Kings, queens and the political chess match – Sue Cameron ponders what the invitation to HM The Queen to attend cabinet this week could portend: ‘Charles III might point to that precedent and say he would like to follow it. Moreover, he would like to attend more regularly and speak at it more often on issues like farming, the environment, architecture…’
A case remains for economic liberalism – Samuel Brittan with a timely (if slightly rambling) wander through its philosophical underpinning: ‘for all the looming problems, it is still untrue that the nanny state knows best.’
Sell: Cable, Umunna, IDS; Buy: sensible backbench Tories – Rafael Behr looks at who’s been naughty and nice this year, with a pessimistic look forward to 2013: ‘The outlook for next year is hardly less gloomy. National reserves of trust are at an all-time low. Scarcity of imagination and competence will continue. The market is over-supplied with mediocrity.’
141 media workers killed across the globe in deadliest year for journalists – Roy Greenslade on the risks journalists take in pursuit of reporting: ‘This has been the deadliest year for journalists, according to both the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Paris-based press watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The killing of journalists, continues to be one of the biggest threats to freedom of expression.’
Why Europe will bounce back in 2013 – Ruchir Sharma reckons the only way for Europe now is up: ‘One way to think about the future of Europe is to ponder this question: can Italy be worth no more than Apple?’
How the Olympics killed the killjoys – Tim Black celebrates what the Olympics showed us we could do: ‘What stands in the way of other big projects, be it a runway, an airport or a high-speed rail link, is not the public – it’s the prejudices, the fears and the low horizons of that narrow stratum of society who were absolutely convinced that London 2012 would be disaster.’
A referendum on Europe? Bring it on, for all our sakes – Timothy Garton Ash anticipates the argument that needs to be settled. Again. ‘Unlike many of my pro-European friends, I think we will win. I do not believe the brains of the British people have been so addled by the Sun and Daily Mail that they will, confronted with the facts about what it is really like to be Norway (without the oil) or Switzerland, decide that exit – Brexit or Brixit – is the best option for this country.’
Why the US media ignored Murdoch’s brazen bid to hijack the presidency – Carl Bernstein laments the inattention paid to the News Corp tycoon’s attempt to use ‘his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.’
Liberal Hero of the Week #26: Michael Crick – find out why I picked Channel 4 News’s political correspondent for my CentreForum series.
So you think you know the Second Amendment? – Jeffrey Toobin looks at how the NRA re-defined “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”: ‘The battle over gun control is not just one of individual votes in Congress, but of a continuing clash of ideas, backed by political power. In other words, the law of the Second Amendment is not settled; no law, not even the Constitution, ever is.’
Party Identity in a Gun Cabinet – Nate Silver illustrates the political polarisation in the USA: ‘Whether someone owns a gun is a more powerful predictor of a person’s political party than her gender, whether she identifies as gay or lesbian, whether she is Hispanic, whether she lives in the South or a number of other demographic characteristics.’
Christmas is a time for giving up my old life – Bryony Gordon speaks for this 30-something at any rate, abruptly maturing from kidulthood: ‘The days of going where I’m told on Christmas Day will vanish. Instead, a complicated rota will need to be initiated.’
* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from May 2007 to Jan 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.