Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Letter from the Conference

In the second of our series of guest posts during the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, PragueTory writes a letter giving us an insight into the theme and mood of the delegates and a personal take on how the conference is progressing. This post was delayed from yesterday because PT was in a rather long conference meeting looking at the effects of alcohol. By the sound of him on the phone, he appears to be a real expert in this subject matter.

Dear Brummie Republic,

The conference opens with a sense of euphoria – how could it be different as members from all over the country meet old friends and share their success stories? On a personal level, my conference started very well on Sunday night because the event that I helped organise in Brindley Place for Birmingham University’s Young Conservatives for which we expected maybe 40 attendees attracted well over 200 visitors.

The average age of the attendees is substantially lower than for other year’s conferences and I’ve either got better at spotting political celebs, there’s more of them about or the layout of the ICC makes it harder for them to hide – I think it’s a mixture of all three.

But being at conference in Birmingham in 2008 has been a sobering reminder that the Conservatives are still in opposition. It is completely impossible to remain objective about how the conference is being perceived from the outside, but it is of course not ideal from a PR perspective that far more significant news events are taking place at the same time. As I receive tidbits from the maelstrom of financial chaos in the wider world, I can’t help but think that the opposition’s conference must look like an irrelevance at best. And I think many other delegates feel the same. And whilst it’s great to hear some of the brilliant policy ideas that we have ready, it’s frustrating that we are still probably 18 months away from having the chance to improve public services and do more to support families and children.

On the fringes, you can see the appetite for radicalism amongst ordinary delegates is high. In particular, Douglas Carswell MP and Dan Hannan MEP’s newly published The Plan – 12 Months To Renew Britain is selling like proverbial hotcakes. I imagine its strategy to move power away from Brussels and London to the regions will appeal to Brummie Republicans!

Best Wishes


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lower Spending and Lower Taxes

Today we have the first in a series of guest posts that will run for the duration of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. The posts will be on the broad topic of the state of Conservative party and conservative politics in Britain today. Today's post is written by Andrew Allison, a conservative libertarian and fellow Blogpower member from Hull, who believes in small government with a passion.

Lower spending and lower taxes. There’s no other way.

I have been thinking all week about what to write. Quite naturally one wants to be witty, but also get a serious point across. What to write though? You have no idea the amount of times I have written something down, only to delete it almost immediately. Then serendipity shone through in the guise of a very blunt Yorkshireman called Adrian.

Adrian, a man in his early fifties, told me a story. After Margaret Thatcher took on the unions and union membership started to dwindle, Adrian’s father told him if Labour is elected to office again, the welfare state will have to be much larger, as this is the only way Labour will garner votes for re-election.

This was very prophetic. The only person in Britain who thinks tax credits are wonderful is Gordon Brown; but then he needed tax credits in order to make more citizens dependent on the state. Instead of freeing more people from the burden of income tax, he takes their money, gets them to fill out page after page in forms, processes them through the bureaucratic machine, and then gives them some of their money back. “What a nice man! We are so better off thanks to him. We must vote Labour and keep those nasty Tories out.” This is what Labour hoped and it was largely successful.

Labour are quite happy to leave people on incapacity benefit. Instead of working hard to get them back in to work, it is much easier to keep them on the poverty line, dependent on the benevolent Mr Brown.

The challenge facing the Conservative Party is clear; or at least it should be. Sticking to Labour’s tax and spending plans will not work. No true conservative could think that. Public spending in the UK is too high. Money is wasted at an alarming rate. Taxes are too high and at a time when we all need a break as we work our way though the credit crunch, they need lowering; and I don’t mean by a penny or two. We can start by raising the personal tax allowance to around £10,000 and in a stroke take those who are paid the minimum wage out of direct taxation. This is radical and our opponents will criticise us for not being able to balance the books; not that Labour have managed that after Brown’s profligate spending and borrowing spree. But it needs to be done and it can be done, however it requires a huge shake-up of Whitehall and a large reduction in government spending and waste. For any doubters, the Taxpayers’ Alliance has all the facts and figures on how your money is wasted. You may be shocked.

It is only by being radical that the Conservative Party can get a positive mandate from the voters. Britain is crying out for change. They are tired of failed Labour policies. They want something different. It is our job to deliver.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Conservative Party are Coming to Town

Next week Birmingham holds its most important political event since the G8 Summit 10 years ago. The Conservative party are coming to Brum and holding their Autumn Conference in the city. To celebrate this event, next week I will be holding a series of guest posts from Conservative bloggers who will be hoping to convince the West Midlands and the wider country that they are ready to replace Labour in number 10 come the next election.

Being Conservatives, the views you will read on this blog between the 28th September 2008 and 1st October 2008 are unlikely to represent the views of the People's Republic of Birmingham - as you might have guessed from the name! I hope my readers will find these posts entertaining and thought-provoking; please feel free to add a comment to say whether you agree or disagree and join in the debate.

Of course, I will be more than happy to hold a similar series of guest posts for the other main parties should they wish to hold their Autumn Conferences in the city. If that is not an incentive for them to come to Birmingham, I don't know what is :)

Guest Post Line-up
Andrew Allison - http://andrew-allison.blogspot.com/
Prague Tory - http://praguetory.blogspot.com/
The Thunder Dragon - http://thethunderdragon.co.uk/
West Brom Blogger - http://westbromblog.blogspot.com/

PragueTory has written a guide to Birmingham for the conference goers here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spin City

I do worry about the BBC sometimes. Last Thursday Frank Luntz held one of his controversial focus groups on Newsnight to discover what floating voters think of the main party leaders. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. For some bizarre reason, however, they decided to hold it in Manchester.

Frank Luntz justifies it with the following opening:

"If you examine the election results from the last 50 year, the Conservatives could win the south, but still not win the election; Labour could take the north but not form the government; it's places like Manchester which make the difference (my emphasis)"
He then goes on to say that the focus group contains left-leaning voters from Manchester, presumably in order to discern whether they are any more likely to vote Conservative and hence form a path for the Tories to government.

The problem with this is his opening statement is poppycock. As Mike Smithson points out on Political Betting:

For me the programme was a massive missed opportunity - Luntz cannot come cheap and these things are costly to set up and make (his emphasis). Yet they chose to hold amongst existing and wavering Labour supporters in Manchester where, we were told, all the participants came from. If the producers had checked they would have discovered that there’s not a seat in city in the list of the top 200 Conservative targets. The main action will be two LAB-LD scraps. In Withington Labour will be hoping to regain the seat lost last time and Manchester Gorton could go on an 8.25% swing. Surely they should have found a location more relevant to the CON-LAB battle?

Anthony Wells has also previously noted in an article from 2005 (reproduced in comment 160 of this Political Betting article - I cannot find the original)

The increasing geographical concentration of the Conservative vote is more of a problem, while boundaries changes mean that the number of seats in the South is increasing and falling in the North, the Tories cannot win with the South alone. At the next election the Conservatives are likely to need about 115 seats to gain a majority - on my current calculations only 47 or so of their most winnable seats will be in the South East, South West, London or Eastern regions. The regions with the most target seats will likely be the North-West and West Midlands, both regions where the Tories went backwards at the election. The Conservatives cannot win without turning round their position in the North. While the undeniable fact that the Conservatives are irrelevant in many of the major cities - Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool for example - is not a great problem, the Conservatives can easily win without any MPs in these cities, they do need urban seats in places like Birmingham, Bolton, Leeds and Dudley.
To further back this up, a recent survey of marginal seats did not hold one poll in the Manchester area.

The reality is that it is nonsense to suggest, as many media outlets including the BBC and ITV do, that Manchester is an important target for the Conservatives at the next election. I assume when political journalists for these organisations hear the word "North", they automatically default to the only place in t'North they know - Manchester - and claim that it then becomes an important battleground for the Tories. The reality is that Manchester, politically at least, is irrelevent to who will form the next government.

Which makes it even more puzzling why Labour are holding so many of their conferences in there. In 2006, they decided to move away from Blackpool to host their conference in the city, followed up this year and they plan to be there again in 2010. Presumably the excellent conference facilities are the main reason they are holding so many conferences there, but one cannot help feeling they are missing a trick. In the US for example, the Democrats recent conference venue in Denver, Colorado and the Republicans venue of St Pauls-Minneapolis, Minnesota were picked due to their importance as swing states. Although the political map has changed somewhat from when these venues were chosen, with Minnesotta and nearby target Wisconsin looking like solid Democratic territory in 2008, the Democrats choice of Denver looks set to carve a path to the White House using current opinion polls; wins for Barack Obama in the Kerry states plus Iowa, Colorado and nearby New Mexico give him 273 electoral votes, three more than the 270 required.

The Conservatives will also be hosting their conference in the Manchester next year. If Anthony Wells above is to be believed, Leeds might have been a more sensible choice provided they could find a conference facility in the region up to the required standard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ferrari Internationale d'Automobile

So. Lewis Hamilton and McClaren have lost their appeal over the drive-through penalty given to him during the Belgians Grand Prix for not giving up his advantage. It was predictable, because you cannot appeal drive-through penalties. However, the penalty was still wrong.

It would have been justifiable if Kimi Raikkonen, the driver he overtook, had finished the race behind him. However, Raikkonen crashed out soon after and so the event was inconsequential to the result of the race. Instead, by giving him a 25 second penalty, they hand the race to Ferrari driver Felipe Massa who did not lose out from the manoeuvre. The same Massa who won the race before despite being illegally released into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil. The same Massa who did not get a drive through penalty for this as is usually the case, but got fined $10,000, despite risking the lives of the crew in the pit lane. In the GP2 race beforehand, Karun Chandhok received a drive-through penalty after being released into the path of another competitor. What was the stewards reasons for not punishing Massa? Apparently, “Unsafe release from pit stop, although no sporting advantage was obtained”. What has sporting advantage got to do with a rule based on safety!? And why was "no sporting advantage obtained" not given as an excuse for allowing Lewis Hamilton to keep his win in Belgium?

I've said it before on this blog time and time and time again, that the FIA is biased towards Ferrari. Maybe it is time to move on to a proper sport.

F1 = Ferrari First

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Liverpool Held and Hold On

Liverpool's bore draw with Stoke City may have damaged their Premier League chances, but it did little harm to their Promroiship chances giving them 40 points despite ending up third in the Match of the Day running order. Only five fixtures meant that most of the teams at the top ended the week with a lower average, with Arsenal and Fulham actually dropping places to teams that did not play this week. The teams at the bottom managed to close the gap with the leaders however, particularly West Ham, who managed to net 30 points with an uncharacteristic start to the programme. Not a particularly high score for the first match, but better than their average to date.

Promroiship Results September 20th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)

West Ham United v Newcastle...30
Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal....25
Liverpool v Stoke City........40
Sunderland v Middlesbrough....25

Blackburn Rovers v Fulham.....25

The Promroiship Table after Round 5 (08/9)

Manchester United...... 56......1....56.0
Aston Villa............ 35......1....35.0
Hull City..............135......4....33.8
Newcastle United.......130......4....32.5
Chelsea................ 32......1....32.0
Manchester City........ 32......1....32.0
Tottenham Hotspur...... 63......2....31.5
Everton................ 91......3....30.3
Portsmouth............. 58......2....29.0
Stoke City.............107......4....26.8
West Bromwich Albion... 95......4....23.8
Bolton Wanderers.......105......5....21.0
Blackburn Rovers.......101......5....20.2
West Ham United........ 71......4....17.8
Wigan Athletic......... 39......3....13.0

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The ProBrum Golf Test

Mike Rennie would wager that British Golf lovers and British euro-sceptics do overlap a teeny bit. It begs the question: who will they be supporting in the Ryder Cup? Can they swallow the hatred for the 12 stars they exhibit for the rest of the year over the three days Europe take on America to see who is the best at spoiling a good walk?

I am sure I read an article on the BBC a few years ago interviewing some prominent British euro-sceptics politicians on this very question. While I guess that many would have no problem supporting Europe, although they may have qualms with the EU flag being used to represent the continent, in this article many pretty much admitted they supported the US over the team with British representatives in, and one said he would prefer to support a US and British team taking on the rest of Europe (despite the fact this would be contrary to the history of the cup, where the UK played the US for the Ryder Cup). Unfortunately even with the aid of Google I cannot find this webpage so I cannot link to it; if anyone manages to find it please let me know.

We have all heard of Tebbit's Cricket Test which questions the loyalties of immigrants to this country. I wonder if there is scope for a "ProBrum Golf Test" which could determine whether euro-sceptics are loyal to their countrymen or their brand of politics?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

United Move Top After Loss

It was a fantastic weekend of Promroiship football with eight matches featuring on Match of the Day, and a similar amount of goals being scored in each match.

Manchester United made their first appearance of the season and went straight to the top of the table thanks to playing North-West rivals Liverpool in a top of the table clash - top of the Promroiship table that is, because Liverpool moved up a place to second after gaining 56 points this week, giving a familiar look to the summit after Round 4. Chelsea and Manchester City entered the table in joint 7th place after their first appearance on Match of the Day this season. Apart from Newcastle and Hull who appeared second in the running order, the other teams struggled this week gaining a maximum of 16 points each, lowering their overall average for the season and benefiting some of the teams who did not play on Saturday. As such, appearing on MOTD with so many other fixtures was generally a disadvantage, although if anything should average out over a season, it would be.. errm.. an average.

Promroiship Results September 13th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)

Liverpool v Manchester United...56
Newcastle United v Hull City....48
Manchester City v Chelsea.......32
West Brom v West Ham United.....16
Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal......16
Portsmouth v Middlesborough.....16
Fulham v Bolton Wanderers....... 8
Wigan Athletic v Sunderland..... 8

The Promroiship Table after Round 4 (08/9)

Manchester United...... 56......1....56.0
Aston Villa............ 35......1....35.0
Hull City..............135......4....33.8
Newcastle United.......100......3....33.3
Chelsea................ 32......1....32.0
Manchester City........ 32......1....32.0
Tottenham Hotspur...... 63......2....31.5
Everton................ 91......3....30.3
Portsmouth............. 58......2....29.0
Sunderland............. 78......3....26.0
West Bromwich Albion... 95......4....23.5
Stoke City............. 67......3....22.3
Bolton Wanderers....... 80......4....20.0
Blackburn Rovers....... 76......4....19.0
West Ham United........ 41......3....13.7
Wigan Athletic......... 39......3....13.0

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cameron Right Up My Street

Earlier this week, I mentioned that both the leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister were in Birmingham. Well it appears that David Cameron was actually a little closer to home and ended up in a cafe on the road where I live. It is not every day that a future(?) Prime Minister visits your neck of the woods - unless of course you live in Westminster.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Birmingham and the Brown Country

Birmingham hosted a two-hour cabinet meeting today, the first time the British Government has met outside London or Chequers since 1921.

In fact, according to the Telegraph, the leader of the opposition was also in Birmingham today to make a Panorama programme. It has not been nearly ninety years since the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister were both in Birmingham though; this event last happened earlier this year and appears to be slightly more common than previously thought.

What is the reason for the cabinet meeting being held outside London? I think privately Labour realise just how damaging the Conservatives decision to hold their 2008 Autumn conference in the city could be to them electorally. While Labour will have held two conferences in Manchester, by the time the Conservative party conference takes place later this month, they have yet to visit Brum except for the Spring Conference earlier this year.

I do not think it is a bad thing for the government to get outside the capital. Indeed, one of my biggest complaints about the way the UK is run is the fact that our over centralized country is run by diktat by a Westminster bubble. Will a day trip, or series of day trips, from our ruling elite to the rest of the country really change that? I doubt it; what we need is more decentralization and decisions being made by people who actually live in and understand the area they are responsible for.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Wisdom of Phil Neville

A weekend of International football means the Promroiship takes a rest this week, but due to the Blogpower roundup I failed to produce a table for the previous weekend so this gives me a chance to catch up.

Followers of this blog will know that Phil Neville's comments that Everton were always last on Match of the Day was one of the reasons I started the Promroiship. It now appears that the BBC are paying slightly too much attention to the verbal diarrhoea of the less talented Neville brother. That can be the only reason Everton v Portsmouth was first on Match of the Day last week ahead of two matches which contained five goals each. It left Portsmouth in second position after their first appearance on MOTD this season, and poor old West Ham bottom despite being involved (goalwise at least) in two pretty entertaining games so far this season. Fulham continue to lead the way despite not playing this weekend.

This weekend did show up a few flaws in the scoring system, with Bolton v West Brom gaining the second highest number of points despite coming last. As they could appear no lower, it does slightly inflate their Promoiship position. Not by much though. If the running order had been decided by number of goals, the first five goal and three goal match would have received the same number of points. The other five goal match, and the other two three-goal matches would have received less than thirty points. This would have shown the bias against those teams relative to the teams involved in matches where the same amount of goals had been scored, but is less fair when being compared with matches with a higher/ lower number of goals, particularly this week when there was not a nice 1 goal difference distribution throughout the matches (ie at least one match with one goal, one match with two goals, one match with three goals etc). Over a season, however, these things should even out.

Promroiship Results August 30th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)

Everton v Portsmouth.......42
Hull City v Wigan..........24
West Ham v Blackburn.......18
Arsenal v Newcastle........24
Middlesbrough v Stoke......18
Bolton v West Brom.........30

The Promroiship Table after Round 3 (08/9)

Portsmouth............. 42......1....42.0
Liverpool.............. 77......2....38.5
Aston Villa............ 35......1....35.0
Sunderland............. 70......2....35.0
Tottenham Hotspur...... 63......2....31.5
Everton................ 91......3....30.3
Middlesbrough.......... 88......3....29.3
Hull City.............. 87......3....29.0
West Bromwich Albion... 79......3....26.3
Newcastle United....... 52......2....26.0
Bolton Wanderers....... 72......3....24.0
Stoke City............. 67......3....22.3
Blackburn Rovers....... 60......3....20.0
Wigan Athletic......... 31......2....15.5
West Ham United........ 25......2....12.5

Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have yet to grace us with their presence on Match of the Day this year.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Happy Fifth Birthday

The new Bullring is five years old... and the bull has changed his colour for the occasion.

Of course, the old one was 2D and used to get mistaken for a dinosaur.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Blopower Roundup: Back to School Edition

Can you believe it? Another six week summer holiday has come to an end and teachers, students and associated hangers-on find themselves back in the business of nurturing young minds/ having their young minds nurtured or taking advantage of increasing governmental bureaucracy in our education system. With this in mind, I thought I would play the teacher for once and have a back to school themed roundup. Now I appreciate some of you will not have been near a school for sometime, so here is a picture of what children look like just to remind you, courtesy of Lady Macleod.

I face a class full of beaming faces, eager to start a new year at the Blogpower School for the Gifted and Talented, based this week in Birmingham. As the name suggests, the school has a lot of very talented bloggers who do not always get the exposure they deserve. Part of this is because they are lazy.

“So I hope you have all remembered to do the homework I set you at the end of last term” I ask expectantly, waiting for some interesting responses.

Some blank faces stare back at me.

“You know, the one where you nominate posts you have read from blogs in Blogpower?”

More blank expressions meet my gaze.

“You know, Blogpower, a community of bloggers that supports each other by reading and commenting on each others blogs”

Again silence. I get that sinking feeling again.

“Surely you are not expecting me to do all the work of researching and reading these blogs for you all on my own?”

What a stupid question.

“Very well”, I say resigned to losing the rest of my weekend and maybe more, “I will research and write a roundup for you of the best posts in Blogpower this week, but the very least you can do is spend some time reading it. There really are some very good posts.”

Sometimes I wonder why I bother.


We start the day with an extended form period discussing what we all did over the summer. Guthrum has just got back from holiday and spends his time moaning about what has happened when he was away. Not a great start to the day but at least he is here. Both Tuscan Tony and A Tory have taken their breaks during term time. No doubt I will get the blame if they fail their exams.

Chervil shows me some wonderful photos from her Dad’s garden, while JMB recounts a dinner she had with her wonderful twin. Ellee Seymour tries to convince me she received a cheque from a politician for a good cause, something I find hard to believe until I am assured the politician did not stump up the money. Two Wolves finds it hard to pay attention and starts reading some cartoons. Detention! You can do that in your own time!

Not everyone has had a good holiday however. The Morningstar tells us he has been diagnosed with having diabetes and is very critical of the (lack of) help and advice he is being given over it. This starts Calum Carr of on a rather justified rant of how badly one of his family members had been treated. One of Matt Wardman alter-egos interrupts and lets us know what the actual problems with the NHS are and how we could solve them. He speaks a lot of sense that boy, it is a pity such people never actually get to be health secretary.

We then start a discussion about the Olympics that continues until break. Miss Wagstaff may be Welsh, but she has no problem congratulating Team GB. Tin Drummer uses the opportunity to have a go at Alex Salmond. No Clue cringes at Boris and Britain’s part in the closing ceremony, which start me off on a characteristic moan about the prospect of having the Olympics in London. Calum Carr is particularly worried about the prospect of a GB United team, and its impact on Scotland’s sovereignty in the beautiful game. I tell him not to worry; it’s not as if the Scots are ever going to win anything, is it?

History brings break to a close, and the brilliant Gracchi enthuses us with his thoughts on the English enlightenment. Not everyone is so gifted in this subject however, and Colin Campbell has trouble remembering events in his lifetime. Bob Piper picks up on the theme of the Whigs mentioned by Gracchi and brings us to modern day politics. Suddenly, everyone is a lot more interested.

The Thunderdragon is unhappy with the modern electoral system and suggests some sensible amendments. The move onto politics has clearly upset me, but two students cheer me up by arguing some excellent ideas that are close to my heart. Firstly Ordovicus explains why socialism and decentralisation are not mutually exclusive. The Cornubrian follows this with some thoughts about why Welsh, Scottish, Cornish (and Brummie) nationalists should be republicans. The Thunderdragon, bemused by all this talk of nationalism, blames the idiots who want to define Britishness for helping to get us into this mess. Kizzie is more concerned about the similarities between her native Sudan and Pakistan. Such a clever girl, she has been interviewed twice by the media this week, once by the Arab Press Network and once by the BBC.

This does not move the argument away from politics however and Mike Ion starts to give Gordon Brown some advice on how he can fight back in the autumn. Oh, dear. The unholy trinity start a three-pronged attack on the government. Pub Philosopher believes Darling has lost it. Nick Drew of the Capitalists at Work collective wonders whether Labour is in the pockets of the insurance industry. MJW is more bothered about the state of the roads, and economic incentives to minimise disruption.

Class clown Bob Piper decides this is the point to resurrect a new version of an old joke that has been doing the rounds for quite a few years. The only type of economics Mutley is interested in is Home Economics, but we should remember that is astonishingly advanced for a dog.

The bell rings for lunchtime and I go to the staff room to meet up with some of my colleagues. Mr Starling is wearing his rose-tinted specs today and harking back to a time when the August Bank Holiday was something you could enjoy, unlike this year. Special needs teacher Mr Sackerson seems more concerned with the potential for house price falls. I tell him not to worry and ask him how his class is performing. Very well apparently; Deejay is now up to F in the alphabet, but Café Grendel is having concerns with a different kind of ABC, one involved in childcare. Another student having problems with childcare is Ruthie Zaftig, who has discovered undergraduates can get support but postgraduates cannot. Meanwhile, Crushed decided he does not like happy endings and has rewritten Rapunzel for a modern audience. Such a realist, that boy.

After lunch, I have an RE lesson with the class. As usual, on the first day someone has thrown up and I start by thanking Liz for her act of kindness. Sally in Norfolk pipes up and points out that Liz is not the only one who has performed an act of kindness this week. Welschcakes Limoncello voices her opinion that acts of kindness can be more commonplace and more subtle.

What is that I see? Jeremy Jacobs and Theo Spark looking at girly pictures? In an RE lesson as well? Give me a reason please, boys, why I should not put you in detention straightaway? Mr Jacobs remains silent, but young (bright) Spark claims it is actually a picture of the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee. Don’t be so ridiculous, I say, that is an attractive biker chick and everyone knows that conservatives are old fuddy-duddies. Surprisingly, Fake Consultant, our American exchange student, backs him up and starts dishing the dirt on the Republican VP nominee. He clashes with Andrew Allison, who claims that this decision ensures there will be a Republican in the White House next year. Such an imaginative child! However, this appears to be an argument that Question That has some time for, and he reminds me that unlike Florida in 2000, this election in not necessarily a done deal. Matt M remains unimpressed with the position of Vice-President, and brings the discussion back to the part of the anatomy that triggered off the discussion, but suggests using the other function of this important part instead.

Heather Yaxley uses the opportunity to think about what might lower the virility, and possibly the libido, of these lusty young men. Tom Paine moves the discussion from sex onto paedophilia, and gives some very mature views on the subject not normally seen in adults let alone children.

We finish the RE lesson with Matt M exploring the question of the existence and divinity of Jesus. Jams O’Donnell uses his Poor Mouth to tell us that the Dead Sea Scrolls may soon be making an appearance online. Then something really surprising happens. Can you believe it? The bell goes for the end of the day and the children clear off as quickly as possibly, leaving a messy, empty classroom and one exhausted teacher.

So there you go. Obviously as a teacher, albeit only one day, and therefore obviously a leftist socialist loon, I have been incredibly equitable and picked at least one post from everyone who posted in the last week, except for this one by Paulie, which I simply did not know where to put. Everyone’s a winner!

Now bugger off, children. Teacher has a lot of important government forms to fill in.