- I was shocked this morning to hear a report on Radio 4 that there is something of an “adoption apartheid” in Britain (reported by thetimes). White children in care are three times more likely to be adopted than black children, and the waiting time for initial decisions about black children is up to six months longer than it is for white children. Delays and discrimination are apparent at every stage of the adoption system, the report says. One would think that as the little brown babies are all the rage nowadays in some circles, young black children would not be discriminated against in this country, but perhaps the little brown babies are only desirable (read: fashionable) if they’re born to mothers more than 1000 miles away. The Times is subscription only these days, of course, but I’m sure there will be several other reports about this story throughout the day.
- How is this going to work? Nearly two-thirds of universities in England want to charge the highest fee available (£9,000) for all of their courses (BBC). Now, far be it from me to pass judgement (ahem!) but I can think of about four institutions in this country who would get away with charging nine grand a year, and the rest can sing for their supper. The government (in its infinite wisdom) initially stated that universities could charge £9,000 only in exceptional circumstances so I have no idea how two-thirds of England’s universities are going to argue that one. But there’s a larger and more important issue at stake here. If it wasn’t already blindingly obvious, higher education has, once again, become the preserve of the elite in England. There is lots of tokenistic chatter about continuing to widen participation and ensuring the less-well-off can still afford higher education, but at £9,000 a pop, we all know how ridiculous that is. The current social mobility rhetoric of David Willets et al is now bordering on offensive.
- Libby Brooks’ Guardian piece – beware the anti-abortionists’ tiny steps towards reform – discusses worrying progress being made by the anti-abortion movement in the UK (which has utilised some of the same movement’s tactics from the US).
The modest group of protesters standing vigil outside the office of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service may not initially appear to embody the alarming infiltration of US anti-choice tacticians into the rather less noxious abortion debate on this side of the Atlantic. But the presence of 40 Days for Life, a Texas-based, church-funded anti-abortion campaign, in London’s Bedford Square over Lent is a reminder that, with a coalition led by the traditionally choice-sceptic Conservatives, peddling a localism agenda that favours the involvement of voluntary, charitable and religious organisations, the concomitant dangers for British women may be more real than they seem.
These campaigns are being helped along, of course, by the now notorious Conservative MP Nadine Dorries who appears to be prepared to say and do anything to get abortion restricted in this country. It’s a pity (for her) that a recent report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists refutes many of Dorries’ favourite lies which claim that abortion always negatively affects mental health. It might not be enough to get her to be quiet but it might be a start.
In other “news”, while looking down my Comment is Free RSS on google reader, I must have noted at least ten pieces about Kate Middelton. Enough already! I don’t care. Who does care?! Seriously!