» Links ¦ What You Can Get Away With

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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Trend piece – ‘Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. Isn’t the buzzword on your mind now? Perhaps it is on other people’s minds? Read on or you’ll be clueless, dated, and without any friends in the world. Buzzword again!’
The by-election in the House of Lords – Nicholas Whyte collects the statements of the candidates.
How Gary Hart’s Downfall Forever Changed American Politics – Fascinating look back at the political culture of 1987.
The Rules of Enragement – Why some professional troll pieces do better than others.
After the ‘No’: Constitutional Reform must not be by the Elites for the Elites – “The irony of this whole process is that political class have provoked a crisis that exposes the anti-democratic features of the previously dominant British political tradition. Their response is to try to control the process of reform in order to protect their shared vest interest in preserving the Westminster model.”

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Libertarian ‘Utopia’ Styled After Ayn Rand Book Spectacularly Falls Apart Almost Immediately – Almost too good to be true, but it turns out that libertarians are really easy to con with utopian scams.
The real Olive Garden scandal: Why greedy hedge funders suddenly care so much about breadsticks – Humorous internet presentation appears to have been a ploy by asset-strippers.
Yah all right? – The plural of anecdote is not data, but was there really that much of a ground campaign from either side in the Scottish referendum.
Independence, devolution and power – Alex Marsh’s good summary of the post-referendum situation.
‘Poor people don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken’ – The realities of living on the poverty line.

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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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