Haven't really got the time away from work at the moment to right a long, rambling blog to fit in with the many other similar posts around here, so instead I'll just write a little bit on a lot of the stories floating around.
Julian Assange Arrested -
Well, this wasn't exactly unexpected, I doubt he'll even get extradited, never mind sentenced, and all in all it doesn't matter one jot to the future of WikiLeaks as an organisation. The charges bought against him have already been laughed out of court once in Sweden, and there doesn't seem to be any new evidence since then. The only reason this has come back to the surface is some busy body politician in Sweden has had a quick word with a smaller court and they've decided to reopen it.
I'd like to think that our judicial system is more robust than that and so won't cave in to the massive political pressure to extradite him. As I said though, even were he to be charged this would make no difference. As of right now, WikiLeaks is much stronger than just one man, who is essentially now just a front man. He acts as a lightening rod whilst the thousands of other journalists and cyber-geniuses at WikiLeaks get on with releasing the rest of the leaked cables. It's strange to think we've got so much information so far and we're not even up to the 1,000 mark out of 250,000 cables.
It'd also be interesting, to put it very mildly, if he did get charged and WikiLeaks decided to release the passcode for the 'insurance file' they uploaded. I dare say there's likely to be some pretty explosive stuff in there.
Tuition Fees come to a head -
Tomorrow's the big day, the tuition fees vote. I expect it to go through, but we can only hope that more MPs see sense between now and then. Only a moron like Clegg could claim that slashing HE funding by 80% and then trebling fees is in some way 'progressive'. he then dismisses a Graduate Tax as 'unworkable', without a seconds pause for thought. It has far more going for it than the plans currently on the table.
Yes, some people will pay less under these new proposals, but the majority will pay more. And this funding isn't upping the money that goes to universities, the fees coming out of students pockets is just being used to plug the gaping hole left by the withdrawal of government cash. For the large number of people on middle incomes, too rich to get support, but too poor to quickly pay off loans without incurring interest, then these proposals will hit you hard. Very hard.
And the idea that all is well because you only start paying back at £21,000 is complete tosh as well. Although they made it slightly better today by making the amount rise with inflation, the fact remains that by the time the plans come into effect that £21,000 will be worth less than £18,000 in today's money because of inflation. Hardly a massive jump is it.
The Lib Dems have a choice, be loyal to the Tories, or be loyal to students and loyal to their word. Only a No vote is acceptable, abstaining is not nearly enough.
Lansley completes his collection -
My favourite figure Andrew Lansley has succeeded in completing his collection, after his plans were trashed by his own side, following of course the objections from GPs, the BMA, Health Workers and many others in the profession. The Tory chair of the Health Select Comittee has already warned him about the pace and scale of his reforms, and now a figure from within No. 10 has told the Financial Times:
"Andrew [Lansley] has all the answers when he is asked the questions about how the implementation of all this will work. We're just not sure they are the right ones.” Ouch.