Summer Briefs

Blueprint Brief – 3rd July 2013

Britain’s social mobility is said to have stalled but the educational backgrounds of the current Cabinet tell a different story.

Of those who formed Mrs Thatcher’s first Ministry in 1979, 20 out of 22 were educated at public schools while only two, the PM and John Biffen, were educated at grammar schools.

Of David Cameron’s current 22-strong Cabinet, 12 were educated at state schools, including grammar and RC high schools.

The rest were educated at independent or public schools.

Source: Wikipedia.

Blueprint Brief – 26th June 2013

While America and Russia clashed this week over Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, many historic differences between the two countries have receded.

In 1966, when Howard Hughes made half a billion dollars in one day, picking up a banker’s draft for $546.549,771 on sale of his 75 per cent share in Trans World Airlines, capitalism was illegal in Russia and selling a pair of Levis on the street could land you in jail.

Today, there are an estimated 25 dollar billionaires in the former Soviet Union.

Blueprint Brief – 19th June 2013

Amidst the fuss over intelligence agencies reading our emails the scale of their task seems daunting.
With 2.9 billion email accounts worldwide there are, it seems, 507 billion emails sent every day.
Around 84 per cent of these are spam.

Source: Radicati Group, quoted in The Spectator, 15 June 2013.

Blueprint Brief – 12th June 2013

The Mediterranean diet is much imitated by Britain’s health-conscious minority. And though perhaps not popular in Manchester or Blackpool, which this week, were identified as England’s centres of poorest health, one issue is how much the Med-style diet pays-off in years of life?

As ever, it depends on how you measure it, but in 2011 men in the UK could expect to live until they were 79.

This is no longer than men in Spain, Malta and Cyprus all of whose nations are twelfth-equal in the world rankings for men’s longevity. UK-based men live longer, by one year, than the French, the Greeks and the Portuguese, though one year less than the Italians.

Longest life expectancy for men is in Quatar, at 83 years; two years longer than Quatari women.

Source: Wikipedia: List of countries by life expectancy.

Blueprint Brief – 5th June 2013

China, the world’s great communist power, has always favoured meritocracy over favouritism when it comes to administering the nation.

To avoid favouritism it has held written examination to select civil servants as far back as the 2nd Century BCE.

Elsewhere in the world such positions then, and sometimes even now, went to relatives and cronies of those in power.