20 September 2012
The Weekly WHIP 20 September 2012
Nick Clegg is sorry
On the eve of the Liberal Democrat conference Nick Clegg took to our screens to issue an apology over raising the cap on student fees. But the apology wasn't for raising the fees to £9000, or for breaking the pledge he prominently signed ahead of the election, but for making the pledge in the first place. Will this be good enough to win back the voters? Well only time will tell. Commentators swiftly slammed his contrition as being like a husband apologising for making his wedding vows after being caught in adultery.
And as to be expected the spoof videos were instantly spawned, with the Poke's autotune version proving so popular their website crashed, and demands circulated for it to be released on iTunes as a charity single with the profits going to Sheffield Children's Hospital.
Mitt Romney is not
While the deputy prime minister was speaking the hardest word, it was numbers that proved the problem for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Specifically the number 47. Republican challenger to President Obama was secretly recorded in a fund-raiser earlier this year saying that 47 per cent of Americans were dependent on the state and paid no income tax; therefore would not vote for him.
The short clip, along with other parts of the recording later released, threatened to derail the already precarious campaign with prominent republicans criticising his words and wider campaign. Romney tried to reassure his backers and unsurprisingly the Obama campaign was quick to try and push home the advantage.
Earlier in the year the WHIP brought you news of Michael Gove's plans to scrap GCSEs. Since the early summer skirmish, the education secretary and Nick Clegg seem to have made up and jointly announced the plans this week to replace the current exams with an English Baccalaureate.
The Labour Party denounced the plans as a return to the system Margaret Thatcher scrapped in 1988. The government, however, claimed the new system, which removes coursework and modular exams, would bring rigour to the education system.
Whether the reforms make it as far as the Isle of Man remains to be seen as the changes will be 'closely monitored'.
If you ask Dr Jim West, then the answer is a definite no. However, Professor Karen King announced a find which suggested he might have been married, and that wife might have been Mary Magdalene. Others were quick to pour scornon the find suggesting that the origins were unproven and meaning dubious, even if an authentic ancient find. When the anonymous owner was found to be planning on selling the fragment, further scepticism arose. Tyndale House has a helpful run downof the facts and fascination around this find.
Photo credit: Chris Ensell via Creative Commons.