UK’s Nuclear Power

 … by aiding the Indians, as we must, we are effectively supporting them to achieve a nuclear independence that we cannot ourselves afford

We do not yet know whether Commander Andy Coles will face a court martial for his heroic exploits aboard HMS Astute, but some disciplinary procedure seems inevitable. The poor fellow will be frogmarched down a holystoned Admiralty corridor until he stands before a bench of grizzled sea-dogs, champing their pipes and gazing with pitiless gunmetal eyes as they spit out their staccato questions.

How the devil, they will want to know, did he manage to ground Astute (magnificently named, eh?) off the Isle of Skye, a stretch of water hardly unknown to the Royal Navy. “Coles,” they will growl, “you have held us up to ridicule. We have spent billions devising a state-of-the-art stealth submarine, and you have contrived to reveal its secrets to the Russians, the Chinese and to every dinghy of chortling rubberneckers that went out to look. What have you got to say for yourself, hey?”

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Demand for New Homes

Watch out, folks, we are about to be hit by a snowstorm of economic data. So put on your goggles and look out for the one big hurtling fact that really matters. The key point you need to remember during this week’s spending announcements is that the population of the UK is set to rise by an incredible 10 million over the next 20 years. That is more than the population of Greater London crash-landing on a land mass half the size of France.

Not since industrialisation, not since medieval England recovered from the Black Death, has there been anything like it. Thanks very largely to Labour’s deliberate failure to control immigration, and to higher birth rates, the Big Society is about to get very big indeed.

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University Tuition Fees

It is no use expecting the universities to sort all this out by going to 18-year-olds and dangling bursaries in front of them, if those 18-year-olds have long since been let down by the educational system, or if they have concluded that university is not for them

If the omens are right, this could be an epoch-making week. Lord Browne, formerly of BP, is finally about to unveil his recommendations on university finance, and I predict the political equivalent of an undersea oil-rig blow-out. He will say that universities should be free to charge more for tuition fees – and there is going to be fury from Left and Right.

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The Tube Strike

I address myself directly this morning to the three million people – including many readers – who use the London Underground network; and I have no inhibitions whatever in focusing on these passengers, because the irritation they are experiencing as a result of industrial action is not only disgraceful, but an omen for the entire country as we struggle to come out of recession

If you have been kept waiting, or if your day has been wrecked, or if your colleagues and staff have been unable to make it to the office, then the first and most important thing I should say is how deeply I regret this strike and the inconvenience you are suffering. And if you are wondering why it is happening today, when the Tory party conference is taking place in Birmingham, then I hope the answer is obvious.

This is a nakedly political strike. It has nothing whatever to do with health and safety – nor have the union leaderships raised any such fears in the course of the negotiations.

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