Dennis Sewell

Could this be the solution to the Durham Free School dilemma?

A highly respected academic has stepped forward pointing education ministers towards a potentially face-saving solution to the Durham Free School dilemma. James Tooley, professor of education policy at Newcastle University has written to schools minister Lord Nash with a proposal that he should become a governor of the school, bringing with him the expertise of

The quango state: how the left still runs Britain

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Fraser Nelson discusses David Cameron’s quango problems” startat=1350] Listen [/audioplayer]Last week Sally Morgan reverted to type. After almost three years as a model of cross-party co-operation, instinctive Labour tribalism finally won out as she accused Downing Street of purging Labour supporters from high offices. Of the many Labour types appointed by the coalition

Has the Chief Inspector of Schools really gone rogue?

What’s up with Sir Michael Wilshaw? The chief schools inspector was once seen as a pillar of common sense and an enthusiastic partner of Michael Gove in pragmatic schools reform. Now, he stands accused of trying to enforce a particularly toxic form of political correctness as his inspectors mark down a succession of rural English

Has Ofsted’s Michael Wilshaw really gone rogue?

Another preview from the Spectator Christmas special: Dennis Sewell looks at Ofsted and argues that the Chief Inspector of Schools must revamp his power-crazed organisation. Subscribe for just £73 for a whole year — including full print and digital access, as well as a £20 John Lewis voucher. What’s up with Sir Michael Wilshaw? The chief schools inspector was

Assault on the ivory tower

Look down the list of the masters, wardens and principals of Oxford colleges and you’ll soon see that The Spectator’s contributing editor Peter Oborne was on to something with his theory of the inexorable rise of the media and political classes. At high tables across the university, former journalists, broadcasting executives and quangocrats are increasingly

Pussy Riot were wrong

It’s hard to tell which is the more absurd over-reaction to Pussy Riot’s 51-second performance of political and religious blasphemy in Moscow’s St Saviour’s Cathedral in February — that of the Russian state or that of the western media. It should go without saying that the treatment meted out to the three retro-punks — five

Mission Impossible

At the height of empire, Britain used to send missionaries out to Africa and Asia to instruct the natives in personal hygiene, instil good table manners and preach the gospel. The occasional unlucky one found himself in a cannibal’s pot for his trouble; but mostly they won out, establishing themselves as the kindly, civilising arm

The generation game

‘Intergenerational fairness’ is simply the latest cover for envy Towards the end of last month, a gang of youthful policy wonks started beating up the elderly. This is something we will have to get used to. The proposal from the Intergenerational Foundation to ease over-60s out of their three- or four-bedroomed houses to make way

Punish the rich, hurt everybody

The Bible tells us that the poor will always be with us, but there is no good reason, and certainly no scriptural authority, to support the widespread belief that the rich will be too. As capital has become more mobile, slipping across fiscal boundaries at the snap of an enter-key, so too have its owners,

Punish the rich, hurt everybody | 1 September 2011

This week’s issue of The Spectator, out today (and available for only £1 an issue here), dwells on the new anti-rich mood in Westminster. James will have more on his cover piece later, but here’s the accompanying article by Dennis Sewell to get the debate flowing: The Bible tells us that the poor will always

Who speaks for the world?

In the field of public diplomacy, the tiny Gulf state of Qatar has become a mouse that roars. According to Hillary Clinton, the Emir of Qatar’s television network, Al Jazeera, is knocking spots off the broadcasters of three superpowers in a global struggle for influence being played out across the airwaves. ‘We are in an

Lessons from south London

Having transformed his inner-city primary, Greg Martin has bought a stately home in Sussex – and is preparing to turn it into a fully free state boarding school We’re chatting poolside, which feels somewhat incongruous since this isn’t the Riviera or a spa hotel, but a primary school in Stockwell, one of the rougher districts

Michael Gove vs the Blob

Dennis Sewell says that the political cage fight between the Tories and the educational establishment will be the most thrilling contest of Cameron’s first hundred days The Russell Group, representing Britain’s top 20 universities, warned this week that Gordon Brown’s cuts would bring to its knees within six months a higher education system that has

How eugenics poisoned the welfare state

We live in a country where the poorest members of society are literally trapped. We pay them millions not to work, simply maintaining them at subsistence level like prisoners of the state. Tied up with bureaucratic regulations and subject to crazy marginal rates of tax, there are few chances to escape for Britain’s welfare-dependent. A

The quangocracy laid bare

At last the full facts about our burgeoning quango state are laid bare. The conclusion of a report published today by the TaxPayers’ Alliance is that it’s “big, bloated and more expensive than ever before.” The TPA document provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date listing available of all 1,152 ‘semi-autonomous public bodies’ operating in the