Friday, March 25, 2005

Keith Vaz and the video games: part 15384

And it goes on...

'Restrict violent games', Mercury, 18th March: An MP has put forward a bill attempting to restrict the sale of violent video games after the murder of a 14-year-old city boy.

Howard in video law move snub, Mercury, 25th March: Tory leader Michael Howard has refused to back a bid by grieving mum Giselle Pakeerah to change the law and curtail the sale of violent video games to children.

The Private Members Bill is not showing up anywhere at the moment but as soon as it does it will be blogged!

Update: still not over yet... Violent video games: Mum welcomes action

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The kids aren't alright

Pupils' letter to Tony Blair, a tiny article in the Leicester Mercury almost broke my heart.
Pupils have gone to Downing Street to deliver a letter to Tony Blair.

Youngsters from Hamilton Community College, in Leicester, made the trip on Monday after learning about democracy in school. They won £2,000 in a national competition to support community schemes.

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz went with them and afterwards gave them a tour of the Houses [of] Parliament.
I wonder what it said? I wonder what Vaz told them?

Everyone familiar with Hamilton Community College? Try the 2002 Ofsted Report - just the first page of proper text is enough. 'Most students are drawn from areas that have high levels of social and economic advantage... attainment on entry overall is well below average and many students have poor levels of literacy in particular... the percentage of students with special needs is well above average'.

Or look at some statistics from the DfES. 25% of pupils get 5 C's or above at GCSE, half the national average.

Which is what makes this quite horrific: Uni in student target bid Oxford uni is recruitingin Hamilton! The campaign aims to show students they don't have to be rich to study there and could be eligible for a bursary of up to £13,000. True. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that you do need to be rich in order to get a decent education.

Mr Vaz, I don't want you to take these children around Parliament. I want you to demand better services to meet their needs. What is Democracy doing for them? This whole episode just seems so cruel.

Falling from the frontbench

Darcus Howe has a dark warning for Black and Asian MPs. In Darcus Howe explains Boateng's punishment (New Statesman) Howe paints a bleak picture. Articles about Boateng's new job have been popping up in Vaz searches over the past few days as many of them invariably mention other BME politicians. Boateng will quit for top job in Pretoria from the Guardian is one such article, which also looks at the failing crop of old(er) time Black and Asian politicians not making it to the frontbench. At least Diane Abbott has an excuse...
His departure creates a post-election problem for Mr Blair. Of the four black or Asian Labour MPs first elected in 1987, Bernie Grant is dead, Mr Boateng is leaving, Keith Vaz's ministerial career crashed and Diane Abbott remains an unabashed leftwing rebel. "I'm suddenly feeling lonely," she said yesterday.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Educational apartheid?

Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality has caused a stir recently with suggesting a debate on whether Black boys should be taught separately for some school classes after seeing successful work done in the US.

Mr Vaz has dubbed the plans 'educational apartheid' in CRE boss accused of apartheid schooling, from The Independent. The Leicester Mercury carries a short story, MP attacks idea to teach Black boys separately with reaction from Vaz and Phillips. There has been no mass panic in the Letters aisle though, it seems the people of Leicester won't be drawn on this one. Probably because Asian kids tend to do quite well in school. We all know Vaz is Asian Everyman but has he now extended this to BME Everyman? Is there no-one a little better placed to comment on this?

Race chief defends 'classroom apartheid' from the Times is something of a misleading headline obviously, the point being that Phillips doesn't see it as necessarily a bad thing. That article has teaching organisation feedback.

Some of these articles make reference to Leicester East having the highest proportion of ethnic minority voters of all constituencies in the country. Does this honour really belong to us? I had been under the impression that it was David Lammy's Tottenham seat that carried the accolade. Maybe there are no precise figures, as a quick search doesn't throw anything up. I will investigate.

Euro Vaz

'Honesty' urged over EU project, BBC News. Vaz gets involved inthe debate about the EU Constitution referendum. There are quite a few quotes and other bits of interesting stuff, so I would recommend it for a quick read.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Vaz news round up is still 'under construction' and Leicester Election 2005, whilst steadily growing in visitors, is down probably due to hosting company issues.

Scholarship is 'fitting reminder of Stefan' and Scholarship in Stefan's name from the Mercury. Keith Vaz features prominently in both articles saying: "The campaign over the video games goes on."

Call to government in row over night flights about the continuing opposition to increased routes over Leicestershire, KV joining the many groups, citizens, MPs, councils, etc upset about the Civil Aviation Authority's lack of consultation and appreciation of local views (both scenic and opinion-based I assume).

An EDM: Spanish referendum on the EU Constitution calling for a 'clear timetable' for Britain.

And remember AboutMyVote. We're in March now with a potential General Election getting closer you must be on the electoral register by 11 March to be able to vote on 5 May. You've probably already filled in the form, before Christmas. But people who have recently moved, students and the like, should make sure they are registered. Despite all the interesting scandals about postal votes that are coming out for many of us it remains the only method of voting. Students, we can vote in both our home and term time constituencies - make sure you have a postal vote sorted for one or the other!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Prevention of Terrorism

Attention for the issue is rapidly increasing, along with the number of rebels, but at last night's vote Keith Vaz again supported the government's Prevention of Terrorism Bill.

Read The Public Whip and They Work For You. WriteToThem is the new way to contact any of your elected representatives, use it!

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