02/04/2011
2 Apr 2011

02 April 2011

2 Apr 2011

02 April 2011

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James ForsythJames Forsyth
EXTENDED VERSION: Playing the heavy

A longer version of James Forsyth's interview with Eric Pickles, the Cabinet’s surprisingly intellectual bruiser There are politicians who shy away from confrontation and those who relish it. Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, is firmly in the latter camp. As we sit around a small table in his room in the House of Commons, he entertains with war stories from his days as the budget-cutting leader of Bradford City Council at the end of the Thatcher era.

EXTENDED VERSION: Playing the heavy
Ross Clark
A declaration of independence

In ten years’ time Oxford and Cambridge universities could be shining examples of social diversity, their student bodies reflecting the exact composition of the British population, a few sons of aristocrats educated alongside the children of benefit claimants from Teesside and a greater mass of suburban middle classes; all of them learning how to rub along with people of different cultures, attitudes and accents.

A declaration of independence
Ivor Roberts
Oxford under siege

The government’s interference in university admissions is unjustified – and may yet push our strongest institutions to go it aloneIt is a well-worn tactic for politicians to distract attention from their own failures by picking on an outside target. Thus Nick Clegg’s recent attack on Oxford and Cambridge last month for proposing a maximum of £9,000 in tuition fees. ‘They can’t charge £9,000 unless they can prove that they can dramatically increase the number of people from poorer and disadvantaged backgrounds who presently aren’t going to Oxford and Cambridge,’ said the Deputy Prime Minister.

Oxford under siege
Melanie McDonagh
Adultery rewarded

Funny, isn’t it, how the unthinkable becomes the thinkable, then the possible, then the acceptable and finally the inevitable? You can see the process in motion when it comes to the prospect of the Duchess of Cornwall becoming Queen Consort in Waiting. Once, the Duchess was lucky to appear in public without getting pelted with bread rolls; now she’s allowed on The Archers, having redeemed her cameo appearance with a plug for osteoporosis awareness, and, ahem, for Duchy Originals shortbread.

Adultery rewarded
Rod Liddle
Are we supposed to think of heroin users as just another persecuted minority?

‘When I’m rushing on my run, And I feel just like Jesus’ son And I guess but I just don’t know, And I guess but I just don’t know.’ Lou ReedWould we be happier, do you think, if we all took large quantities of heroin? It would take the edge off some of the misery, I suppose. A house guest of mine once left the room to ‘jack up’ — as I believe the act is known — just as The X Factor came on the television.

Are we supposed to think of heroin users  as just another persecuted minority?
James Bartholomew
Legitimate question | 2 April 2011

Yoshiko found she was pregnant and talked to her live-in lover about what they should do. His attitude was not exactly out of the PC book of ‘The Right Things To Say When Your Girlfriend Says She Is Pregnant’. He said he was prepared to marry her as long as she accepted that she would have to carry on with her full-time job; she must also care for the child and, for good measure, do all the housework.

Legitimate question | 2 April 2011
James Forsyth
Playing the heavy

An interview with Eric Pickles, the Cabinet’s surprisingly intellectual bruiser There are politicians who shy away from confrontation and those who relish it. Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, is firmly in the latter camp. As we sit around a small table in his room in the House of Commons, he entertains with war stories from his days as the budget-cutting leader of Bradford City Council at the end of the Thatcher era.

Playing the heavy
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