Social mobility is probably one of the catchphrases of the 20th and 21st century, and we’re constantly hearing about the struggle to open up higher education. I’ve studied in Germany and I’ve studied in Britain, and I have to admit that Germany definitely has the advantage.
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Oh, BBC Scotland. “What Women Want” had such promise. A whole hour on women and the independence referendum, presented by Jackie Bird and featuring an all-female cast of contributors – it could have been just what the IndyRef needed. Given I still have to endure all-male panels and all-male opinion makers on my screen, on my radio and in my newspaper every day, I was rather excited. But much like the parents of a rebellious teenager, I shook my head in disappointment; you didn’t rebel, you stuck with the status quo of feminine clichés and patronising scripting.
I never intended to watch How to Get a Council House on Channel 4. I wanted to gambol, free and happy around the internet for an evening. But then some comments appeared on Twitter, led by right-wing rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins, pouring derision and insults from all corners of the UK. 140 characters isn’t enough to answer all these hateful, ill-informed slices of spite, so read on, gentle friend, and I’ll show you what a poverty-bashing piece of classism it was.
This is a question I was first asked by Scottish internet doyen (and SP’s Eligible of the Year) Lallands Peat Worrier last year. He inquired again earlier this year, and I, sadly, was unable to do more than shrug, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot more in the last month. Why don’t Labour people blog? Nationalists blog in droves. Some of them do podcasts. They’ve gone as far set up their own news service. Some of their blogs are so confident in their status that they’ve taken out adverts in newspapers to increase their reach. But Labour folk… nothing.
So the executive summary of Labour’s Devolution Commission Report has been released (the full version isn’t out until conference) but the party has missed the opportunity to include proposals from the interim report. Corporation tax devolution, radically extended welfare powers – both included in the interim but both missing from the commission’s final recommendations. This is an opportunity missed.