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February 8, 2013 / politicsbitesize

Spring is in the air

Spring nightAs the nights become lighter and the hope of warmer weather draws near, the thought of Spring lifts the spirits.   By way of aiding the hope that springs eternal, the news emanating from the political world has been optimistic.  Here are just a few snippets:

  • George Osborne has backed one of the recommendations from the Vicker’s Report, which advised the Government to break up the banks. In a speech given at JP Morgan’s administration offices in Bournemouth, the Chancellor said that the new Banking Reform Bill would require banks to ring-fence certain aspects of their operations.  This will mean that the High Street activities of each UK bank will be put into a separate subsidiary from its riskier investment banking arm. The reform is reminiscent of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which separated commercial banking from investment banking until it was repealed in 1999.
  • The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, announced a dramatic U-turn on his flagship reform of the education system.  On Thursday he was forced to abandon plans to introduce his new English Baccalaureate Certificate after pressure from teachers, Ofqual, universities, arts bodies and parents.  The new system was due to be implemented in schools in September 2015, but a cacophony of voices told the government that the plans were too much too soon. When Mr Gove announced his policy last year the Ebacc Certificate was signalled to replace GCSE in core subjects such as maths, English, the sciences and humanities and would be awarded to students who gained A* to C grades in all subjects.  But fears that the measures would mean a return to the old two-tier system of education, reminiscent of O-Levels and CSEs, sparked a report by the Commons Select Committee on Education.  The report warned that the plans threatened to wreck havoc on the stability of the entire education system by requiring too much change in such a short space of time.
  • On Tuesday MPs met in Parliament to debate the Prime Minister’s proposal to allow gay marriage.  The bill was passed by 400 votes to 175.  The Equalities Minister, Maria Miller, opened the session in the Commons but in a blow to David Cameron 136 Tory MPs voted against it.
  • And last but by no means least, at the Political Book Awards on Wednesday night Owen Jones was named Young Writer of the Year.  He said he was ‘chuffed’ to receive the award and is donating one half of his £3,000 prize to Lisa Forbes, who is standing again Stewart Jackson MP in Peterborough, and the other half to Disabled People Against Cuts.
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