Jonathan Bartley's blog

First blow struck against disabled children with Government's closure of Becta

The announcement yesterday that Becta (responsible for technology in schools) is to be scrapped as part of the Government’s £6 billion of efficiency savings is a huge blow to disabled children in mainstream schools.

New coalition agreement busts myths around faith schools

One potential positive about the coalition Government's new agreement, is its policy on faith schools.

We highlighted the inherent tension in the Conservative policy before the election. On the one hand the Conservatives want faith groups to be able to run new schools. On the other, they have been reluctant to say that faith schools should be able to discriminate in admissions - and possibly employment. The Lib Dems, whilst supporting faith schools, have also been opposed to allowing faith schools to discriminate in such ways.

Lib Dems and Tories have sold out disabled children

So despite David Cameron’s promise on national TV to meet with the parents of disabled children who attend mainstream schools, and Channel 4’s FactCheck which showed that the PM didn’t know the contents of his own manifesto with regard to the treatment of disabled children, the Lib Dem-Conservative agreement has taken on board the Tory pledge to “remove the bias toward inclusion” of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in mainstream schools

Will coalition ConDem arms trading unit?

We will get a better idea of some of the detail regarding the new coalition government's approach to a range of issues today.

Study explores how nonviolence is more effective than violence

A fascinating paper has been published by Maria J.

Peter Tatchell is showing Christians how to be more like Jesus

The news that human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is to speak at this year’s Greenbelt Arts Festival, was met by a small number of conservative Christians with a call for a boycott, on the grounds that the Christian event is being ‘gayified’. Others have expressed puzzlement as to why an atheist like Tatchell would want to speak, when he has previously attacked the church’s unjust practices.

Falling off your chair in the name of the 'Common Good'

The Daily Telegraph reports today that

Three big reasons why this isn’t ‘new politics’

There are three very worrying features to the new LibDem-Tory coalition agreement, which raise many fundamental democratic questions:

The Tories have made a moral commitment to a referendum on PR

So the Conservatives are offering the Lib Dems a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) system. Both Hague and Osborne have now said that they would whip their MPs to support the bill in Parliament on the basis that it is right to give voters the choice in a referendum. Note, they have made the case in moral terms because they think it is the right thing to do.

Who would voters be electing in Sutton and Cheam - Philippa Stroud or her husband?

The crucial question about Philippa Stroud, the prospective Tory MP featured on the front page of today’s Observer, has not yet been asked.

The paper has focused on her views about homosexuality. But there is a far more important issue, and that is who would have influence and ‘authority’ over Mrs Stroud if she were elected?