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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
British through and through
Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
Presenter
The Politics Show

Union Flag hat
British, but what is 'being British'?

Hello again...

We hear a lot about Britishness, particularly from the Prime Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown.

Most of the actual proposals, about the Union Jack or a national day, sound pretty innocuous.

But what if Ministers really meant it, about changing the way our society works?

In the coming week, the Commission on Integration and Cohesion will report, with some potentially explosive suggestions.

Should government stop pandering to those who can't or won't learn to speak our language, by withdrawing translators from those accessing public services?

Should Somali, Bangladeshi or Polish community groups lose their funding, in favour of groups which cross ethnic boundaries?

Such policies might promote Britishness, but perhaps to the disadvantage to some of the most vulnerable in society.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly, joins me live.

Veering left

Block of flats
Building council houses - appealing once again?

Nobody builds council houses any more.

Once a third of all homes were council-owned; now it's barely a tenth.

Three years on the trot, the Labour leadership has been defeated by its own Conference which has demanded government money for council housing.

Now Labour Deputy leadership candidates and even Gordon Brown - as they try to appeal to a Labour Party audience - are hinting that they might relent, and find money to build council houses once more.

We report from a weekend conference where the left of the party is flexing its new-found muscle.

Sixteen not out?

Class of schoolchildren
Just when you thought you were off... it goes up to 18 - or will it?

Some of our older viewers will recall that until 1947, the school leaving age was 14.

Many more of you will remember that it didn't rise to 16 until 1972 - and many people, including the current Education Secretary, took advantage by leaving school and looking for a job at the age of 15.

Now the government is proposing to keep everyone in education or training until 18.

On the face of it, this might solve skills shortages, and address the problem of hundreds of thousands of teenagers between 16 and 18 doing nothing with their lives at all.

But would this just get in the way of them finding real jobs?

And would the young people in question - who tend to be the least academic and the least motivated - really get anything very much from classes or training?

The Politics Show goes back to school...

As long as your homework is all done... join me this Sunday at 12 noon...

The Barker Gallery: Blair's legacy... The Great Leveller



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