The daily catch-up: Chuka Wuchita, schools performance and Mitt Romney (really?)

Blogs, posts and no cat pictures culled from around the internet by our chief political commentator
  • @johnrentoul

1. A profile of Chuka Umunna by Bagehot in The Economist adds to the shadow Business Secretary's reputation as a Labour leadership contender. It has a rather sharp and un-Economist riposte to Ukip supporters' reaction to Umunna's criticism of them: "It is surprising what some racist scumbags take exception to."

However, I can't help think that Umunna's "Wuchita" stumble yesterday (he pronounced Worcester in the American tourist fashion) puts him a little further from being ready to lead Labour. On the other hand, he did well in a recent Survation poll, which asked people to look at one-minute videos of leadership possibles: he and Yvette Cooper emerged as the most favoured candidates.

2. David Aaronovitch's fine Times column yesterday on the need for a Muslim reform movement is now outside the pay wall. It includes this striking comparison: Syrian civil war, 170,000 deaths in 3 years; Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 10,000 in 25 years. Unexpectedly, Mehdi Hasan said: "There is a lot wrong in this David Aaronovitch column on Islam/Muslims but, if I'm honest, some things right in it too." We look forward to a detailed listing.

3. A private-school education is worth an extra £58,000 in earnings by the age of 42, when all other factors are taken into account, according to a Social Market Foundation report. (Declaration of interest: I am a member of the SMF's advisory board.)

4. Meanwhile, state school news. A delegation of top bods from the UK, including Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, and David Halpern, the head of the Nudge Unit (properly known as the Behavioural Insights Team) visited the Maths Mastery programme in Singapore, which may be part of the success of Singapore's schools, and which is now subject to randomised control trials. This blog post by Halpern is highly commended.

5. "Can Mitt Romney pull a Nixonian comeback to win the White House in 2016?" A fine QTWTAIN (Question To Which The Answer Is No) asked by the Nixon Foundation yesterday, referring to this article

6. Finally, thanks again to Chris Heaton-Harris:

"A friend of mine being investigated by the Police for stealing swimming pool inflatables has gone into hiding. He has to lilo."