“Rubbish, rubbish, you’re talking rubbish!” cries the Mayor of the greatest city in the world. “Boring, boring, boring!” chants an elected member of the assembly that’s supposed to be holding him to account. Welcome to Mayor’s Question Time at London’s City Hall. Labour leader Ed Miliband worries that the weekly bun-fight at Prime Minister’s Questions… (2 comments)

A little-known secret: being a school governor can be fun. Yes, it’s a commitment. Giving up your time to read and sometimes write policies. Analysing data on progress and attainment. Working out which children are not doing well and why. Yes, it’s a responsibility. Setting the school’s budget and its curriculum priorities. Helping the head… (4 comments)

On one side a shabby council estate, on the other side a pitch-dark park. Not the kind of street I particularly enjoy walking along. Not the kind of place either that small children should be unsupervised at 8.45 on a Saturday night. But that’s where I came across them. Three boys involved in a vicious… (0 comment)

To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” At least when it comes to reports of the demise of foreign language teaching. UK universities are “abandoning” European language courses, according to the Guardian. Over the past 15 years, more than a third have “given up offering specialist modern language degrees.” The same figure… (1 comment)

Oh how we laughed. “It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safely asleep”, began the deep, urgent voice in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 TV ad. “But there’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing,” the voice went on, over pictures of a sleeping child. At the time, then-Senator Clinton was slugging it out for… (5 comments)

Who decided we were all excited? Where did the memo come from stating as fact a collective holding of expectant breath? Not just in the UK but all over the world: All of us were apparently desperate for the happy news of the royal birth. All of us were thrilled to bits when the baby… (29 comments)

Like all those we love most, you are far from perfect. There are the minor irritations, the disappointments, and sometimes much more serious failings that can’t be ignored and shouldn’t be excused. And yet, we couldn’t live without you – literally, in my recent experience – though I fear that’s what the government is planning:… (3 comments)

David Cameron’s years in public relations weren’t wasted. Whatever one thinks of his government’s policies, its mastery of linguistic tactics has been spot on. Repetition has planted key words and slogans firmly in the public discourse.  A party not best known for its unity, not even capable of governing alone, has, with one voice, cleverly… (0 comment)

BBC R4 World Tonight Indonesia Report Remember the BRICS? Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa were the future of the world economy once upon a time. Fast-growing countries with either abundant natural resources or vast forces of cheap labour (or both) and business-friendly governments happily creating middle class wealth. You don’t hear so much… (0 comment)

A former dock worker, 60-ish, ruddy-cheeked, and too big for the bar stool in this central Liverpool pub.  Not somebody I’d expect to find channelling my thoughts. But yesterday, we were in tune on Margaret Thatcher. This past week and a half, I have avoided almost every word written about her. I have turned the… (4 comments)