-bomb attacks. It is undeniable – or at least it is undeniable by anyone except Tony Blair – that the war in Iraq has greatly increased the threat of terrorist attacks in this country and across the world.

But let us momentarily shut our eyes to those truths, and let us decide whether the warmongers are right this time.

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