2014年2月28日 星期五

the master of British justice: politics, not law

'Nothing separates the progressive mind from the conservative as much as the handling of crime and punishment. It is the one realm of public policy that British liberals have not come near to conquering. As a result it has become not so much a moral maze as a moral morass, awash in double standards, racist subplots and an everlasting dread of popular backlash'

2014年2月26日 星期三

Lee Rigby murder: Adebolajo and Adebowale jailed

ee Rigby murder: Map and timeline
NewsAn interactive map featuring the timeline of what happened to Lee Rigby in Woolwich


敦伍利奇英國軍人李格比被殺案結案,涉案的兩名被告分別被判處終生監禁和45年監禁。 29歲的邁克·阿德波拉傑被判終生監禁,22歲的邁克·阿德波瓦勒被判45年監禁。

Lee Rigby murder: Adebolajo and Adebowale jailed
June Kelly reports on the sentencing of Lee Rigby's killers
Michael Adebolajo has been given a whole-life term and Michael Adebowale has been jailed for a minimum of 45 years for murdering Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Adebolajo, 29, and Adebowale, 22, drove into Fusilier Rigby with a car before hacking him to death in Woolwich, south-east London, in May last year.
The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, said Adebolajo's was one of those "rare cases" warranting a whole-life term.
The pair were absent during sentencing after a fracas in the dock.
As Mr Justice Sweeney began to sentence the men they started shouting and scuffling with court security guards. They had to be forced to the ground and were removed from court.
Fusilier Rigby's family wept as Adebolajo shouted "Allahu Akbar", and Adebowale called out "that's a lie" as the judge told them their extremist views were "a betrayal of Islam".
One relative needed medical treatment after the outbursts. The judge later apologised for the fact that the family had to witness what happened in the dock.
Fusilier Lee Rigby Fusilier Lee Rigby was wearing a Help for Heroes hooded top when he was murdered
Sentencing the killers in their absence, the judge said they had been convicted on "overwhelming" evidence of the "barbaric" murder of Fusilier Rigby.
The British Muslim converts had "butchered" the 25-year-old soldier, he said.
Adebolajo was the leader of the "joint enterprise", the judge said, but Adebowale played his part "enthusiastically".
Mr Justice Sweeney said the pair carried out the murder "in a way that would generate maximum media coverage".
"He had done absolutely nothing to deserve what you did to him", the judge said. The pair created "a bloodbath", he went on, adding: "You both gloried in what you had done.
"Your sickening and pitiful conduct was in stark contrast to the women at the scene who tended to Lee Rigby's body and challenged what you had done."
Det Insp Pete Sparks, on behalf of Lee Rigby's family: "We feel that no other sentence would have been acceptable"
Speaking outside court, Det Insp Pete Sparks, police liaison officer for Fusilier Rigby's family, read a short statement on behalf of the family saying "no other sentence would have been acceptable".
"We feel satisfied that justice has been served for Lee", the statement said.

At the Old Bailey

Callum May and Jane Peel
Mr Justice Sweeney was not far into his sentencing remarks in Court 2 of the Old Bailey when trouble erupted in the high-security glass dock.
"You were radicalised and each became an extremist - espousing a cause and views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam and of the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country," the judge was telling the defendants.
"It's a lie!" shouted Adebowale from the dock. "It's not a betrayal of Islam! You and America will never be safe"
Nine security guards did their best to stifle the outburst, piling onto the men, and lifting Adebolajo into the air.
From the bench, the judge indicated with a downturned finger that the murderers should be removed form court.
His case was a rare one, where not only was the seriousness exceptionally high but the requirements of just punishment and retribution made a whole-life term the just penalty, he said.
But the judge said Adebowale had played a lesser role in the murder of Lee Rigby. His age and his mental health were also given as reasons for his 45-year minimum term.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the sentences showed "extremist behaviour of any kind will never be tolerated in Britain".
"Our thoughts are of course with Lee Rigby's family, who have endured unimaginable heartbreak over the last nine months. I hope they will take some comfort from this judgment."
Sue Hemming, head of special crime and counter terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said Adebolajo and Adebowale had "revelled in one of the most appalling terrorist murders I have seen".
"Not only was the attack brutal and calculated; it was also designed to advance extremist views," she said.
And Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said the sentences reflected the "true horror" of Fusilier Rigby's murder.
Earlier, Fusilier Rigby's wife Rebecca said her young child would grow up to see images "no son should have to endure".
Her statement was one of those from Fusilier Rigby's family, read out by prosecutor Richard Whittam QC ahead of the sentencing.
Mrs Rigby said she had accepted her husband's life would be at risk when he was deployed to Afghanistan, but not when he was at home.
"When you wave someone off you accept that there is a chance you will never see them again. You do not expect to see this on the streets of the UK," she said.
The court also heard part of a statement from the soldier's stepfather, Ian Rigby.
He said: "After all he'd been through in Afghanistan, all Lee was doing was walking through London. After seeing the television, you just can't comprehend it."
Lee Rigby's uncle Ray Dutton: "For him to be killed in the way he was, that was horrendous"
Adebolajo and Adebowale faced whole-life jail terms after a Court of Appeal ruling last week upheld judges' right to jail the most serious offenders in England and Wales for the rest of their lives.
Earlier during the hearing, counsel for Adebolajo, David Gottlieb, warned an indeterminate sentence could "create a martyr".
Mr Gottlieb also said Adebolajo was "not so depraved or wicked that he is incapable of redemption", adding the murder "shares the characteristics of a religiously aggravated crime".
He said Adebolajo had intended to die and still believed he should be put to death.
Adebolajo had claimed he was a "soldier of Allah" and the killing was an act of war.
But Mr Justice Sweeney rejected his mitigation, saying Adebolajo had "no real prospect of rehabilitation".
Counsel for Michael Adebowale, Abbas Lakha QC, told the court the killing was "horrific" but was not a case "where the offending is so exceptionally high that Mr Adebowale must be kept in prison for his life".
He said: "The right and proper sentence is one which does leave open the possibility of release in the future. Any other sentence would be inhuman."
Addressing Adebowale during sentencing, the judge said: "I am persuaded that the combination of your lesser role, your age and your pre‐existing and continuing mental condition mean that it is not appropriate in your case to impose a whole-life term."
Lee Rigby's stepfather Ian Rigby, his mother Lyn Rigby, and his sisters, Sara McClure and Chelsea Rigby, arrive at the Old Bailey Lee Rigby's stepfather Ian Rigby, his mother Lyn Rigby, and his sisters, Sara McClure and Chelsea Rigby, arrive at the Old Bailey
Fusilier Rigby, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, was murdered as he returned to his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London on 22 May 2013. He died of multiple cut and stab wounds.
Adebolajo and Adebowale drove into Fusilier Rigby at 30 to 40mph, before dragging him into the road and attacking him with knives and attempting to decapitate him with a meat cleaver.
Arrests Outside court, three people were arrested as far-right protesters gathered while the pair were being sentenced.
Supporters of the British National Party and the English Defence League gathered around a makeshift gallows constructed in the street and held placards calling for the capital punishment to be restored.
Protesters cheered when the sentences were announced.
A City of London Police spokesman said two men were arrested, one on suspicion of actual bodily harm and one for affray.
A woman was also arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
Rebecca Rigby, the widow of murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby, arriving at the Old Bailey Rebecca Rigby, widow of murdered Fusilier Rigby, said "you do not expect to see this on the streets of the UK"
Police and protestors demonstrate outside the Old Bailey Police confirmed two men were arrested, one on suspicion of actual bodily harm and one for affray, outside the Old Bailey

Museum of London Releases Augmented Reality App for Historical Photos .

打開GPS APP帶你走訪古倫敦 【16:30】

英國倫敦博物館(The Museum of London)與工作室開發的APP,號稱只要開始手機上的GPS,便能一覽歷史場景。(圖擷取自每日郵報)
〔本報訊〕英國倫敦博物館(The Museum of London)與工作室開發的APP,號稱只要開啟手機上的GPS,便能一覽倫敦大橋和泰晤士河上或牛津街的歷史場景。



Museum of London Releases Augmented Reality App for Historical Photos

Streetmuseum is a new (and free) augmented reality iPhone app created by the Museum of London that allows you to browse historical photographs in various parts of the city.
The app leads you to various locations around London using either the map or GPS. Once you’re there, click the “3D View” button, and the app will recognize the location and overlay the historical photograph over the live video feed of the real world, giving you a brief glimpse into how the past looked.
We’ve seen projects that overlaid historical photos over modern ones, but this is the first time we’ve seen an augmented reality app do it for you in real time. Here are a few more examples:

If only this were available in every big city around the world.
Museum of London – Street Museum (via Creative Review)

children being trafficked

The number of UK-born children identified as being trafficked for sexual exploitation more than doubled last year, according to figures released earlier this month by the National Crime Agency (NCA)

2014年2月18日 星期二

2014年2月13日 星期四

the south,洪水逼近伦敦机场 River Thames Bursts Banks, Flooding Homes Near London, Wettest January Since 1776

Ordinary Britons have so far coped admirably with widespread flooding. But the rain is still falling. Much of southern England is now sodden, and parts of the Thames Valley and Somerset are simply underwater. Community spirit is going to have to sustain the south for a long time yet http://econ.st/1cyEbLF

洪水逼近机场 伦敦恐沦陷


















U.K. News

River Thames Bursts Banks, Flooding Homes Near London

Flooding Follows Wettest January Since 1776

Updated Feb. 10, 2014 7:46 p.m. ET
The River Thames burst its banks Monday, flooding hundreds of properties. i-Images/Zuma Press
LONDON—Hundreds of homes have flooded and hundreds more are at risk to the west of London after the River Thames burst its banks on Monday as England continued to suffer from one of the wettest winters in more than two centuries, authorities said.
With waters predicted to rise further this week, Prime Minister David Cameron said the government would do all it could to assist those affected as he visited flood-hit areas in the southwest of England.
However, his efforts to present a coordinated response were undermined after parts of the government blamed each other for not doing more to protect communities. The opposition Labour Party also accused the government of being slow to react.
The Environment Agency, which manages flood defenses, said England has had the wettest January since 1776 and is heading toward the wettest winter—defined as the months of December, January and February—in 250 years. Pete Fox, the agency's National Duty Manager for Flooding, said southern England had suffered the wettest January on record with some places getting double the average rainfall.
"Our very latest figures suggest that we've seen around 800 to 900 properties flooded since the end of last week," he said in a briefing with reporters, according to a transcript provided by the government. "We are still looking and focusing our attention on the Thames."
Continued rains after England's wettest January since the 18th century have meant severe flooding in southern regions of the country. Via The Foreign Bureau, WSJ's global news update. Photo: Getty
The flooding has come despite the efforts of the agency's staff, volunteers and the support of the military to protect properties from the rising waters. The government said strategic sites such as water and electrical plants were being given special attention to ensure that homes weren't left without vital resources.
Sarah Davies, a senior adviser at the Met Office, the national weather service, said southern and western parts of the U.K. were expected to get up to an additional 1.6 inches of rainfall by the end of this week, with 3.5 inches or more in some upland areas like Dartmoor in the southwest of England and the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Strong winds in the middle of the week could also cause disruption.
"So whilst we're all concentrating on the impacts from the flooding, we also need to be aware that there could be impacts due to strong stormy winds, and those could involve trees down, transport disruption, possibly some power disruption," she told the same briefing.

U.K. Waters Go On Rising

The River Thames has burst its banks flooding riverside towns upstream of London Monday, after England's wettest January since 1766. Zuma Press
As of late Monday, the Environment Agency had severe flood warnings—meaning there is a danger to life—for 14 areas in the southeast of England and two in the southwest, one of the hardest hit regions. It also warned that flooding was expected and immediate action required for 131 further areas across England and Wales, with the highest risk seen in the Midlands, southeast and southwest of the country, and flooding was also possible in a further 216 areas.
The Thames Barrier, one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world, closed Monday morning and would be closed again later until early hours of Tuesday, the agency said. Since the beginning of January 2014 the barrier, designed to protect 125 square kilometers of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges, has been closed 29 times.
"Extreme weather will continue to threaten communities this week, with further severe flooding expected Monday evening into Tuesday along the Thames in [the counties of] Berkshire and Surrey," Paul Leinster, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, said in a statement. "River levels are high across southwest, central and southern England and further rain has the potential to cause significant flooding."
Significant groundwater flooding was also expected in the southeast, including parts of London, the agency said.
Eric Pickles, the minister responsible for local government, told Parliament that the River Thames had burst its banks in some locations and police had declared a major incident.
Some of the heaviest flooding has been in the Somerset Levels, a coastal-plain farming area in southwest England about 140 miles from London. The government has accepted a reduction in dredging of rivers there in the past may have exacerbated the flooding and apologized.
Coastal areas have also been battered by heavy winds and high tides. Last week the sea washed away the ground under a section of railway in the coastal town of Dawlish, leaving it dangling in the air like a rope bridge and knocking out a vital rail link connecting the southwestern counties of Devon and Cornwall with the rest of Britain.
Train operators said services were unable to run in parts of the Thames Valley and southwest of England Monday.
"I'm only interested in one thing and that is making sure that everything the government can do is being done and will go on being done to help people through this difficult time," Mr. Cameron told BBC television. Last week the government pledged an additional 130 million pounds ($213 million) to help households, businesses and farmers cope with the severe weather.
Nevertheless, a political row erupted after Mr. Pickles told the BBC Sunday that the government had relied too much on the advice of the Environment Agency and it had been a mistake to reduce dredging of rivers in Somerset. Asked whether the agency's chairman, Chris Smith, should resign, he said that was a matter for Mr. Smith.
Mr. Pickles was called on to help coordinate the flood response after Owen Paterson, the minister responsible for the environment, stood aside last week to have an eye operation. Mr. Paterson had faced criticism over his handling of the floods.
Mr. Cameron's spokesman said there was no difference of opinion between the two ministers following local media reports Mr. Paterson disagreed with Mr. Pickles' assessment of the agency.
Chris Smith, the chairman of the Environment Agency, hit back in a radio interview Monday, saying his staff knew 100 times more about flood management than any politician and he had no intention of resigning.
The center-left Labour Party said it was unbelievable that officials had embarked on a blame game when homes were at risk.
"Instead of blaming officials for their decisions and now turning on each other like ferrets in a sack, ministers must get a grip on this worsening situation," Maria Eagle, the center-left party's spokeswoman on environmental matters, said in a statement.

Sainsbury-backed Labour groups fined by Electoral Commission/ Scottish independence: 'Yes' vote means leaving pound, says Osborne

Sainsbury-backed Labour groups fined by Electoral Commission

Lord Sainsbury Lord Sainsbury poured millions into the Labour Party in the Blair era

Related Stories

Two Labour pressure groups backed by Lord Sainsbury have been fined for accepting donations from him when he was not on the electoral register.
Progress - a group which promotes New Labour values - was fined £6,000.
Movement for Change - a grassroots campaign to get Labour activists more involved in the community set up by David Miliband - was fined £5,500.
It is an offence to keep a political donation from someone who is not on a UK electoral register.
Peter Horne, the Electoral Commission's director of party and election finance, said: "These organisations failed to check a donor was on the electoral register and have been fined because of it.
"The fines reflect the lengthy amount of time it took both organisations to realise their mistake.
"We do not think this was a deliberate attempt to evade the rules and both organisations have now put in place new procedures intended to prevent this happening again."
Loans Labour peer Lord Sainsbury was one of the party's biggest donors during the Tony Blair era, but since Ed Miliband was elected party leader he has switched his funds to campaign groups.
Progress - which has seen off attempts by trade unions to have it barred from Labour Party conferences - was bankrolled by the supermarket magnate to the tune of £390,000 between December 2011 and April 2013.
Movement for Change, which was set up by David Miliband as part of his ill-fated campaign for the Labour leadership but has since been embraced by brother Ed - accepted donations from Lord Sainsbury totalling £344,939 over the same period.
Meanwhile, according to Electoral Commission figures for the fourth quarter of 2013, political parties accepted donations totalling £9,935,682 - just over £2,500,000 more than in the same period of 2012.
The Conservatives topped the list, with £4,805,892 in donations, followed by Labour on £3,162,980 and the Lib Dems on £1,311,824.
The UK Independence Party received £270,955, the Green Party £115,943 and the British National Party £61,576.
Outstanding loans to political parties as at 31 December 2013 stood at £15,125,156.
Figures for 2013 as a whole show that political parties accepted £35,736,657 in reportable donations. This is almost £4.5m more than in 2012.

sexual assault, family abuse and stalking,2013

'More than 1.1 million or 7% of all women and 720,000 or 4% of all men have been victims of some kind of domestic abuse in the past year, according to official crime survey figures.

The full scale of the hidden world of sexual assault, family abuse and stalking is revealed in new official figures which show that nearly 5 million women or 30% of the female population have experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16'
Domestic violence experienced by 30% of female population, survey shows

2014年2月11日 星期二

英國學童開始學編碼: Learn-to-Code Effort Comes to U.K. Schools

 英國學童開始學編碼: Learn-to-Code Effort Comes to U.K. Schools
Feb 11, 2014

Tech Europe

Learn-to-Code Effort Comes to U.K. Schools

By Parminder Bahra
Like kids everywhere, U.K. schoolchildren know all about using tablets and PCs. Now they’re about to learn how to create programs to run on them.
The U.K. government last week launched a promotional effort for its new computer-coding curriculum, aiming eventually to teach coding to all students ages 5 through 16. Tech firms such as GoogleGOOG +1.46% and MicrosoftMSFT +0.99% helped to design the curriculum, along with the Royal Society of Engineering.
The government says the U.K. will be the first G20 country to implement the teaching of coding on a national level.
The effort is off to a relatively modest start, with the establishment of a £500,000 ($823,000) government fund to support training teachers. The government intends to match private donations to the program, for a total potential outlay of £1 million.
Last week’s launch event got a royal boost from the presence of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
The prince met with trainers and teachers at an open day to highlight the importance of coding skills in the workplace at the offices of Decoded, a startup that offers one-day, £275 coding courses for teachers. An anonymous donor has backed a separate teacher-training effort through Decoded that the company says should allow it to train two teachers at each of the U.K.’s roughly 22,000 state-funded schools.
Prince Andrew spoke about the importance of coding skills among children and in the workplace, and he went on to give some insight into the royal family’s relationship with technology.
For one thing, you’re not alone in hunting around your home or office for the strongest Wi-Fi signal: The prince said Wi-Fi used to be available only in certain parts of Buckingham Palace, so you’d find members of the royal household huddled in a Wi-Fi hot spot.
He also said that the British monarchy has yet to develop any apps—an incentive, perhaps, for any budding schoolchild programmer to put his or her new skills into practice.
Watch the video above to hear the prince on how technology has affected the royal family, the media and why schoolchildren should be taught to code.

2014年2月10日 星期一

The rapid rise of mixed-race Britain

The rapid rise of mixed-race Britain is changing neighbourhoods. For the young, who are used to having people of all backgrounds in their midst, race already matters far less than it did for their parents. In a generation or two more of the melting pot, it may not matter at all http://econ.st/1fLCRJW

2014年2月4日 星期二

Boris Johnson: behaving terribly over the tube strike/ 牛津大學應該設立Margaret Thatcher學院

Boris Johnson, not Bob Crow, is the one behaving terribly over the tube strike

While the rightwing press condemn the unions, little is said of London's mayor breaking his promise not to close ticket offices
Boris Johnson
'When Boris Johnson ran for office in 2008, he opposed the closure of 40 ticket offices by his predecessor Ken Livingstone.' Photograph: Katie Collins/PA
Over the coming days strike action by London Underground staff will be characterised in certain quarters as the action of out-of-control union "barons" intent on "holding the country to ransom".
Last week the rich were threatening to elope if Labour introduced a 5p increase in the top rate of income tax; this week London Underground staff will walk out over a plan to close every single tube ticket office and cut up to 1,000 jobs.
Yet only one of the above will be on the receiving end of vitriol in the press. I'm sure you can hazard a guess as to which one.
Particularly lamentable is the extent to which London mayor Boris Johnson is escaping the scrutiny visited upon those who will be walking out.
In his £250,000-a-year weekly column for the Daily Telegraph, the mayor wrote that, while he did not begrudge Bob Crow his holiday, the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) boss was not entitled to "disrupt the lives of millions of people who are not on holiday but who want to work".
"It is absolutely outrageous that London, the motor of the UK economy – now contributing 25% of GDP – should be held to ransom by this tiny minority," he wrote.
The assumption is that it is the union boss, rather than the mayor of London, who is rocking the boat unnecessarily by leading his members on a walkout.
What short memories the mayor and his supporters have.
Whether or not ticket office closures on the London Underground are inevitable, almost no criticism is being levelled at Johnson (I won't call him Boris, because he's not my friend) for pledges made by him while running for mayor in 2008 and then again in 2012.
When Johnson ran for office in 2008, he opposed the closure of 40 ticket offices by his predecessor Ken Livingstone. During that campaign, Johnson even signed a petition calling for London Underground to abandon plans to "drastically reduce the opening hours" of ticket offices.
In his manifesto he also promised to ensure that "there is always a manned ticket office in every station". He repeated this promise again in 2010. And yet today the closure of ticket offices is being billed as something which tube workers should have been expecting all along – despite the fact that the mayor had been saying the opposite for a number of years.
Three quarters (77%) of RMT members who voted in the ballot backed strike action, whereas Johnson won the 2012 mayoral election with 55% of the vote – and many who voted for the mayor did so under the impression that he would not close London Underground ticket offices.
If nothing else, the mayor's giant U-turn is certainly more newsworthy than pictures of Bob Crow sunning himself in Rio de Janeiro.


更新時間 2013年 5月 31日, 星期五 - 格林尼治標準時間11:07
倫敦市長鮑里斯·約翰遜(Boris Johnson)表示,牛津大學應該設立一個以撒切爾夫人(Margaret Thatcher)為名的學院,紀念並彌補當年沒有授予她榮譽博士學位。


約翰遜自己也是牛津大學畢業,他在全球大學峰會(Global Universities Summit)上回憶他在牛津的日子。


撒切爾夫人的母校,牛津大學薩默維爾學院(Somerville College)正計劃進行大規模募款活動,成立撒切爾夫人獎學金。


'On any given day, a fifth of children in Britain qualify for free school meals. Just one in 100 of those children get to go to either Oxford or Cambridge. Four private schools and one highly selective state sixth-form college send more children to Oxbridge than do 2,000 other secondary schools. The most prestigious 100 schools secure 30% of all Oxbridge places. And 84 of them are private schools'
I grew up in Oxford, but left my hometown to study and then worked at universities in Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield. People who read my words but didn't hear my accent often assumed I was from the north. But now I've come full circle, and have taken up a chair in geography at Oxford University.
It is geography that reveals just how divided we have become as a society in this country. There are places from which it appears almost impossible to succeed educationally and others where it seems very hard to fail. On any given day, a fifth of children in Britain qualify for free school meals. Just one in 100 of those children get to go to either Oxford or Cambridge University. Four private schools and one highly selective state sixth-form college send more children to Oxbridge than do 2,000 other secondary schools. The most prestigious 100 schools secure 30% of all Oxbridge places. And 84 of them are private schools.
People often complain that the national debate on higher education is unfairly dominated by interest in entry to these two universities. But it matters. The richest 1% (people with a pre-tax household income of at least £160,000) dominate decision-making in this country. How they behave is a weathervane for social mobility in Britain.
Income inequality has now reached a new maximum and, for the first time in a century, even those just below the richest 1% are beginning to suffer, to see their disposable income drop. When you exclude the top 1%, income inequality within the rest of the population, within the 99%, is now lower than at any time since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. Or, as put in economist-speak by the Institute for Fiscal Studies last year: "Over the past two decades … inequality among the bottom 99% has fallen: the Gini coefficient for the bottom 99% was 5% lower in 2011–12, at 0.30, than in 1991."
We now know that economic inequality changes how we think and is linked to biases in self-perception. When university students from 16 countries around the globe were asked to rate how they individually compared to other students in terms of the big five personality traits (agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, open-mindedness and emotionality) it was those in the more economically unequal countries, such as the US, who were most likely to frequently say that they were superior to their peers. Fortunately, perhaps, the UK was not included in that particular study. When it is, we may find that we are not as self-deprecating when tested in private as we are in public.
Being more prone to be elitist and trumpet our own talents, both actual and imagined, is not necessarily unwise in a more unequal society. In such a society, to prosper may well require individuals to be more upbeat about their individual abilities, to think they are better than others. How else do you justify your position if you are paid much more than the average in a very inequitable society?
However, the tendency to self-aggrandisement has many downsides. As acclaimed author, academic and working-class child Marshall Berman said of his student days: "The experience of studying at Columbia, Oxford and Harvard was intellectually exciting but socially lonely. They all catered to the rich, to the current and wannabe ruling class, and I felt I didn't fit in." When clever upstarts get into the ranks of the super-paid they often find they do not fit in easily there, just as highly paid women often also discover.
Today in education the thinking and attitudes of a few of our elite have come to be presented as common sense. Some of the members of the 1% like to portray state schools as the problem, and they suggest that those schools are the reason why others are paid so little and why incomes have dropped. To be able to do this they sometimes suggest that there was once a golden age of state schooling when the grammar schools gave working-class children a chance. Some may believe this was true, but grammar schools were a relic of an older, even more unequal age. Some of the new top 1% would prefer to see the privatisation of all schools.
It is almost 20 years since Milton Friedman explained to the Washington Post how state education could be privatised in the US. He said: "I believe that the only way to make a major improvement in our educational system is through privatisation … Vouchers are not an end in themselves; they are a means to make a transition from a government to a market system." Now in the UK we have vouchers, in the form of the pupil premium, that follow poorer children to whichever school they attend. We have academies that are "managed by trusts, companies limited by guarantee", as my old comprehensive school in Oxford is now tagged. We are currently travelling on Friedman's road map. Geographical comparisons show that it is not a good route to take.
Stefan Collini, professor of English literature and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, when commenting on the latest international education statistics last year, explained that "countries committed to high-quality comprehensives, such as Finland, yet again come out on top. A stratified and class-segregated school system is not the answer: it's the problem." There is way too much hierarchy and stratification among UK schools. Across the European mainland, children are far more used to almost all going to local state schools. That may be because almost every other European country is more economically equal than the UK.
The UK's education system is beginning to look more like that of the US than other countries in Europe. Many American private universities now spend just a sixth of their fee income on teaching. These private providers take more than a fifth of fees in profit and spend even more on marketing to cover up the poor quality of what they are offering – subprime degrees not worth the paper they are printed on being sold to very young, very gullible consumers.
Since 2010-11 in Britain the new fully private universities have had access to taxpayers' monies and can make a profit. Pundits now talk of "the subprime student loan" because often what is being bought through borrowing is not worth the initial fee, let alone the interest on that fee. Yet not all privatisation in education is on an upward trend.
For four of the last five years the numbers of children enrolled in fee-paying schools in the UK have fallen to just over 500,000. Part of the reason for the fall is that the average annual private school fee is now £14,000, and one of the reasons it is so high is because the numbers are dropping. Average annual fees for boarding schools are £27,612 – but almost £29,000 for boarding sixth-formers. The number of pupils in those schools dropped by 1.4% recently, to 66,605. At the most elite boarding schools, once the price of school trips is factored in, costs can be £50,000 a year, per child.
At exactly the same time that fewer children at or near the top of British society are able to aspire to what the children of the top 1% can afford, millions of children at the bottom of the 99% are falling into poverty or seeing their poverty deepen. In 2013 the Children's Commissioner explained what is happening in the UK due to the nature of cuts and austerity: "Families with children will lose more of their income than families without children. However, lone parents will lose the most out of everyone." Within the 99% there is still rising inequality for the children.
Social mobility is lowest where local "choice" in education superficially appears to be highest. Another study last year named Trafford in Greater Manchester as having the highest level of educational social segregation. This is due to secondary moderns and grammar schools being retained there as well as private school provision being high. When confronted with the evidence that government education policy was reducing social mobility in such areas, a spokesman for the education department said it did not wish to comment on the report.
For schooling, the country to which utopians look is Finland, where 99.2% of school education is state-funded. In Finland, there is no inspection of teachers, no league tables; pupils are not set or streamed, and, as Diane Reay, professor of education at Cambridge, explains: "In four international surveys, all since 2000, Finnish comprehensive school students have scored above students in all the other participating countries in science and problem-solving skills, and came either first or second in reading and mathematics. These results were achieved despite the amount of homework assigned in Finnish schools being relatively low, and an absence of private tuition."
We have an educational system that is designed to polarise people, one that creates an elite who can easily come to have little respect for the majority of the population, who think that they should earn extraordinarily more than everyone else, and defines the jobs of others as so low-skilled that it apparently justifies many living in relative poverty.
The elite is shrinking. It really is now only 1% of the population who are maintaining their very high standard of living. The majority of graduates, even from a university like Oxford, cannot expect to fit within that 1% even if they all wished to only do the kinds of jobs that pay so much. The majority of all our young people should expect to see their standard of living fall in future, or they need to learn how to better control the richest people in our society. The 1% are disproportionately made up not of people who are most able, but of those who are most greedy and least concerned about the rights, feelings and welfare of other people.

Recently released findings from psychology suggest that many of them may be naturally inclined to be more selfish. It is not so much their fault that they find it hard to understand others' feelings. It is our fault for not controlling the greed of a few and for so long swallowing their shallow arguments as to why they deserve so much.

• Danny Dorling is Halford Mackinder professor of human geography at Oxford University. This article is an extract from his inaugural lecture, given this week.

2014年2月3日 星期一



更新時間 2014年2月3日, 格林尼治標準時間16:44
英國治理空氣污染成績不凡。去年7月中國四分之一地區6億人被霧霾籠罩時,有人想起1952年倫敦「大煙霧」(Great Smog)和今日倫敦,英國駐華外交官還作了書面回答。
霧霾在狄更斯小說裏就有生動的描繪,19世紀的英國已經環保活動人士,禁止工廠排放黑煙也寫入法律,但 沒有殺傷力,見效甚微。根據1981年的公共健康(倫敦)法案對污染空氣嚴重的工廠提出控罪,往往會敗訴;辯方常用的理由是倫敦70萬戶家庭的壁爐煙囪產 生的煙佔總量的95%,而當時壁爐被認為是傳統家庭生活的一部分,取締它簡直不可想像。
美國佐治亞大學環境科學系副教授麥赫姆(Stephen Mihm)通過電郵對BBC中文網表示,簡單說,倫敦擺脫霧霾的主要手段是通過立法和規管,禁止家庭和工廠燒煤;而當時正值英國傳統製造業生產向海外轉 移,國內開始產業轉型,幾年工夫就消除了霧霾,倫敦、曼徹斯特等城市的空氣質量明顯改觀。
法律還規定城鎮必須使用無煙燃料,推廣電和天 然氣,冬季集中供暖,發電廠和重工業設施遷至郊外。

2014年2月1日 星期六

Ed Miliband, Labour's leader in Britain, should change course before the election, rather than later.

Ed Miliband, Labour's leader in Britain, is moving his party to the left and has decided to wallop unpopular industries. François Hollande came to power in France as a business-bashing president. After nearly two years of entrepreneurial emigration he has just performed an abrupt U-turn. Mr Miliband should change course before the election, rather than laterhttp://econ.st/1edVneZ