Growth or bust (Financial Times) – Tim Harford on why there just aren’t enough companies going bankrupt in the UK: ‘The ability to fail quickly – and without much collateral damage – is a tremendous economic asset.’
On Managerialist Ideology (Stumbling and Mumbling) – In the wake of the BBC crisis, Chris Dillow questions the cult of management as a panacea for organisational failings: ‘the solution to sloppy journalism is, well, better journalism’.
I’m a Celebrity: still the kangaroo’s bollocks (Spiked Online) – David Bowden‘s almost affectionate tribute to ITV’s ratings juggernaut: ‘in a televisual climate dominated by ‘structured reality’, such as The Only Way is Essex, and soap operas addicted to bombarding us with hard-hitting social issues, I’m A Celebrity… stands out as a triumph of unpretentious craft: a reality show that has never cared much for trying to be all that real.’
Everybody gets popped (London Review of Books) – David Runciman‘s fascinating no-holds-barred account of Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall, including this cute comparison with The Thick Of It’s Alistair Campbell-esque Malcolm Tucker: ‘For Tucker the only line of defence is attack, because whatever you do, you can be sure the other fuckers are doing more.’
The time-bomb at the heart of Europe (The Economist) – for some reason the French took offence at this article: ‘too many of France’s firms are uncompetitive and the country’s bloated government is living beyond its means.’ I can’t imagine why.
It’s exhausting, having to be furious all the time on Twitter (Telegraph) – Tom Chivers nails it: ‘The problem that Twitter poses the modern world is not, as people imagine, that it’s content-free; it’s that it’s overflowing with content. … if you think that because you don’t use it, it doesn’t affect you, you’re wrong. It’s sped up the whole national conversation to squeaky-voices-on-fast-forward, and it’s forcing people to have opinions faster and faster.
There is no ‘global race’ and prosperity is not zero sum (Centre for Policy Studies) – Ryan Bourne disputes David Cameron’s notion that what’s good for the Chinese economy is bad for the West’s: ‘The rising prosperity of China does not mean a loss of prosperity to us unless you think we are producing the same goods and services as they are, which is simply not the case.’
What’s happening at the BBC (Columbia Journalism Review) – Emily Bell takes a calm behind-the-scenes historical look at Auntie: ‘It needs to discover a journalistic locus that will be supported by the public but fills a void the market is undoubtedly incapable of doing at the moment.’
The scandal of politics is that we believe our MPs should be perfect (The Guardian) – Hopi Sen longs for a more realistic future in which we recognise, even appreciate, politicians’ normal flaws: ‘Then maybe, just maybe, we can discard the worst, applaud the best and encourage the vast majority struggling along in the middle.’
Pay attention in class! Michael Gove is teaching the art of politics (Telegraph) – Fraser Nelson reveals what Tories love about the education secretary: ‘From the outset, Gove has sought to subvert the Whitehall system rather than try to master it. … He also continually makes his case, in a seemingly endless volley of speeches – an old-fashioned strategy for our soundbite age.’
* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from May 2007 to Jan 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.