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Camden New Journal - COMMENT
Published: 17 July 2008
Have they finally learned lesson on home for new school?

UNLESS the council pulls off a piece of fancy footwork, we sense it may find itself boxed into a corner over its almost perverse attitude on the siting of a secondary school in south Camden.
So far, the council has said No, No and yet again No to any proposal put forward by campaigners for a school in the south.
Various reasons have been found. Some flimsy. Others even flimsier. “Don’t bother us – we’ve made up our minds,” has been the ­attitude of the Lib-Dem and Tory coalition.
The proposal to site the new school in Wren Street has merit.
Education chief Andrew Menear appears to be showing a glimmer of an open mind about the suggestion.
Waiting in the wings is an offer from Whitehall to pay for a new school – if a site can be found.
Are we almost there?

THE furore over knife crime feeds itself into every pore of the media.
London statistics show a response is required in the capital – but it has to be thought out, not a piece of soundbite politics or a ­policy dreamed up on the hoof.
Gordon Brown promises to deal with it by tougher policing and tougher ­punishment. But, in many ways, this is treating the symptoms – not the disease. In many parts of the borough there is a lost generation – ill-educated, jobless, existing in a ­vacuum of cultural ­poverty (see The Review).
The creation of jobs, better housing and better youth services point the way forward.
But that cannot be wrapped up in a soundbite – and politicians are adept at dodging these solutions.
n ONCE upon a time Gordon Brown promised politics without spin.
But yesterday (Wednesday) he passionately embraced it saying that four local councils had been given authority to build council houses.
It looked as if campaigners – including several MPs – had won the argument for a council housing programme (see Letters, page 15)
But in a stripped-down statement, minister Caroline Flint revealed councils will only enable developers to build homes on publicly owned land as long as 50 per cent are “affordable” – Whitehall speak for accommodation rented by housing associations.
In effect, this would turn councils into the equivalent of developers, selling or leasing land for others to control.
This is another name for private housing. A far cry from public housing. And all at a time when the private housing market is collapsing.
Like Mr Brown’s mantra “No more boom or bust”, it is the shallowest of politics.

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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