» Links ¦ What You Can Get Away With

Have England’s universities been privatised by stealth? – How fees have radically changed higher education.
Some Thoughts On Online Voting – Why introducing it would bring in a whole load of new security concerns.
Iran: The Ayatollah succession question – A report from Open Briefing that explains a very different political culture very well.
Modern money and the escape from austerity – Does modern money theory offer us a completely different way of running the economy?
Square this circle: Common sense, UKIP and the decline of deference – “Things like this make me not envy politicians. How do you make policy when you have to appeal people who think 15% of girl’s under 16 are pregnant, but which has to be implemented by people who know it’s nonsense?”

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The World Is Squared – Episode 3: The Greek Calends – If you’ve not been following Daniel Davies’ round-the-world dispatches for Crooked Timber, you should be. This is the latest one.
Why I HATE Malala Yousafzai – No, it’s not the predictable contrarian backlash, but a much more interesting set of points.
You Just Can’t Pander Enough – “the only time that we’re ever lectured about how we must all indulge the “concerns” of parts of the electorate, is when chunks of it are all het-up with cretinous right-wing dickishness.”
Labour and immigration: Whatever the truth – Line by line refutation of Simon Danczuk’s nonsense about immigration.
Conservative Party Conference: a golden age for the golden years – Brilliant piece by Peter Kellner showing just how much his generation have got for free, and how much they’ve stopped others getting the same.

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It’s federal election time! – Probably only of interest to Lib Dems, but Jennie Rigg will be doing questions for federal committee candidates again, and wants your input on what to ask them.
Utter scumbags – “What I cannot accept, however, is the properly grotesque argument which this contemptible, reckless, immoral and intellectually bust Conservative Party is running to justify and explain its human rights plans. In Grayling’s thumping rhetoric to the grinning faithful in Birmingham, you do not see a meaningful and serious-minded parliamentary deliberation on the contested understandings of human rights, but an abject and irresponsible failure to engage in any intellectual or morally credible way with fundamental rights ideas.”
So The Lib Dems Have A Glee Club Where They Sing A Rude Song About Tony Blair – Buzzfeed are, I think, the first media outlet to actually understand Glee Club, and not use it to prove some agenda or other is correct.
In Spain, Politics via Reddit – Interesting look at the way Podemos is using the internet to transition from movement to party.
Understanding UKIP: Identity, Social Change and the Left Behind – The authors of Revolt on the Right, Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin have a new paper on UKIP’s voters and supporters.

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Why Vote Liberal Democrat? – Alex Marsh has read Jeremy Browne’s latest book. It’s fair to say he’s not impressed.
How long would it take us to put people on the moon? – Andrew Ducker asks a question I’ve wondered about before, but unlike me, he gets answers.
The Status Quo Is Not a Neutral Position: Fiction and Politics – ” I expect these folks who think pure genre fiction is free from politics think we should just write about a post-racial capitalist utopia, where men are men and women are women. Because writing such a thing is not a statement of politics or morals or values, but of cold, objective fact.”
Politics – why can’t we admit mistakes? – Paul Bernal asks, though I don’t think anyone’s yet found the answer, or an alternative.
Why have the Conservatives not published their “Bill of Rights” proposals? – “The Conservatives do not really want to know what you think about abolishing the Human Right Act and they do not want you to have access to their plans, independent of any media outlet; the Conservatives instead care more about what the Press thinks and what the Press will tell you to think.”

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Human Rights, Devolution, And The Constrained Authority Of The Westminster Parliament – Because the Human Rights Act is ingrained into the UK’s devolution settlement, Westminster can’t just simply dispose of it. It’s almost like David Cameron is making promises he knows he can’t keep.
How IDS’ plan will starve and stigmatise people on benefits – Always remember that what they’re willing to do to the lowest in society, they’d do to everyone else if they could get away with it.
The Only Political Speech You’ll Ever Need To Read – “You know, the dingle dangle scarecrow didn’t want much. Just to shake his hands like this. And shake his feet like that. But who will speak for him? Not our opponents, I’m afraid. They’ve shown this week that they’re far more interested in standing up for the big Wicker Men than they are for the humble dingle dangle scarecrow.”
A quick post on human rights – Alex Marsh rounds up much of the commentary on the Tory proposals.
The budget and the bogus hairdressers – The Yorkshire Ranter looks at the link between unemployment and budget deficits.

And today’s bonus: this map of every rail route there’s been in the UK is fascinating.

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Scotland saw a huge turnout, but we should be sceptical of direct democracy’s ability to engage voters at the level of local politics – How the evidence shows that elected mayors and direct democracy don’t provide more engagement in local politics.
Ayn Rand’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer – “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Another dimension means an entirely different set of markets, an entirely different economic playing field. The chance to make and win our fortune in strange and exotic trading floors.”
The upas tree: the over-development of London and the under-development of Britain – A brilliant explanation of the failings of regional policy in Britain and why we need a new solution.
The Wire creator David Simon: why American politics no longer works – David Simon’s always worth reading and listening to, and his new series sounds interesting to.
In Farageland – James Meek in Thanet.

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Having seen some other people do it, I was curious about what the most popular posts of the last few months (since I started blogging regularly again) were. Thanks to Google Analytics, I can find them out quite quickly, and it turns out that they are:

5) Presidential questions response: Daisy Cooper – The first response to my challenge to the Liberal Democrat Presidential candidates.
4) Something Must Be Done About Boris – When Boris proposed that we should get rid of pesky obstructions to justice like the presumption of innocence.
3) My Presidential manifesto – In which I promised to do nothing, but got a response from three of the four candidates.
2) Worth Reading extra: On #DRIP – A collection of links on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

Which means my most popular post of the last few months is:

1) How did workism conquer the world? – A post that got quite a bit of attention and a lot of links, which probably indicates that I ought to write some more on the subject of workism.

Surprisingly, none of my series on Conrad Russell and liberalism made it into the top five, but several of them are bubbling just under there. There’s also been a general rise in the number of readers since July – who knew that regular posting generated regular readers? – and as those posts were back in July, they might not have got the same level of attention.

So there we have it – look out for a similar post in a few months time, if I’m bored on New Year’s Day with nothing else to do or write about.

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