Recent Articles

How the Daily Mail lied about aid to a Ghanian village

by Paul Cotterill     July 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Journalist Ian Birrell recently went to Ghana to follow up on a story about an American aid organisation, and British funding for it.

The headline screams: “How your money is being squandered: The African village where EVERY family is getting £7,500 from the British taxpayer”

The story concerns this five year project in Northern Ghana, and a quick perusal of the Business Case shows that the nineteen word headline contains three lies.
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Why is the police going after racist abusers of footballers?

by Paul Cotterill     June 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

England played football on Sunday and lost, because two players missed penalties. These two players happened to be black and they received some abuse on twitter which linked the colour of their skin to their missing the penalties.

Police are now investigating the tweeter, a “Steve from London”, and his tweets.

So will this charming gentleman end up in prison, Liam Stacey-style, for an offience under the Misuse of Communications act 2003? I sincerely hope not.
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How Labour could oppose Michael Gove’s GCSE terror

by Paul Cotterill     June 22, 2012 at 8:50 am

The benchmark for excellence in response to the leaked ‘O’ Level/CSE plans has been set by Christopher Cook, who shows that the poorest children will be hit hardest:

The most significant issues around this idea are related to social mobility: the CSE will tend to be an exam for poorer children. Consider who would take the CSE if schools could select the quarter of pupils with the lowest average grades with perfect foresight.

Christopher’s analysis is spot on, but the big problem for Labour is Gove’s plans are still likely to be very popular, unless it can come up with a convincing and accessible case against.
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How the BBC is misreporting the Greek election today

by Paul Cotterill     June 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

This morning Andrew Marr had Peter Mandelson on his programme.

Mandelson said that Greece faced a choice between a) coming to a deal with its creditors; and b) defaulting and leaving the Eurozone. [not up on iplayer yet, and I’ll do the exact quote when it is].

This, as I have argued consistently, is simply incorrect.
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Why Greece will do just about anything to stay in the Euro

by Paul Cotterill     May 30, 2012 at 8:54 am

Two weeks ago I was told I was a) economically illiterate; b) talking defeatist ‘cobblers’ for arguing that the Left should get behind SYRZIA and other anti-austerity parties as they refuse to do what they must do to stay in the Euro.

I argued that the pain would be just too much to bear, and that far from being a decisive act for socialism, leaving the Euro could simply tear the country apart, with untold consequences.

Now the National Bank of Greece has set out in numbers what will happen to ordinary Greeks if Greece is forced out:
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Do older people really need more NHS healthcare?

by Paul Cotterill     May 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

Unity’s post yesterday showed how Lansley’s proposals to weight NHS funding towards areas with higher percentages of older people will lead to massive budget cuts in poorer areas of the country at the expense of the richer ones.

As he points out, that is effectively a transfer of funding from ‘Labour areas’ to ‘Tory areas’. But it doesn’t get to the bottom of what exactly Lansley is up to with his argument.

Lansley is in fact correct to say that age is the principal determinant of healthcare need. As people approach being dead, their call on health services increases dramatically.
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The alternative: why Greece should NOT abandon the Euro

by Paul Cotterill     May 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

There are a striking number of self-declared British socialists expressing the view that Greece will be better off just defaulting on its debts and leaving the euro.

Leaving the euro, goes the argument, will be a victory for the Greek people, and a real slap in the face for the Merkelian forces of austerity.

This is total bollocks. Leaving the euro may well be exceedingly good for a few Greeks, but it will be very bad news indeed for the vast majority.
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The far left versus the far right: French election part deux

by Paul Cotterill     May 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

If you thought the French elections were over, think again.

On 10th & 17th June, we have a two-round electoral contest potentially as exciting, and as important for France, as the election of President Hollande.

That’s because Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the leftwing group Front de gauche (FG), has just confirmed his candidacy in the 11th circonscription of the Pas-de-Calais département, where he will go up against Front National leader Marine Le Pen in the legislative elections, at which 577 deputés are elected across France to sit in the Assemblée Nationale.
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How do we deal with the rise of the far-right in France?

by Paul Cotterill     May 7, 2012 at 9:30 am

Of course I’m delighted that Hollande has won, and that Sarkozy is gone. But I’m also worried what the next year will bring.

Marine Le Pen’s refusal to support her natural ally, despite the lengths he was prepared to go to in order to garner Front National votes, really only means one thing.

By consigning Sarkozy to defeat, she has kick-started the UMP infighting, and her very successful one year campaign detoxification campaign now puts her in prime position to pick up a large percentage of UMP votes in June’s parliamentary elections. That campaign started in earnest a couple of days ago.
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The Daily Mail and support for French fascists

by Paul Cotterill     April 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Even by the Daily Mail standards, the decision to publish an article fully in support of Marine Le Pen as President of France is pretty extraordinary, given the paper’s support for fascism in the 1930s.

It is fairly clear that the author has had little recent contact with French politics, and the idea that France will be saved by withdrawal from the Euro and the defence of ‘national identity’ is little more than a sign of pitiful immaturity on the part of the author. But it causes concern when it’s passed through editorial hands at a mainstream paper.

What surprises me more is that relatively little attention has been paid by opponents of Marine Le Pen to what she really represents, and how recent acts continue to reflect this.
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