Showing posts from December, 2008

A big turkey

Posted on the Bevan Foundation blog on 31 January 2008 Just a few weeks left then before he potters off to Texas to build his library. Amazingly it turns out he likes books. His former adviser Karl Rove says President Bush has read 95 books in the last three years. Just goes to show that knowledge and understanding are enirely different concepts. The former Yale history graduate will be keen to shape the way he's portrayed in the annals of time. Typically when a leader steps down it is said that history will treat them kinder than their contemporaries. And with approval ratings of minus 45 you'd think that it would be said of President Bush. But not so. A fascinating, and disturbing, oral history in the latest edition of Vanity Fair gives the candid accounts of some of the key players in his administration. Taken together they form a damming indictment of the the 43rd President of the United States from the mouths of his own allies.
Posted on the Bevan Foundation blog . Contribution to debate on what have been the most over-rated and under-rated issues of 2008 Over-rated : The establishment of the All-Wales Convention under Sir Emyr Jones Parry. It is a well used tactic, set up a committee to discuss a difficult issue of the day: take minutes, spend years - as Harold Wilson cynically said of the Royal Commission on the Constitution. Since then there have been several more on devolution. The Jones Parry Commission is likely to report so late that there won’t be time to hold a referendum before 2011 – even if there was the political will to do so. Under-rated : An Assembly Committee this year called for an all-Wales independent advocacy body to be set up to give looked after children a voice. A child in the care of the state is more likely to go to prison than University. And yet where’s the outcry? These children get a crappy deal. If my child is bullied in school I'd be straight in to see the Head - who is t

Christmas number 1?

Posted on Bevan Foundation blog on 19th December Bugger the X-factor, Tom Bodden has a Christmas cracker for your ipod - set to the tune of 'My favourite things': iPods and web sites, and repairs in the kitchen, Bright Dyson cleaners and warm woollen duvets, Digital cameras, without any strings, These are a few of my favourite things. Cream coloured curtains and thousand pound sofas, Food bills and gas bills, and kettles and toasters, Sat navs, and Sky subs, and restaurant meals, These are among my favourite deals. Pays party rent for office and cleaning, Interest on mortgage for second home pending, Wide screen TV sets with surround sound and stand, Throw in insurance, before it gets banned. When the hacks bite, when the polls swing, When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favourite things, And then I don't feel so bad.

The efficiency drive

Posted on the Bevan Foundation blog on 16th December 2008 What a story ! I'm tempted to say you couldn't make it up, but.... A GOVERNMENT initiative to save £57m was run so badly from its Welsh HQ it ended up costing the taxpayer £81m instead. The project, to share back-office functions for the Department for Transport, went so disastrously wrong the IT system frequently sent messages to staff in German. Today the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes a scathing report into the fiasco, which the MPs describe as “one of the worst this committee has seen”.