Get real, tomorrow is not going to happen. By Dan Hodges – “Because this is the Real World. Where Real Things Happen. In barely formulated tabloid-ish sentences that have somehow made their way into a broadsheet where they masquerade as incisive realism. With their no-nonsense tone. And their full-stops.”
The Okinawa missiles of October – Did the US nearly launch nuclear cruise missiles at the Soviet Union and other countries during the Cuban Missile Crisis?
An interactive guide to ambiguous grammar – Make sure you read it right to the end.
After the Paris Attacks: Live News Should Challenge Narratives, Not Desperately Try to Create Them – Too much media coverage is desperate speculation to fill air time, rather than reporting what’s happened.
The Rennard debacle: better to rock the boat than have the tail wag the dog – James Graham saves me from having to write another post on the conclusion of this.

And as a fictional bonus, try Andrew Hickey’s Ten Things You’ll Only Get If You Were A 50s Kid.

, , , , , , , , , ,

Worth Reading 184: Abandoning the Antonine Wall

The sin of pride: We can’t afford a smug Chancellor – George Osborne’s policies are too short-term to protect the British economy when the next crash comes.
The 1992 Olympic Bid – In a move that made a lot more sense then than it appears to in hindsight, Birmingham bid for the 1992 Olympics. The Brumpic blog has a lot more about the bid.
Dan Hannan and Owen Jones are both wrong on Portugal – Someone who actually understands Portuguese politics explains why there hasn’t been a coup there, and how partisan commentators are misrepresenting the normal political process to score points.
The Lords and tax credits: fact and myth – Meg Russell of UCL’s Constitution Unit explains the actual position of the House of Lords and its powers, which is different from that assumed by many commentators.
Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse centralises power and devolves blame – From a Labour perspective, but explains very well how the Government’s current devolution proposals are about extending the control of the TReasury, not giving genuine power to regions.

, , , , , , ,

Politics is too complex to be understood just in terms of Left and Right – Some interesting research on the position of party supporters on a two-dimensional scale.
Uncovering The Secret History Of Myers-Briggs – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to discover that the famous test has a very murky past.
Dear Friends – The trials and tribulations of book promotion.
Robots are coming for your job. That might not be bad news – “If our economic system defines the basis of human worth as the capacity to do drudge work for someone else’s profit then the question that has troubled science fiction writers for a century is solved: not only are robots human, they may soon be more human than us.” How basic income might be the only thing that can save capitalism.
Backing the fiscal charter = abandoning opposition – “Any opposition MP that votes for it might as well just take the next five years off.” Why the Government’s fiscal charter is a silly idea, and the Opposition agreeing to it would be even sillier.

, , , , ,

Worth Reading 182: Without a blink

Political Madness Gone Correct – Flying Rodent writes a post I was thinking of doing, on why the supposed threat to free speech on university campuses is anything but. “It’s worth noting that the loudest screamers about campus activism broadly use student dafties as stand-ins for their political foes, none of whom are thick enough to give them the kind of ammunition that only a bunch of painfully right-on 19-year-olds can supply.”
Today we left reality behind and entered David Cameron’s fantasy world – Again in ‘posts I don’t have to write because someone else has done them’, Tom King discusses the bizarrely fawning response to Cameron’s speech.
Tories to build thousands of affordable second homes – That awkward moment when the Daily Mash appears to have paid more attention to Tory policy, and can thus criticise it better, than the mainstream media.
They have seen the future and it works for them – Jamie explains how the current Chinese system echoes the Tory aim for Britain.
China’s Nightmarish Citizen Scores Are a Warning For Americans – And for everyone else too. Imagine a system that gave you a credit score-like rating for all your activities, based on how good they were for the country. That’s not Black Mirror, that’s what China now has.

, , , , , , ,

The Quarter Quell: July-September 2015

Not been the busiest time on the blog the past three months, but here are the most popular posts from during it:

7) Labour’s leadership election takes us into the silly season – Remember when we all thought Jeremy Corbyn might win the leadership election? What an odd time that was…
6) Equidistance is good at winning votes, but not seats – My dissertation explained, and a notion of where Liberal Democrat strategy needs to go.
5) Where did the Lib Dem voters go? – Far, far, away…
4) European liberal parties don’t alternate between governments of left and right anymore – Another bit from the dissertation, with examples of how equidistance only worked as a short term strategy for other liberal parties.
3) Compare and contrast: Kirsty Williams and Danny Alexander on the future of the Liberal Democrats – Speaking up for liberalism, or consensus-following centrist mush?
2) Guest post: Liberal Youth members on why they’re supporting Tim Farron for leader – A post with over 50 authors, none of whom was me.

And so, the most popular post here over the last three months was this one:

1) Liberals, social democrats and Liberal Democrats: The Economist joins the long list of those not understanding the difference – When journalists talk about the Liberal Democrats being divided between ‘classical liberals’ and social democrats, it’s a sure sign they have no idea what they’re talking about.


With the dissertation over, I can get back to blogging some more. So here, have some links:

Not such a good idea: Why you should think twice about online voting – a good article setting out the flaws with online voting.
I work in PR – and we’re all terrible people – Also, water is wet. But this is an interesting insight.
Hard to be a god – An interesting essay from Ken Macleod on the intersections of SF and politics.
If the Hinkley C nuclear deal looks astonishing, that’s because it is – The strange economics of nuclear power are getting stranger.
My current reckons on Tim Farron and the Lib Dems – A good summing up of the current state of the party by James Graham.

, , , , , ,

Worth Reading 180: Turn around, treble treble

When Labour lost its soul, and the next election – Simon Wren-Lewis on Labour’s mistakes in abstaining on the welfare reform bill.
I gave up Ayn Rand for Bernie Sanders – An interesting perspective from the US on how the concerns that drive some towards the libertarianism of the right can be redirected towards the left.
10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Gaslighting – “Gaslighting is the attempt of one person to overwrite another person’s reality. There’s a good chance that you now know more about gaslighting than most therapists.”
How Democracy Works – Andrew Rilstone examines how his conception of it diverges from Harriet Harman’s.
A Terrorism Case In Britain Ends In Acquittal, But No One Can Say Why – Lots of questions arising from this, including ‘really?’, ‘am I breaking the law by posting this link?’ and ‘is this linked to the secret courts legislation, or some other bit of state security restrictions?’

, , , , , ,