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.
As you might have noticed, the Government’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill has been causing a lot of consternation over the past couple of days, both in terms of its content and in the way it’s been suddenly announced and rushed through Parliament. There’s been a lot written about it in that time, and so rather than try and write my own post about it, I thought I’d gather together some links to make it easier to inform yourself quickly.
Drip, drip, drip – the emergency surveillance law erodes our civil liberties – David Allen Green sets out a legal perspective in the FT (free registration required)
Don’t call this the surveillance status quo – it’s a cross-party stitch-up – a succinct account by Mike Harris in the Independent
We should be ashamed of these emergency surveillance powers – James Baker on Lib Dem Voice
Cameron and Clegg’s cynical surveillance trick – Ian Dunt on Politics Home
Liberal Democrats and #DRIP: naive or nefarious? – Alex Marsh weighs the evidence, but either outcome isn’t good
Threat of legal action not terrorism behind calls for emergency data retention legislation – The Open Rights Group make clear why this is happening. There’s a lot more on their blog too.
UK rushes through invasive surveillance laws as intelligence agencies go on trial – a response from Privacy International and Amnesty International
Privacy and/or Security? – From the Law Society Gazette
Dissecting the emergency Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill – Graham Smith looks in depth at the provisions of the Bill and how it compares to existing law
DRIP: A shabby process for a shady law - Paul Bernal on how rushing this through means no one has the chance to scrutinise it or its implications in full.
Lib Dems have cause to be concerned about the data retention bill – Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group writes for Lib Dem Voice to point out the flaws in the bill and why it doesn’t fulfill some of the promises about it.
Just what Internet services could #DRIP cover? – a Storify by @rgarner that shows the scope of the legislation.
The DRIP myth list – from the Open Rights Group
Emergency Surveillance Law A Blow To Privacy – from Human Rights Watch
And for balance, some pro-DRIP arguments from Lib Dem Voice – Norman Baker MP, Lord Paddick and Mark Pack.
Taken a while to put this list together, as you might be able to tell from the differing ages of the links…
Axelrod & matches – Chris Dillow uses Labour’s appointment of David Axelrod to point out that most successful management is strongly context-specific and not necessarily transferable.
Metropolitan bureaucrats ate our counties – Flip Chart Fairy Tales on just how bizarre the DCLG’s latest pronouncements on ‘historic borders’ are. The campaign for the restoration of Winchecombeshire starts…somewhere else.
The Manic Street Preachers: “I’ll always hate the Tory party. But now I hate Labour, too” – Interview with the band as their latest album is released.
The board game of the alpha nerds – An introduction to Diplomacy, which is the best, most frustrating, most challenging and most annoying game I’ve played. (If you want to try it, PlayDiplomacy.com is a good site)
What’s the point if we can’t have fun? – “Why do animals play? Well, why shouldn’t they? The real question is: Why does the existence of action carried out for the sheer pleasure of acting, the exertion of powers for the sheer pleasure of exerting them, strike us as mysterious? What does it tell us about ourselves that we instinctively assume that it is?”
Richard Hofstadter and America’s New Wave of Anti-Intellectualism – Not just limited to America, of course.
Robert Reich: “Paid-what-you’re-worth” is a toxic myth – “Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker got paid $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Today, America’s largest employer is Walmart, and the typical Walmart workers earns $8.80 an hour.”
Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa – It might not sound that interesting, but here’s a look behind the scenes at how regulation has affected food production differently on both sides of the Atlantic.
Good Riddance, Fred Phelps – And that’s how you write an obituary for a repulsive individual.
A nation of slaves – “Today, in the political discourse of the west, it is almost unthinkably hard to ask a very simple question: why should we work?”
The dark power of fraternities – It’s been doing the rounds because of an interesting opening, but the meat of this article on the influence of fraternities within the US higher education system is interesting.
The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda – “That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.”
America: Not a small business country – “There is almost no measure on which America’s small business sector stands out from those of other advanced countries.”
The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia – It’s unlikely that it would have worked, but an interesting look at the work that would have been needed to launch an emergency rescue once it was realised Columbia couldn’t return to Earth.
The Luton Peace Riots (1919) – ‘Can you have a riot for peace?’ asks Jim Jepps. Probably not, but this is a bit of British history I’d never heard before.
George Lakoff: ‘Conservatives don’t follow the polls, they want to change them … Liberals do everything wrong’ – Interesting perspective from a psychologist, which is in line with some of the comments Drew Westen made in The Political Brain.
Remarks on climate change – A speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry, where he appears to be committing the US to action.
Of wind farms, birds and global warming – Guess what’s mozt hazardous to birds: wind turbines or habitat destruction from climate change?
Recent developments in the United States vividly illustrate inequality’s threat to democracy – from Democratic Audit.
In World’s Best-Run Economy, House Prices Keep Falling — Because That’s What House Prices Are Supposed To Do – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find this article isn’t about Britain.
Oh look it’s a new year, so I must be trying to blog more and not leave this site fallow. Here’s some interesting things I’ve read recently:
Where will we live? – A long but fascinating and informative article on Britain’s housing issues from James Meek in the London Review of Books.
Seeming Female: Gender In Digital Spaces – Some interesting data on how men react to female characters in online gaming, regardless of whether or not their players are women.
Reds Under The Archive Table – “Charitably, the article can be put down to youthful hubris. But it is also complete bollocks.” Academic history is not a conspiracy of leftists, despite what certain Tory activists think.
Dear James Delingpole: You Are The Problem – I’m pretty sure we all knew that already, but this Foz Meadows piece shows why.
Sorry, I actually don’t want a “digital firepower onslaught”. I’d prefer better politics. – A short, but accurate, piece from Jon Worth on how doing more online isn’t changing politics.
And only taken me a month to gather these…
What the Royal Parks is doing to a charity softball league should matter to us all – David Allen Green on public space.
Can you solve Slate‘s gerrymandering jigsaw puzzle? – The bizarre world of US political boundaries, and what happens when they’re set by politicians.
On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs – “Why did Keynes’ promised utopia – still being eagerly awaited in the ‘60s – never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn’t figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we’ve collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment’s reflection shows it can’t really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the ‘20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.”
Branded to death – How marketing-speak is damaging higher education.
Myths Over Miami – Fascinating account of the stories homeless children in Miami tell of a war between God, the Devil and the Blue Lady.
Have slipped in collecting links for a while, but here’s the latest smorgasbord from around the web.
Andrew Neil – these are your climate errors on BBC Sunday Politics – Once again, Andrew Neil lies about science to bolster his own beliefs and mislead viewers.
Free to schmooze – Interesting post by Alex Marsh on the aims of libertarians within the Liberal Democrats
State of the parties – Jason O’Mahony on the current state of Irish political parties. Includes the great description “(he) resembles a man plummeting to Earth strapped to an anvil, who’s getting angry with people for not appreciating the magnificent workmanship that went into fashioning the anvil.”
The need for “grown up” policy – Alex Marsh again, this time on the Social Liberal Forum website, writing about the people who claim Liberal Democrats need to ‘grow up’ in our policy making processes.
An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients – a former weight loss consultant apologises for the damage bad nutritional advice has caused.
You can see my summer reading choices at Liberal England.