Another week, another six blogposts for your delectation, education and enjoyment...
First up this week, Graeme Cowie at Predictable Paradox compares Scotland's system of Maintenance Loans with the new Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan regime in England and Wales with some interesting conclusions.
Next - and I wouldn't normally read or link to Guido Fawkes - here are some graphs showing how the average Income Tax rates have altered in different income bands between 2009/10 and 2011/12. (He links to a table of HMRC data to support his argument - the original data from which that has been cribbed can be found here).
This made big news but I make no apology for linking to the original story: Nick Clegg's interview in The Sun in which he supported the Home Affairs Select Committee in calling for a Royal Commission into Drugs - and for reform of our drug laws:"We've got to level with the British People." #IAgreeWithNick
It's been a good few weeks for Lib Dems at Westminster: from April the Personal Allowance will be just a shade short of £10,000, Clegg has found his voice on Leveson and Drugs, Legislation is now to be brought forward on Equal Marriage and the Draft Data Communications Bill (DDBC) has been ditched.
The DDBC has had a fraught history; the LibDem leadership had initially accepted the proposals until an outcry from the activists led to a different approach being adopted: the bill was published in draft form to be examined in detail by a cross-party committee of MPs and Lords. From Clegg's point of view, the key member was Julian Huppert MP, one of the view MPs with both a technical knowledge and background, a fundamentally Liberal mind and huge goodwill amongst the active membership. If he had said no to the bill, Clegg would have to too.
As it happens, the report tearing apart Theresa May's bill was agreed unanimously by the committee (5 Tories, 4 Labour, 2 Lib Dems and a Cross-bencher), so Clegg had even more ammunition than the "Huppert Veto" and the bill, in its current form, is dead! So much for pre-amble, here's a piece in The Guardian by John Kampfner. Every Government is prone to persuasion by the Security Services for the need for more powers: Liberals must always stand guard against these being disproportionate to any threat.
Housing is a big issue* which, arguably, we have never got right from the point at which Thatcher introduced the Right to Buy scheme but didn't make provision for the replenishment of the Social Housing stock. This infographic from Shelter highlights some of the many issues involved.
And finally, this from Stephen Tall on another Local Council by-election success; turns out that the Lib Dems really are still "Winning Here", where "Here" is Harrogate (x3), Littlehampton, Brentwood, Sutton, Vale of White Horse, Shepway, Folkestone, Havant, Watford, Eden, North Tyneside, Hebden Royd, Ryedale, Horsforth, Todmorden...
*If you want to read more by an expert in the area, I'd point you in the direction of Alex's Archives...