Irwin Stelzer admires the Schools Secretary, and so regrets that his admissions policy prevents schools from taking account of a pupil’s prospects of success. Bad news all roundSeemingly alone among my acquaintances, I see virtues in Ed Balls. He certainly is not media-friendly, partly because he has the Brownian habit of trying to bury questioners under a barrage of verbiage, only some small portion of which is relevant to their questions.
What would Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion have said if, on the day that he declared the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, he had known that six decades thence Israel would be encircled by its enemies, hopelessly outnumbered and fighting for its existence? He would surely have said: so what’s new? Next week, on 8 May, Israel celebrates the 60th anniversary of that declaration.
When I visited the National Archives at Kew last week the place was full of them, scurrying about with their plastic wallets in hand, a look of eager concentration on their faces. It was impossible to escape their busy presence as they whispered noisily to relatives or whooped over the discovery of some new piece of information. These were the followers of one of Britain’s fastest-growing craze, the mania for researching family history.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill seeks to end the child’s right to a father figure, writes John Patten, ignoring all sound research in its obsession with ‘discrimination’‘Down with Clause 14(2)(b)’ is hardly a snappy slogan. It is not even as succinct as ‘Abolish Clause 28 now!’, the phrase that so resonated back in the days of the furore over the teaching of alternative lifestyles. But this dense little bit of the parliamentary counsel’s art, buried deep away in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill soon to go to the House of Commons, contains the only attempt anywhere in the world by a government to abolish fatherhood.
Josef Fritzl’s unspeakable crimes against his daughter not only sicken us, says Rod Liddle. They sharpen our confusion about day-to-day parenting in the modern worldYou may, by now, be losing track of Austrian nutters who lock women in basements. The latest is Josef Fritzl, who kept his daughter Elisabeth imprisoned in a dungeon for more than 20 years and fathered a total of seven children with her.
Venetia Thompson, until recently a broker, says that the feminist Fawcett Society should not campaign to outlaw City outings to strip joints: they are harmless after-hour crèchesIt appears that women’s rights activists have hijacked the credit crunch. There could be no better time for the Fawcett Society, led by their director, Katherine Rake, to launch an attack cannily entitled ‘Sexism and the City’ — complete with a handy online, easy-access PDF of its ‘manifesto’.