One of Dwan’s more lucrative deals has been a 2004 PFI project to deliver a new building for Parklands School, in Speke, one of the poorer parts of Liverpool. To Liverpool city council’s consternation, the deal still continues to replenish the coffers of a company, Education Solutions Speke, of which Dwan is a director and has a significant shareholding, even though the last pupils left in 2014 when the school closed down as a result of desperately poor academic results. In 2015-16 alone the taxpayer will pick up a bill for £1.36m in interest payments on Parklands. By April 2028, it will have cost taxpayers near to £90m. The complex – Parklands includes a public library, leisure centre and other council facilities – cost only £22m to build. … [Read more...] about Are England’s academies becoming a cash cow for business?
Rivermead leisure complex
This Silenus inversion is, historically, the literal truth of the painting. If we were to dig up these two men, skulls are about all we would find, if not mere dust. Holbein is pointing out the grim truth about all the historical images of ancient Romans that were revered in Renaissance Europe - at Henry VIII's Hampton Court, terracotta portraits of Roman emperors remind us of past greatness. But in truth, Holbein points out, the reality of greatness, in time, is a skull. Life is death. … [Read more...] about The monstrous in the magnificent
Odious debt is a legal term usually applied to the endowments of dictators in the developing world. It means debt incurred without the consent of the people and against the national interest. While the concept is not accepted by all legal scholars, it has some traction. In 2008 Ecuador refused to pay debts that, it argued, had been illegitimately acquired by previous governments. I believe it applies to at least some of our PFI liabilities. … [Read more...] about The bill for PFI contracts is an outrage. Let us refuse to pay this odious debt
5. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) In Studio Ghibli’s first official film, conflicting forces tussle over the treasures of a floating island. The legendary root of western and eastern civilisation, Laputa’s evil heir Muska (Mark Hamill) returns to seize power. His plans are foiled by a young girl and a robot that, while at first appearing sinister, tends to the island’s flora and fauna. Miyazaki confessed that the village in this film channelled the Welsh mining towns with which he became familiar on his travels. … [Read more...] about Every Studio Ghibli film – ranked!