Around the blogs, again

This week (more accurately, last week; this week I have been dealing with a nasty gastric flu), I have been boring on about DDT over at Tim Worstall’s site, pontificating on economics at Econlog, and setting out the state of the charges for Gorgeous George on Doug Henwood’s mailing list (NB: since writing that, I have become aware that the Charities Commission did not need Galloway’s copy of the Mariam Appeal’s accounts because they were able to subpoena his banking records, so this charge looks rather weaker to that extent).

Not, to be honest, a vintage week for me; I was busy and beginning to get unwell. So here’s one from the archives; a month ago I was shooting the breeze with respect to ASBOs on Blood ‘n’ Treasure. I also have one (1) original piece of content for you, with respect to this from Oliver Kamm, posted here because my CT mates might not agree with it. I disagree with it in two particulars:

1) I have always found Dobbo to be an excellent constituency MP; he sorted out a parking ticket for me, he was very much involved in a number of important local planning disputes (including the proposed redvelopment of a lovely pub) and he has humoured me on a number of occasions when I saw fit to give him the benefit of my political views. I think, but cannot prove, that the difference between my experience with him and Oliver’s may have something to do with relative levels of personal charm and good humour, though I suppose that a consipracy of wretched communalist quasi-Stalinism and stupidity can’t be ruled out as an explanation.

2) Kamm says, in support of his claim that Dobbo is some kind of political idiot:

Allowing universities to charge top-up fees is highly progressive: better-off students lose fee subsidies while poor students receive grants.

Perhaps so. However, the progressive elements of the bill which was passed on January 28 of 2004 (in particular, the provisions relating to maintenance grants; also the repayment schedules and the link to post-graduation income) were not in the original proposal. They were added to the draft Bill on January 8 2004, after a compromise reached with the rebel Labour MPs (among the most prominent of which, Dobbo). In so far as that Bill was “highly progressive”, it was highly progressive because of Dobbo, not because of the Government and therefore Dobbo is right to use it as an example of the government’s “elitism”. It is absolutely vital to ensure that future historians are absolutely clear on this one; it is the most egregious case, but by no means the only one, of the proud boasts that the Blairites trot out when “reaching out to the left” which were actually forced on them in the teeth of opposition by the very people they are trying to run down for not supporting them.


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