Equality of Opportunity

English: United Kingdom's Deputy Prime Minster...
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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has come up with a scheme to help open up top careers to people from less privileged backgrounds. He’s arguing that getting on the ladder in many professions is more a case of who you or your parents know rather than ability, suitability and educational achievements.

I think that part of what Clegg is trying to do may be driven by what this case from last year exposed where:

According to the Mail on Sunday, however, 900 Tory supporters paid a minimum of £400 per head to attend its Black and White Party, formerly known as the Winter Ball, at which an auction of 30 lots took place, including a number of internships. Millionaire backers paid an average of £3,000 each to ensure that their children had a chance to undertake work experience at the companies involved.

Read more: http://www.hrzone.co.uk/topic/business-lifestyle/conservatives-under-fire-internship-auctions/109607#ixzz1jESf38QV

It strikes a chord with me as I have witnessed my youngest son get turned down for internships and summer placements from bank after bank after bank. This was in despite of his impeccable character and his fantastic academic achievements through the first two years of his mathematics degree at a university renowned for mathematics. The thought of nepotism and cronyism was always lurking at the back of my mind but I feel it’s been confirmed.

It’s ended well for him though as he has secured a contract with a local firm including further training and education to obtain a professional standing which will see him well for the future.

I do hope that what Clegg is attempting isn’t just a token piece of electioneering, this country desperately needs to embrace equality of opportunity.

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Double or quits

Snouts in the troughImage by Ruth Flickr via Flickr

The real colour of the establishment showed through recently with the absurd claims by Tory grandees Douglas Hogg and Patrick Cormack. Both are claiming that the pay of MPs should be doubled in return for scrapping the second home allowance.

Hogg claimed that their pay had fallen so low that it was insufficient to support the lifestyle “to which most professional and business classes aspire.”

What better supporting evidence that short of knocking the capitalist system on its head we need to ensure that MPs receive the average workers wage, plus justified expenses.

I really thought that we had left the era of the toffs behind. Apparently not.

County Council Election Results 2009

A disappointing set of results in my county election, Farnborough North in the Hampshire constituency.

First off there was the reduction in turnout for the voters. Likely all of this is due to the snout in the trough attitude of our current and previous Parliament. In 2005 there were 6680 votes cast. This year there were 4217, a drop of 36%.

Then we had the actual vote. Seat retained by the Tories. A drop in votes for the Tories and Lib Dems but an absolutely disastrous vote for the Labour Party. Not so much the fact they came last but the collapse of their vote, down 15 percentage points. Shocking.

What we also see is the maintaining of the Independent vote, although unless something very special happens this is likely to remain at the same level until hell freezes over and beyond.

And to top it all, the BNP who didn’t stand in 2005 have had a strong showing. Expected given the more time they’ve spent standing in the local elections and seeing their vote growing over time.

A wake up call if ever there was one.

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