Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are Faith Schools Safe under Gordon Brown's Government

I have written about the importance of having faith schools in this country before but I think it is important to raise this issue again. This is because over the past couple of weeks the Secretary of State for Education, Ed Balls has been backtracking over the Labour Government's support for these schools.

As a former pupil of Rosh Pinah and JFS both Jewish voluntary aided faith based state schools, I believe that these types of schools which have existed for decades and in the case of JFS for hundreds of years are excellent examples of what schools should be like. These and other faith schools produce children and young adults who can become active citizens in this country helping to make it a better place.

I would therefore be concerned if the Government was to stop supporting them.

I was though heartened to hear the recent comments of Michael Gove, the Conservative Education spokesman in Parliament, who highlighted the excellent success story of Jewish schools.

“As to history, I would like the House to recall the experience of one minority community in Britain. Its members came here, often fleeing persecution, with few resources and little in the way of marketable qualifications more than 100 years ago. They found jobs in sweatshops, retail, low-level commerce and other unskilled or low-skilled environments. Yet within 100 years or so—the space of two or three generations—that community has reached a point where it sends 80 per cent. of its young people to university. That community, the Jewish community, is—in education, as in so many other areas—an example to us all. I see no reason why other minority communities might not aspire to similar levels of participation or why we as a nation should not be inspired by that community's example.”
Michael Gove MP, Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families, Hansard 14 January 2008

Organ Donation

Last weekend the Prime Minister attempted to launch a debate on whether organ donation should be compulsory, unless people opt-out. This would be a change from the current situation where organ's can only be taken from the dead when they and their families have said that they are happy for this to happen. I do not believe this change would be a good thing to see dead bodies without consent.

Therefore some of my colleagues in the Barnet Conservative Counci group have written to the Prime Minister to express our concern. The letter is below.

Dear Prime Minister
We are writing to express our deep concern over the support you have expressed for "presumed consent" to organ donation on death, and for the system of "opting out" of donating rather than "opting in".
We are well aware of the need for an increase of organs for transplant, to enhance medical provision and the health service in general. It is of course the Government’s prerogative, if it wishes, to intensify its publicity machinery with a view to encouraging more people to become donors and carry the appropriate cards. However, the decision to donate should at the end of the day be entirely a matter of individual conscience, and we consider it quite iniquitous to envisage parts of people’s bodies being lawfully removed after death without their clear and positive prior consent.
As you are aware there are also many moral, faith and humanitarian aspects to this issue which affect and concern vast numbers of people, from a wide range of communities. Many of those views have already been expressed very forcefully in response to your opinions in the Sunday Telegraph. With respect, the change you are advocating could cause immense harm to religious freedom and community cohesion in this country – a result that no right-thinking person would desire.
We urge you will reconsider your position and would appreciate an acknowledgement of this letter.
Yours sincerely,

Cllr. Dean Cohen
Cllr. Melvin Cohen
Cllr. Mike Freer
Cllr. Brian Gordon
Cllr. Joan Scannell
Cllr Andreas Tambourides
Cllr Richard Weider

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Edgware Police AGM - Wednesday 9 January

I wish you all a happy new year.

Tomorrow evening I will be attending the AGM of the Edgware Police Safer Neighbourhood Team.

It takes place at 7:30pm at Edgware Masorti Synagogue, Bakery Path (off Station Road) in Edgware.

If you would like a say on how the police conduct their work here in Edgware please come along.