» alex marsh ¦ What You Can Get Away With

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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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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Too much democracy? Time for 21st century democracy. – An introduction by Martin Smith and Dave Richards to some of the themes of their book Institutional Crisis in 21st Century Britain, which I’m working through at the moment.
Forget quotas for women MPs – time to limit the number of men – Rainbow Murray flips the debate on representation.
Making policy for the policy invariant – How do you make policy if the people don’t care what the results of that policy are?
Public Statement on the Readmittance of Lord Rennard to the Liberal Democrats – Jennie Rigg says exactly what I would say.
Do political parties make any difference? – Alex Marsh with details of some new academic research that’s relevant to my interests, and also contains some information on the party’s stance on immigration that’ll be of interest to activists.

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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.

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An open letter to the British judicial system – From a cyclist, pointing out the ridiculously small sentences handed out to motorists who’ve killed or injured cyclists.
My reply to Nick Clegg’s civil liberties email today – Jo Shaw writes at Liberal Democrats against Secret Courts, asking Nick Clegg to live up to what he says and block the Government’s plans. (And if you’re a Lib Dem who hasn’t signed the petition against secret courts yet, why not?)
Nick Clegg needs to get crunchy again – Jonathan Calder has one of the best takes I’ve seen on Clegg’s recent ‘centre ground’ speech.
The gathering storm – Alex Marsh with a warning about future rises in homelessness.
UKIP are true libertarians – I’m still planning a post on libertarians and the Liberal Democrats at some point, but in the meantime, this is a good piece from Ed Rooksby in the Guardian, pointing out how UKIP are a great example of where the inherent selfishness of right-libertarianism takes you.

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In which I write the piece on thinktanks Dsquared promised – Alex Harrowell offers an interesting perspective on where think tanks fit into the political and economic ecosystem.
Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate – Very interesting theory and the wider point about literacy in other fictional universes is worth noting.
The Utopia of “Everyman” Toryism – A Very Public Sociologist on how Toryism has destroyed its own base.
Fool me once… – “The pattern is clear. Conservatives get the Liberal Democrats to sign up to something unpalatable and in return promise to deliver something favoured by the Liberal Democrats at a later date. The Liberal Democrats in Government dutifully act as lobby fodder for the Conservative agenda on welfare reform, NHS reform, whatever, whatever – frequently going against the wishes of their own party membership. Then when the time comes to reciprocate the Tories welch on the deal.”
‘Slut dropping’ and ‘Pimps and Hoes’ – the sexual politics of freshers’ week – Things have changed a lot since I was at university, and not in a good way.

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