Next Salon Discussion

First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 5th Dec: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

News Reviews from 2012
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News Reviews from 2012

Current Affairs

Leveson Inquiry

by Denis Joe

 

Two of the basic principles that underpin a democratic society are free speech and a free press: both are inseparable as the exchange of ideas, through informed debate, is what maintains a democracy. Historically the undermining of free speech and a free press was associated with totalitarian regimes, whose rule was based on force rather than the free will of the people.  

 

Up until the end of the 17th Century nothing could be published without the accompaniment of a government-granted license. Publication was controlled under the Licensing Act of 1662, but the Act's lapsed from 1679–1685 and by the early 19th century there were 52 London papers and over 100 other titles.  Taxes on newspapers were lifted by 1855 and there was a massive growth in overall circulation. The Times is the oldest surviving title but from the 1830s there were over 100 titles reflecting the political views of the time.

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News Reviews from 2012

Is our greed to blame?

Pay Restraint and Low Ambitions

by Simon Belt

 

Is society losing its historic drive to create more wealth? From Radio 4 and her Majesty's loyal opposition, to the front benches of the Conservative-Liberal government, there seems be widespread support for restraining bonus payments to top executives. It may sound radical and fair on behalf of working people, but coming alongside campaigns to increase the prices of low cost food items - the high point being demands by Ed Milliband to see W H Smith increase the prices of chocolate oranges. Giving up chocolate for lent may have been a personal test of faith once, but to impose it on ordinary people for their own good is another thing altogether. Are we all becoming too meek and mild as we approach Easter?

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News Reviews from 2012

Schools: what are they good for?

Schools: What are they good for?

by Jane Turner

 

As the Christmas decorations get removed and packed away carefully for another year, the school uniforms are retrieved from the back of the wardrobe in readiness for a return to school this week and parents quietly breathe a sigh of relief as they have just about reached the limits of their energy and patience.

 

But wait! Is it still wise to pack young people off to school anymore - as it's now widely recognised as an institution that's failing? Is it really worth investing around 36 weeks of the year for over 11 years in a place where little of any worth is actually taught or learned?

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News Reviews from 2012

New Year, New Optimism?

New Year, New Optimism?

by Ian Betts


Yes, yes… we are all aware of the current financial difficulties. Britain’s economy is made of mashed potato and the Greeks might as well use yoghurt as currency. It’s been a year of riots, strikes, sit-ins and vetoes; assassinations, super-injunctions and celebrity divorce woes, and no-one feels any better for it. At least Prince Philip is still alive… and yet somehow the gloom remains and deepens.

 

Writing for Spiked last week, Frank Furedi declared that 2011 was the year when the progressive movement of the left ‘lost its capacity to believe in the future’ because of the ‘the utter estrangement of the left from the idea of progress’; he portrays a nation of deficit-obsessed zombies enthralled to camps of politically illiterate anti-capitalism protestors, with neither able to conceive or articulate a manifesto for wider social change. It’s depressing stuff.

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