What You Can Get Away With » Links

The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal – I’m shocked – shocked! – to discover that pharmaceutical companies are blocking drug law reform.
The future of Scotland – “Might SNP leader Alex Salmond bring in a swingeing castle tax?” The fears of Scotland’s aristocracy, brought to you in an article by someone with the surname Money-Coutts. We can close down satire now, reality has beaten it.
Orange and red – Jamie K of Blood and Treasure wonders how you’d explain the Orange Order to a Chinese visitor.
Are school vouchers good public policy? – Dan Carr looks at the question I raised in this post.
Present and future conditional – Alex Marsh on the spread of conditionality in public services and benefits.

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How political science conquered Washington – Relevant to my interests and things I’ve talked about before: how political commentary in the US is taking more notice of academic research.
Victim-blaming: an all-pervading curse – How a culture of blaming the victim lets the real culprits off the hook.
How Jim fixed it: the strange, dark life of Jimmy Savile – Rachel Cooke’s New Statesman review of Dan Davies’ book on Savile’s life.
Chicken – Flying Rodent on how ‘human rights’ and ‘political correctness’ are handy shields to hide behind when you’ve failed at doing your job and want people to not blame you.
No Name – A superb piece of writing from Jack Graham on the Ripper murders and how coverage of them has ignored the women.

And as a more general recommendation, Justin McKeating is back writing on the web again. Go read.

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On current trends the Green Party will have a significant, if not decisive, impact on the 2015 election – Some interesting data from the LSE’s British Politics blog.
I Was Raped At Oxford University. Police Pressured Me Into Dropping Charges – A rather shocking story.
Motorists have ruined England – and they need to pay the price – Given the current drive to make things as centred around the car as possible gets called ‘war on the motorist’, I dread to wonder what this might get called.
Can UKIP scale up? – Excellent post from Flip Chart Fairy Tales on the problems of growing a political party rapidly.
Ricky Gervais Broke My Heart – “Having once been a slightly overweight white male millionaire does not give you the insight required to speak with authority and flippancy on the complexities of body size and the effects of anti-fat stigma. Or race, or disability, or rape, for that matter. In fact, it makes you look fucking ridiculous. This just in: New Millionaire Discovers Millionaires Were Right All Along.”

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American police are more trigger happy than British criminals – “Americans are three times more likely to be killed by a police officer with a gun than someone in Britain is by a criminal with one.”
‘We Have Always Fought': Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative – An essay from the Hugo-winning writer Kameron Hurley. “Half the world is full of women, but it’s rare to hear a narrative that doesn’t speak of women as the people who have things done to them instead of the people who do things. More often, women are talked about as a man’s daughter. A man’s wife.”
Ferguson: A String of Betrayals – Interesting background on how Ferguson, Missouri got to be the way it was before Michael Brown’s shooting, and how that drove the protests afterwards.
Whatever happened to the big issues? – asks David Boyle
Everything you know about Hamas is wrong – Tim Holmes looks beyond the media simplifications.

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Too much democracy? Time for 21st century democracy. – An introduction by Martin Smith and Dave Richards to some of the themes of their book Institutional Crisis in 21st Century Britain, which I’m working through at the moment.
Forget quotas for women MPs – time to limit the number of men – Rainbow Murray flips the debate on representation.
Making policy for the policy invariant – How do you make policy if the people don’t care what the results of that policy are?
Public Statement on the Readmittance of Lord Rennard to the Liberal Democrats – Jennie Rigg says exactly what I would say.
Do political parties make any difference? – Alex Marsh with details of some new academic research that’s relevant to my interests, and also contains some information on the party’s stance on immigration that’ll be of interest to activists.

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Worth Reading 123: Easy As

Who Stole the Four-Hour Workday? – How we lost our dreams of more leisure and less work.
America Is Not For Black People – “They — we — are inexplicably seen as a millions-strong army of potential killers, capable and cold enough that any single one could be a threat to a trained police officer in a bulletproof vest. There are reasons why white gun’s rights activists can walk into a Chipotle restaurant with assault rifles and be seen as gauche nuisances while unarmed black men are killed for reaching for their wallets or cell phones, or carrying children’s toys. Guns aren’t for black people, either.”
This is what dysphoria feels like – An explanation that was enlightening for me, so I share it in the hope it may enlighten others.
Why Does Society Seem To Be Falling Apart, Even Though It’s Not? – “Every advance in technology allows us to do more with less, extending our reach further while allowing us to expend less energy*. Which means that the power that a deeply unpleasant person has to inflict emotional damage has also scaled up massively, and continues to do so.”
The Story of Class Struggle, America’s Most Popular Marxist Board Game – Not that there was much competition for the title.

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How did the First World War actually end? – Paul Mason explains some of the causes of history, and how our accounts of the war are often missing out the social and labour movements that were very important in it.
The Fake Sheikh and me: Tulisa talks – I wouldn’t normally link to a showbiz story, even in the Guardian, but the fascinating details in this are the lengths Mazher Mahmood and the Sun were willing to go to for an entirely manufactured story.
“Open Door Policy” – Andrew Hickey on the realities, rather than the tabloid headlines, of living with Britain’s immigration policy.
Work less, live more, do better – Is working too many hours actually meaning we’re doing less? Written from the perspective of working as an academic, but much of the information is relevant to many fields.
Two politics – Chris Dillow on the difference between politics-as-policy and politics-as-celebrity.

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‘Galaxy Quest': The Oral History – The cast and crew explain how it came to be.
The Higher Sociopathy – “Rather than confront reality, the philosopher of war resorts to reason. If the problem is the mismatch between the terrible grandeur of the means and the pedestrian poverty of the ends, don’t rethink your means, much less the war; simply inflate the ends.”
Education should be about progress, not prostituted as a means to earn more – Alex Andreou on the value of education as a good in itself.
How ‘competitiveness’ became one of the great unquestioned virtues of contemporary culture – On a similar subject, how we now reduce everything to competition.
The Suburbs Will Die: One Man’s Fight to Fix the American Dream – How sprawling American suburbs can’t pay for their own upkeep and are an economic disaster waiting to happen.

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The Explosive, Inside Story of How John Kerry Built an Israel-Palestine Peace Plan—and Watched It Crumble – A detailed account of how he came close to getting a deal, then watched it all fall apart. Rationalist theories of international relations hold that war occurs when the sides in a conflict have informational problems and commitment problems – this is a case study in both.
The tech utopia nobody wants: why the world nerds are creating will be awful – We’re in a world where someone is making, actively marketing and recommending for the poor a food substitute called Soylent. Science fiction hasn’t predicted jet packs for years, but it’s been entirely correct about the soulless grey corporate dystopia we’re stumbling into.
Time for 21st century democracy – How old assumptions about the way the British political system should work are making it less in tune with people’s expectations.
Guy Walks Into A Bar – A joke becomes an anti-joke, then a story.
Two Enemies – Alex Andreou on trying to understand the situation in Israel and Palestine.

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Let’s see if I can get back to doing these regularly…

Human rights hostages – Isabella Sankey, Liberty’s Director of Policy on the quite chilling effect of the reshuffle on human rights.
The real scandal behind the sausage cartel – David Boyle on the importance of breaking up monopolies. This connects to the issues I talk about in my fourth Russell and liberalism post.
An Occasional Guide To Modern Politics: The Young Sellout – ‘There’s nothing, NOTHING more mortifying than watching a 15 year old come out with stuff like “what young people want is fiscal rectitude and a cut in Capital Gains Tax.”’
Why Metadata Matters – Explained by the Electronic Freedom Foundation.
The rise of data and the death of politics – How algorithmic regulation replaces politics with data management.

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