Worth Reading 173: Special Containment Procedures

The Overall Benefit Cap – a little time bomb under UK buy-to-let housing – Not only is the benefit cap a terrible idea for the people subjected to it, Daniel Davies shows that it has the unintended side effect of causing terrible ripple effects through the rest of UK housing provision.
The Seven Hurdles for Repeal of the Human Rights Act – David Allen Green goes through the hurdles that need to be surmounted before Tories would be able to push through their plan. It’s almost like they didn’t think this through before promising it.
There was an alternative: three things the Lib Dems could have done differently – James Graham on the alternative decisions the party could have made during the last five years.
The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit – “The obvious truth about global warming is this: barring miracles, humanity is in for some awful shit.”
Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck – Scott Santens on a looming threat to the structure of the US economy as we know it.

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Some of the more interesting takes on the election:

My traumatised Liberal Democrat party must rediscover its radical heart – David Boyle on the way forward for the party
Random thoughts on the election – James Graham has a few of them
Three more years of Cameron – but it will be a rocky road ahead – Very interesting analysis and prediction from the LSE’s Patrick Dunleavy
The vision thing – “is it possible to combine both popularity and intellectual coherence?” asks Chris Dillow
Back from the election – Anthony Wells looks at what the polls might have got wrong
And that’s that – “The trouble with lefties, and I say this out of love, is that we give a shit about integrity. Do you think the Right care about lies? They couldn’t give a shit if their leaders kicked you in the face and set fire to the rabbit hutch; they’re born to rule and that’s their place. Know your place, peasant. Nice one centurion. They lead and we vote for them, and that’s the way it will always be. If their leaders somehow forget to deliver something they promise or – it happens – completely lie about something, they just keep on plodding on. So what? They’re born to rule.”

I’ll add more as I see them.

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Worth Reading 166: War with the Parthians, before and after

A Brief History Of The Yemen Clusterf*ck – A useful primer and historical background to help you make sage and expert comments about the latest flashpoint.
The deficit: It’s a productivity thing – Failing to acknowledge lower productivity in the British economy isn’t helping economic debate make any more sense.
My Lib Dem ambivalence – James Graham explains his current issues with the party.
Floating voters: How living on a houseboat meant I didn’t officially ‘exist’ – Beyond the issues with registering to vote, there are some very interesting facts in this story about the number of people living in ‘alternative arrangements’.
Dan Hannan isn’t even wrong on the history of poverty – Left Outside on “around 900 words of nonsense from Dan Hannan. He’s a politician, I am sure of that because he definitely can’t be a historian.”

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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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Worth Reading 145: Vengeance of the factorions

Bill Drummond: the five lessons I learned from Ken Campbell – Some memories of the 70s and the Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool’s production of Illuminatus!
No sign yet of a solution to the shambles within the Tory ranks – Peter Oborne questions why the Tory equivalent of the Bennites are given such leeway by the party.
Freedom of speech and the right to protest – James Graham on how the latest ‘you’re oppressing my right to be an arsehole!’ kerfuffle is actually freedom of speech in action.
Alternate Universe What Ifs? – Parts of XKCD responses from other universes.
Britain First: More then the mere sum of the parts left over by the BNP and EDL – Some interesting information on the background and methods of the newest incarnation of the far right.

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Why the party’s structures have put it in so much trouble

I’ve just read a pretty major policy announcements … were announced …without even recourse to the party’s Federal Policy Committee
declaration … to end the party’s system of policy making by conference
The Federal Executive has become an even less meaningful body, with all significant strategic and administrative decisions being taken by a small, partly anonymous, cabal.
(the Parliamentary Party) largely feel left out as well
The party’s formal decision making structures need to be reasserted and their composition needs to be reviewed.

The wheels were already beginning to look as if they were coming off last year, and yet the signals from the top have been “business as usual”. This isn’t acceptable. It isn’t just leaders who become tired and intolerant of new ideas. We need fresh blood at strategic points across the party who are not afraid to sacrifice even the most sacred of cows.

Shocking, isn’t it? Such an accurate picture of the problems we’re facing. So, who penned this oh-so-accurate report?

James Graham, a little over seven years ago, just after Charles Kennedy had resigned. (discovered as part of my trawl through the blog archives for my ten year anniversary posts)

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Worth Reading 90: Touched by the hand of Cicciolina

Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013 – Mark Lynas explains how he moved from being anti-genetically modified food to being in favour of it. He makes an interesting point on how environmentalism can be extremely pro-science on issues of climate change, but then ignore it on others.
Obesity & ideology – Chris Dillow has an interesting take on how Labour’s inconsistent authoritarianism can be explained by managerialism.
Lib Dems, welfare and the art of negotiation – Very good piece by James Graham on the party’s current problems.
Lance Armstrong Wants To Tell Nation Something But Nation Has To Promise Not To Get Mad – From The Onion a couple of years ago, so yes, they’ve clearly been anticipating reality a long time before it happens.
Addressing the Daily Mail and James Delingpole’s ‘crazy climate change obsession’ article – The Met Office point out that James Delingpole is wrong much more often than they are.

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