The opening sentence of Jane Miller’s new book is stark. “I am old and I feel and look old.” In person, however, she seems anything but. As we saunter along Kings Road in London, she in her light grey Converse trainers and short black coat, I am struck by how raffishly youthful she appears. A deft emailer with a razor-sharp mind and an unusual openness to life’s more uncomfortable truths, Miller, now 77, swims every morning in her local pool and is currently reading War and Peace for the third time,
‘Stop knocking comprehensives. They work’.
That was my first thought on discovering the author of this spirited post on comprehensives on the Guardian website. I don’t agree with everything in it but it’s such a rare genre, the pro comprehensive piece, that I have to reproduce it, even if it does come from a strange stable, politically speaking.
Read Melissa Benn’s latest review, of Laura Bush’s autobiography Spoken from the Heart, published in yesterday’s Guardian Review.
Read my latest Comment is Free post on the Guardian website about ways Labour might change following its electon defeat.
The idea for the piece first came to me after I went to a local Labour Party meeting, following the election; like many people, the election itself and Labour’s relatively narrow defeat reminded me of where my political values and ultimate loyalty lay ( not that there had ever been any real doubt, as those who know me well often complain!)
I had not been to a local Labour Party meeting for decades,
Great piece by Katharine Viner in The Guardian today about the dearth of women or indeed any diversity in the new Con/dem coalition and how this reflects the general absence of women from mainstream political life over the last few weeks. Read it and weep. And then get organised……
Read Melissa Benn’s latest pieces on the web. Further comment on ‘bigotgate’ in Public Finance, and a piece on one of Burma’s most celebrated activists, the poet and comedian Zarganar, recently sentenced to thirty five years for criticising the government’s handling of cyclone Nargis in 2008, on the Guardian’s Liberty Central section of Comment is Free.
Read Melissa’s latest post on Comment is Free, the Guardian website, about Mary Warnock’s proposals for secondary schools in an age of austerity.
Read Melissa’s latest post on political women versus political wives on Guardian’s Comment is Free website.
Read Melissa Benn’s latest posting on Guardian Comment is Free on the way Tory education spokesman Michael Gove bandies about the word comprehensive whenever he can, despite the content of opposition education policies.
Another one of my ongoing series * in which I highlight articles or speeches that I admire so much I – kind of – wish I’d written or given them! So, to kick this particular series off: a terrific comment page piece by David Edgar in today’s Guardian about the values and innovation underlying the best sort of public service. It’s no coincidence that such views are being expressed as we come towards the (possible) end of the New Labour era.