They always have done, haven’t they?

Oxford University will offer places with lower grades to students from disadvantaged backgrounds for the first time in its 900 year history.

The radical scheme marks a “sea change” in the university’s admissions process. However it comes amid criticism from middle-class Oxford rejects and headteachers that private school students are being “squeezed out” by the University’s current diversity drive.

From 2020, 250 state-school students will receive free tuition and accommodation as part of a multi-million-pound recruitment bid for disadvantaged students.

However 50 students in the new intake – who will include refugees and young carers – will be eligible to receive offers “made on the basis of lower contextual A-level grades, rather than the university’s standard offers”.

Umm, isn’t it colleges who let people in? And offers have always been made upon more than just grades.

How else did the daughter of the Observer’s literary critic get in?

Those mystery Brexit Party donations


The Electoral Commission is under mounting pressure to launch an investigation into the funding of Nigel Farage’s Brexit party because of concerns that its donation structure could allow foreign interference in British democracy.

Before Thursday’s crucial European elections, Gordon Brown has written to the Electoral Commission calling on it to urgently examine whether the party has sufficient safeguards on its website to prevent the contribution of “dirty money”.

The former Labour prime minister will use a speech in Glasgow on Monday to say an investigation into the Brexit party’s finances is urgent and essential.

“Nigel Farage says this election is about democracy. Democracy is fatally undermined if unexplained, unreported and thus undeclared and perhaps under the counter and underhand campaign finance – from whom and from where we do not know – is being used to influence the very elections that are at the heart of our democratic system,” he will say, according to pre-released extracts.

“Now Mr Farage heads a new Brexit party, which is making questionable claims about the true source of its funding at a time when the Electoral Commission has warned of the dangers of multiple, small, anonymous donations being a cover for dirty money.”

While other parties require personal information from donors, the Brexit party allows donations of less than £500 via just a PayPal account, which critics said leaves the way open to abuse by foreign donors wishing to influence British elections.


13 paragraphs later we are told:

Only donations over £500 have to be declared under British law.

Good innit? Absolutely obeying the law preciselyt to every jot and tittle, is undermining democracy. Because, of course, it’s the wrong people obeying the law.

A certain amusement here

Ruth Hunt hasn’t had an easy ride. The outgoing chief executive of Stonewall has been accused of driving away donors. She has been charged with running “a militant trans agenda” by one former supporter and “[losing] what the big principle was” by another. Earlier this year the Times and Daily Mail claimed her resignation as a victory in the face of “growing protest by leading gay and lesbian supporters”.

For the head of a charity campaigning for lesbian, gay, bi and – under Hunt – trans rights, it might have been crushing. But Hunt, 39, is unflappable and unapologetic.

“The truth is, the support for our position significantly outweighs the opposition,” she says. And for proof, she points out that in her five years in the job, Stonewall has more than doubled in size, expanding from 75 to 160 staff, while its income has grown from £5.4m to £8.7m.

The organisation campaigning for trans rights has more employees than actually have the chop in any one year.

Well, OK, not really. But it’s a substantial proportion, I’ve not got the latest numbers:

The number of gender reassignment surgeries carried yearly on the NHS has tripled
since 2000, figures show. In 2000, 54 surgeries were carried out, compared with 143
in 2009, the Daily Telegraph reports.

We are approaching bureaucratic perfection, are we not? Where there are more shuffling paper than there are customers?

Rather more seriously, note that definition of success within a bureaucracy. Increased head count, greater budget. No reference whatsoever to greater output….

Oh Aye?

Robin Stafford says:
May 19 2019 at 10:24 am
Not surprisingly it prompted a typical response from Tom Worst(of)all –
I thought CapX was bad but the Continental Telegraph sets an equally low bar for right wing ravings.
However it does highlight an issue for those working on inequality, that the data is open to be spun or abused selectively. As a for instance, the right are fond of saying that global poverty has come down significantly whilst ignoring that this is overwhelmingly driven by China. Similar games are played on incomes and wealth.
There’s a useful piece of work to be done to unpick all those right wing assertions

So, how about that assertion then?


Richard Murphy says:
May 19 2019 at 11:11 am
I suspect there is no one who takes Worstall seriously and the CT is simply a front for him

I am not sure the Telegraph are amused. They got rid of him long ago

Did they?

29 Mar 2019, 10:33am
Comment: The EU is shutting out views that do not chime with the Brussels elite. We can’t leave too soon


The NHS, eh?

My one, by all accounts, is one of the better ones, less overloaded than the English ones. But it can’t afford to have reception staff full time, and the delay between a doctor dictating a letter and having it typed is two months.

Who, in this day and age, gets secretaries to type their letters?

Reading the sidebar of shame

We should, occasionally at least, educate ourselves on the preoccupations of others in our shared society:

Shirley Ballas, 58, reveals she’s ‘happier than ever’ with new beau Daniel Taylor, 44, as she admits he had no idea who she was when they first met during panto

So, err, who is she then? She looks both a bit young and a bit white to have done those James Bond themes doesn’t she?

Well, why not?

A minister in Tony Blair’s government who resigned over an undeclared home loan to Peter Mandelson has condemned as “a lie” claims that he was a communist spy during the Cold War.

Geoffrey Robinson, a Labour MP since 1976, said the allegations that he had passed secrets to Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s were a “complete fabrication”.

Not that he was, of course, but if he was he wouldn’t have been the only one now, would he? No one who has ever even heard of the accounts of the Morning Star would think that.

America’s abortion war on women

It’s really not quite that simple:

Moreover, as tempting as it is to think of Ivey, the executioner’s friend, as a monster who happens to be female – in which the worst qualities of Agatha Trunchbull, Dolores Umbridge and Margaret Atwood’s Aunt Lydia manifest as a homely-looking 74-year-old – she runs a state in which a majority of both sexes oppose abortion rights.
Nationally, the slight gender differences on abortion choice have been related by one US pollster, Celinda Lake, to religious faith. “Women are more religious than men, and so women are slightly less pro-choice than men.”

Yes, yes, however. Democracy. Isn’t it supposed to be the people who make the law?

Sadiq Khan is absolutely right here

We are in the middle of a battle for Britain’s soul. On one side are those who want our country to continue to be forward looking, open to the world, tolerant, inclusive and progressive. On the other, those who want to pit our communities against each other, undo the social progress painstakingly made over decades, and who advocate a politics of division.

Therefore vote Brexit Party.

Quite amazingly unobservant

Barry Manilow: glad to be gay, without trying to sell something
Rebecca Nicholson

For some stars, their sexuality is now a commodity that can be traded

We’re among human beings here. Sexuality has always been traded. Not just in the sense of the sexual marketplace but in terms of celebrity – what is it that is being sold?

Rock Hudson wasn’t in the closet because he was gay but because the gay sexuality wasn’t something people were buying at that time. That is, it’s long, long, been about trading sexuality – it’s just which is traded has changed.

Bad logic here

Sats are no better than teachers at predicting pupil’s GCSE and A-Level results, a study has found.

Researchers from King’s College London (KCL) say their findings call into question the benefits of standardised exams.

The study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found teacher assessments at age 7, 11 and 14 were just as effective as using Sats results to predict pupils’ subsequent exam success.

We would rather hope that professionals who dealt with the children for a year would be able to predict results. So, why the surprise? The idea that teachers actually know anything?

Well, Y’know?

Treating our brave soldiers the same as evil murderers turns my stomach

The problem is that brave soldiers and evil murderers are not mutually incompatible groups. If the allegation is that some are both then, well, we’d better try to find out, eh?

Ritchie on financial markets

Richard Murphy says:
May 18 2019 at 10:24 am
These people are market makers

They are trying to create a market in such bonds

That makes then market makers

You are playing technical pedantry

It is unappealing

Tee hee. Even snigger.

Except, of course, this bloke teaches at City University….economics, too.

Interesting linguistic question – what is an abortion service?

Google has already come under pressure in the past for running advertisements that appear to violate its own policies against misrepresentation in advertising, yet the company continues to publish ads for clinics that seem to offer abortion services but are actually opposed to terminations and try to dissuade women from seeking them out.

Offering abortions, yes, we know what that means. Come over here Honey and lie down while I turn the vacuum cleaner on.


But abortion services? Is this just some modernism for abortions?

Or, well, are we talking about some wider thing. Say, an explanation that sure, there is indeed abortion. There’s also this mother and baby home. Adoption exits and there’s a massive hunger for new borns. So, now we’ve offered the service of explaining your options, what?

Or even, is there some Federal funding restriction here? It’s possible to gain access to a flow of tax cash if you’re offering “abortion services” but not if you’re offering “abortions”?

Does this sound professional to you?

The professionalism of the hit on Mr Palmer meant the police were convinced his murder was an underworld assassination.


Police believe there may have then been a brief exchange before the his assassin opened fire, hitting Mr Palmer in the right elbow, the right side of the chest and the right side of the stomach.

It is thought the 65-year-old then managed to stagger away for about 20 metres before collapsing on the ground.

The gunman then calmly walked up to his prone figure and emptied another three bullets into him, hitting him in the left arm, the top of the back and the left hand side of his torso.

Wouldn’t a professional actually be able to shoot? You know, couple of shots, ‘ee’s dead mate?