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Why the Tech Elite Is Getting Behind Universal Basic Income – Because they understand a world of more automation and fewer jobs needs it.
The hypocrites have jumped aboard the Magna Carta bandwagon – Peter Oborne on good form: “Mr Cameron’s Government has launched something close to an out-and-out attack on the rule of law. The idea that either he or his ministers give a damn for the principles that underlie Magna Carta is preposterous.”
Why I am not Charlie – “This crime in Paris does not suspend my political or ethical judgment, or persuade me that scatologically smearing a marginal minority’s identity and beliefs is a reasonable thing to do.”
We have been here before – “The awkward reality is that Europe is faced with a choice. We can single out and target our Muslim citizens, or we can accept and treat them as we treat everybody else and fight the terrorists as simple criminals.” Jason O’Mahony argues for the second option.
This Week In Panic-Stricken Commentary – Flying Rodent on his usual great form, looking at the reaction to what happened in Paris from Nick Cohen and others.

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Cis People Know Best, They Tell Us – How the New Statesman used the death of Leelah Alcorn for a spot of anti-trans concern trolling.
Will the UK voting system survive 2015? – “It’s actually quite clear which way people are going to vote; what is unpredictable is a voting system that is so poorly suited to its purpose that the numbers that it chews out could go anywhere. That this doesn’t lead more people than it does to declare that it is time to pick another system is a sad testament of how badly let down our media and politicians are letting us down.”
Worse than a defeat – James Meek on the many errors that we’re made in Britain’s most recent foray into Afghanistan.
Who bears risk? – “The idea that capitalists are brave entrepreneurs who deserve big rewards for taking risk is just rubbish.”
Are You Really Talking About Rehabilitation For Ched Evans? – What rehabilitation of offenders actually involves, and why Ched Evans’ behaviour doesn’t show he’s rehabilitated at all. (Warning: post discusses rape and related issues)

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Nigel Farage: The Media’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy – Alex Andreou on how the media are now congratulating themselves for creating the rise of Farage and UKIP.
Tied hand and foot: the sad and sorry saga of the rise of Britain’s giant ‘pubcos’ – Interesting background on how the old system of tied pubs became the modern pubcos.
The Uberfication of knowledge – What will the life of a writer be, when the whole world’s a potential content farm?
On nerd entitlement – Laurie Penny on why white male nerds really shouldn’t claim that they don’t benefit from privilege.
Hell Yes, I’m a Feminist – John Scalzi is (and so am I) and explains why feminist men need to be clear about it, but also not to try and ‘white knight’ it to make it all about us.

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I only returned to proper regular blogging in July of this year, when I started my series of Conrad Russell and liberalism posts, but it’s been a good year of blogging overall. I’ve got some attention since I’ve come back – I’m apparently the 7th most influential ‘other’ blog in the UK, though still not a political one according to Teads – and also picked up a nomination for Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year (which went to the much more deserving Jonathan Calder).

Thanks to everyone who visited, read, commented, linked or otherwise interacted with the blog during 2014, and hopefully 2015 will see a whole year of regular posting, not just six months of it. Let’s see what the most popular posts of 2014 were, shall we?

10) There’s been at least one former Prime Minister in Parliament since 1756, but could that end next year? – This came from a random thought that struck me after Gordon Brown announced his retirement, and the research for it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Even if it doesn’t happen this year, I suspect the changing nature of the House of Lords and the tendency of former PMs to not hang around the Commons mean it won’t be long before it does.
9) The tribalism of the One True Party is why people are turned off by politics – One thing I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few months is how party politics in the UK is very close to being utterly broken. This is just one symptom of it: the passionate intensity some believe in their cause with.
8) A few thoughts on UKIP vote shares and their chances in 2015 – Written before the Carswell defection, so outdated in some respects, but I do think there’s an interesting avenue of study in the effects of differential turnouts.
7) Something Must Be Done About Boris – I’ve noticed that public attitudes towards Boris appear to have been shifting over the past few months, as though people are beginning to see through the ‘LOL Boris’ act to the naked ambition and repulsive views that hide underneath. This post looks at how he casually suggested getting rid of the presumption of innocence, part of that tarnishing he’s brought upon himself.
6) Presidential questions response: Daisy Cooper – The 2014 Liberal Democrat presidential election generated a lot of attention over the last few months, and even though Daisy didn’t win, she did get more people reading her responses to my questions than any of the other candidates. I was impressed by Daisy’s ability to come up with detailed responses to my questions in such a short time.
5) My presidential manifesto – The post that generated the questions to the candidates, and misinterpreted by at least one person on Twitter who insisted that I shouldn’t stand for the position. I think the problems I highlighed here are still a problem with the party, and are something that needs to be addressed before wider voting for all party posts comes in – I’m not alone in wanting to see people say what they actually mean rather than hide behind boilerplate ‘hard working campaigner’ descriptions and vaguely coded rhetoric.
4) Have I Got News For You makes history – but far too late #HIGNFY – I’ve been maintaining my spreadsheet on the gender breakdown of HIGNFY guests for a while, so it was an obviously an interesting moment when the show had its first episode with a majority of women on screen, and the first all-female guest line-up since 1997. Unfortunately, this was the high point of the current series, and a chance to set a whole set of firsts was missed.
3) Worth reading extra: on #DRIP – The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was rushed through Parliament because Something Had To Be Done, and sadly Liberal Democrats acquiesced in that process. This post was an attempt to gather together a bunch of information on DRIP, and why we didn’t need it, in an ultimately doomed effort to slow down that rush.
2) How did workism conquer the world? – An idea and a post that had been gestating for a while, so I’m glad it got a lot of attention and appeared to strike a chord with many people. I do need to do some more thinking and writing about workism as a concept, and how we can fight against it, but I do think this is an interesting introduction to the concept.

And so, my most popular post of 2014 was:

1) Liberal Democrats for Basic Income, anyone? – Linked to the idea of workism (and only just beating it to the number one spot by a handful of views), this did reveal I’m not alone in thinking that the idea of a basic income could be what liberalism needs to reinvent itself for the twenty-first century. Now we just have to move on and try and make it happen.

One again, thanks to the small football stadium-filling number of you that visited the blog over the past twelve months and I’m glad you found what I write to be of some interest. Hopefully, I’ll continue to keep that interest during 2015.

According to Google Analytics, these were the five posts offered in tribute that got the most readers for the last three months of 2014:

5) Lib Dem Voice got the presidential race badly wrong, and it raises questions about their surveys – And yet they still continue to headline their surveys with ‘Lib Dem members think’
4) There’s been at least one former Prime Minister in Parliament since 1756, but could that end next year? – If David Cameron stays as PM, and none of Brown, Major or Blair join the Lords, a 259 year-old tradition will end.
3) The tribalism of the One True Party is why people are turned off by politics – Prompted by a Labour member, but applies to members of all parties.
2) Have I Got News For You makes history – but far too late #HIGNFY – The first ever episode of Have I Got News For You with more women than men on screen aired.

Which means the most popular post of the last three months was…

1) Liberal Democrats for Basic Income, anyone? – ‘Yes’ was the answer, apparently.

Thanks to everyone who visited, and there’ll be a post looking back at the most popular posts of the year going up soon. There might even be some original content in the next few days too, if you’re really lucky.

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Low oil prices – a threat to the dollar – Some interesting speculation from Jim Bliss on the longer-term implications of the falling oil price and crashing rouble.
Ayn Rand Reviews Children’s Movies – Something for the family that hates each other.
Ayn Rand helped the FBI investigate whether ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was commie propaganda – This one isn’t a spoof, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was.
Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty – The problematic consequences of social media creating automatic content.
Right to own – Why aren’t capital unions treated the same way as labour unions?

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Political Illiteracy – Chris Dillow wonders about the connections between economic crisis and political crisis.
Custard Creams Are Cheaper Than Cous Cous, But You Can’t Expect A Fucking Baroness To Know That – Eating healthy isn’t as cheap as some think, and just being poor is expensive.
The legend of the free labour market – the idea that there was a period when governments didn’t interfere in labour markets is a myth, according to Flip Chart Fairy Tales.
The next affluent society – “The problem of capitalism is no longer making enough stuff but, rather, finding consumers affluent enough to buy it.”
Another open letter to Russell Brand (this one’s shorter and not shit) – Stavvers on the real problems with Russell Brand, which aren’t anything to do wit how hot or cold someone’s lunch might be.

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