Five of the top fifty Labour achievements since 1997 – V

  • more young people attending university than ever before
  • more than doubled the number of apprenticeships starts, with figures for 2008/9 showing 234,000 started an apprenticeship this year compared to 75,000 in 1997
  • in 1997 more than half of all schools saw less than 30% of thier pupils fail to get 5 good GCSEs including English and Maths; now only 270 schools fail this benchmark and we are guaranteeing that no school should fail this mark after 2011
  • we have increased school funding to support the delivery of higher standards: between 1997/8 and 2009/10, total funding per pupil has more than doubled from £3,030 to £6,350 in real terms – an increase of 110%
  • the Northern Ireland Peace Process

“Nothing justifies torture” says former head of MI5

Baroness Manningham-Buller, the former Dame Eliza and Director-General of the Security Service (MI5), gave the Mile End lecture in the House of Lords a few hours ago.  Her topic was “Reflections on Intelligence” and I understand that the text of this will shortly be available on the Parliamentary web-site.

In the Q&A after the lecture one Jack Bauer enthusiast asked her about torture.  She was unequivocal in her reply:

“Nothing – even saving lives – justifies torture.”

She’d earlier made some comments about US “waterboarding” activities at Guantanamo Bay and she added the caustic comment:

“The sad thing is that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush watched “24”.”