24 Hours In Any City In The World – “The perfect, meticulously-searched guide to Any City In The World for people who, for some bizarre reason, have only allocated 24 hours to explore it.”
4 Things We Should Remember When Arguing About Politics – Useful perspective from Cracked.
As Millenials Shun Cars, Boston Rethinks Its Transportation System – “when I was learning to drive, the idea of driving out in the country and even driving around town and not spending a lot of time sitting in traffic was actually something of a reality. As Americans started driving more and more over the years, there’s no more open road in the United States. Almost everyone who’s driving is driving places that are pretty darn congested.”
A short history of swivel-eyed loons – Chris Brooke delves into Lexis and finds the moment when the swivel-eyed and the loon were first bound together in political commentary.
What Nigel Farage told British expats in Spain – Jon Danzig picks apart a succession of UKIP arguments.

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Do we want fewer councillors, or should we make better use of those we have? – Andrew Coulson of the Institute for Local Government Studies asks a few questions about just what local government in the UK is for.
Argonauts of the incredibly specific: anthropological field notes on the Liberal Democrat animal – Some interestingly accurate assessments of the party from a departing member.
UKIP: The victory of the ruling class – A typically incisive post from Chris Dillow, pointing out that UKIP are anything but anti-establishment. “The discontent that people might reasonably feel against bankers, capitalists and managerialists has been diverted into a hostility towards immigrants and the three main parties, and to the benefit of yet another party with a managerialist and pro-capitalist ideology.”
This Other England: The Inevitable UKIP Post – “A significant minority of voters who hate everything about this country except the past. It’s a depressing vision – but one that we now have to confront.”
How can we reform local elections? – A proposal from Unlock Democracy to allow councils to determine their own electoral system locally.

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Common decency fail at the Huff Post – Jim Jepps on why posting pictures of David Miliband with his flies undone helps to drive politicians further away from the public.
Eastleigh – Why There’s No Farage – Because, explains Tim Fenton, despite his talk of the importance of Westminster, he’s no desire to actually be an MP.
Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: Storm Damage Vehicles – An illustration of the amount of damage done by the storm, that also prompts questions about why they’re all being disposed of.
Against Save Our Thing – Alex Harrowell explains why campaigning to save social hardware is misguided when its the software that’s under attack.
The Shard: beacon of the left’s skyline – Owen Hatherley on how the 1980s changes in local government led to the skyscrapers of today.

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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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The Problem With Liberal Democrats In Government – That sound you hear? Jennie Rigg hitting a nail perfectly on the head.
Let’s end this Christmas Psalms Race – Jim Jepps has some entirely reasonable suggestions for keeping Christmas entirely within December.
Welcome to Pyongyang – Simon Titley discusses Liberal Democrat internal democracy on Liberator’s blog.
The rise of UKIP: what does it all mean? – Analysis from Dr Rob Ford on Political Betting.
Is politics impossible for ordinary people? – “Can an ordinary person sustain the disdain bordering on hatred directed at politicians (of all parties) mixed with the irrational and overly emotional expectations of modern voters?”

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They’re riding high(ish) in the polls, they’ve just broken their own recently-set record for their best by-election performance and with the European elections of 2014 on the horizon, it seems UKIP are getting serious:

It’s no secret that the Ukip leader Nigel Farage is planning a purge of many, if not most, of the party’s existing 11 MEPs. He feels that too many of his MEPs up to now have oddballs and eccentrics, too old, often lazy, sometimes corrupt. He thinks his MEPs don’t project the right kind of modern, serious image that will appeal to young people and those who’ve never voted for Ukip before. And Mr Farage also thinks he hasn’t got enough prominent women in his party.

That’s certainly a bold move, sweeping away the old guard for a new, young and fresh breed, ready to show how UKIP are dramatically different from the other parties…

Wait? They’re planning to have both Christine and Neil Hamilton as candidates?

As Sir Humphrey might say, that’s a brave decision, Mr Farage.

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North Korea, Ireland, UKIP, revolutions and the end of the world. Enjoy.

Don’t be fooled: UKIP is not a libertarian party – Alex Massie in the Spectator points out what should be obvious, but ‘libertarian’ has been so abused, people sadly think they are.
Stand Still for the Apocalypse – Chris Hedges on the latest World Bank report on global warming, which is predicting all sorts of nightmares for the rest of the century.
It really is that bad: A powerful speech on North Korea – “One challenge I always have when I speak about North Korea is I run out of adjectives for how bad things are.” What’s happening in North Korea, and how we’re letting it go on. (Watch the video too)
On social change – Chris Dillow asks if we’re going through a revolution right now
10 things that are different about British and Irish politics – An interesting illumination by Jason O’Mahony. “Whereas hardly any Irish TDs rebelled over paying billions to bank bond holders, they did break ranks over dog breeding and the inspection of septic tanks.”

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Various people were buzzing this morning thanks to this story in the Telegraph where UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler talks about people he’s had lunch with recently. With this, and the bizarre ‘Sarah Teather’s about to join Labour’ rumour that went round last week, it seems we’re in a new silly season, probably caused when everyone got confused by an MP going on a televised holiday to Australia in November.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, MPs crossing the floor is something that’s happened very rarely in modern times. (See here for a list) They also tend to happen as surprises, because negotiations about defection take place in secret, not with the full blast of publicity. I don’t doubt that Stuart Wheeler has had lunch with Tory MPs, and he might even have floated the idea of them joining UKIP at those lunches, but equally those MPs might well have thought that they were doing their bit for the Conservative Party and trying to lure him back. If UKIP had one Tory MP close to defecting to them, let alone eight, they’d be keeping very quiet about it until it was a done deal. Making noise about it seems to be more about attempting to drum up some interest and make Tory backbenchers restless, rather than a signal of imminent defections.

Indeed, one might want to ask what a Tory MP would get out of switching? The prize the Tory anti-Europeans appear to be seeking at the moment is an electoral pact with UKIP, and if that deal seems possible – and Nigel Farage appears to be indicating that if the Tories defenestrate David Cameron, he might be open to it – why would you defect to a party that’s going to step aside to give a free run to the one you’ve just left? (Though there’s an interesting question about how much impact a pact like that would have – see Anthony Wells’ latest piece for more on that) Defections tend to take place between competing parties, not ones that are seeking to come to an accommodation.

From UKIP’s perspective, there’s also what you could call the Kilroy factor to be aware of too. They got lots of headlines from Robert Kilroy-Silk joining the party in 2004, but the subsequent turmoil caused by his belief that he was the biggest fish in a very small pond damaged the party. UKIP may want MPs, but do they want ones who’ll get lots more publicity than the rest of the party and try to mould the party around them?

I wouldn’t be that surprised to see a Tory MP switch to UKIP at some point in this Parliament, but like many defections, it’ll likely be someone disaffected (and possibly deselected), rather than some mass ideological walkout. They’ll continue to woo Tory MPs, but any actual defection will likely come after a period of silence, not a PR blitz.

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This week on Question Time, we’re in the ruins of Ancient Mu.

The Regeneration of Doctor Who – Some interesting synchronicities between Doctor Who and the KLF. (This is because Bill Drummond is a Time Lord, of course)
Argh, plot bunny: free to a good home – Explaining he secret history of Hollywood
Rotherham, UKIP, And What We Don’t Know – Tim Fenton sums up the issues around the Rotherham fostering case very well.
Is there Bias on BBC Question Time? – A Very Public Sociologist looks at the political make up of the QT panels. It’s slightly better on gender balance than Have I Got News For You, though.
The cosy consensus I saw on Question Time’s panel is a disservice to every man and woman in Britain – Owen Jones after his appearance on QT.

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How the mainstream media derailed addressing child abuse – Why talk about real crimes and ruined lives when you can instead obsess over what it means to you, instead?
Keeping the Lights On: a look at UKIP’s energy policy evidence base – Are you surprised to find it doesn’t have much of one, and what it does have is misrepresented and misinterpreted?
The Very Existence of Local Government Hangs in the Balance – The leader of Brighton and Hove Council explains how a government that pretends to want localism is actually removing any possibility for it.
On Subjectivity: Wild Swans, Escher Girls and mansplaining – Ro Smith on the importance of breaking out of your own perspective and understanding that you don’t know how others see the world.
Education is losing its validity as a way forward for the younger generations – At the LSE British Politics and Policy blog, Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen argue that “because education cannot meet employment aspirations its main purpose has become social control over youth”.

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