Your essential weekend reader — 12 must-read articles you may have missed

It’s Saturday evening, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices culled from the 50+ I’ve linked to from my Delcicious account this last week…

Groundhog year – Peter Kellner examines the polls to find how 12 months’ political turmoil has shifted popular opinion. The answer — not at all: ‘public reaction this year to Britain’s continuing economic troubles has been remarkably static. 2012 has been groundhog year.’

What next? Osborne needs a change of direction – Adam Posen, a former member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, lambasts the Chancellor’s failed strategy: ‘For two-and-a-half years, the coalition government’s economic policies have focused on the wrong narrow goal, been self-defeating in pursuit of that goal, and in so doing have eaten away at British economic capabilities and confidence. It is past time for me, and far more importantly for the chancellor, to say so.’

Musical Chairs with Ribbentrop – Bee Wilson‘s brilliant account of the life of Nancy Astor, the first female MP to take her seat in the Commons, but apparently it ‘didn’t impress her much. “I can’t think of anything worse than being among six hundred men none of whom really wanted you there.”‘

Stop banging the vending machine – Tim Harford proposes abolishing BOTH impotent outrage against Starbucks AND corporation tax: ‘to think that a multinational corporation has insulted you is a category error. It’s like thinking a coin-operated machine has stolen money from you. We need to stop banging the vending machine in fury and figure out a better way.’

The party machines might not know it yet but political parties are dying – Peter Watt looks at the death of one type of career politician and the advent of the next type: ‘It may take another few years for the process to complete but it is inevitable that rocking the boat, striving to be seen as an authentic individual and occasionally being prepared to vote against the whip will become more common.’

Discussing the State of the British Media with Ian Hislop – Simon Childs has a wide-ranging, perceptive interview with Private Eye’s editor: ‘if broadsheets become magazines about gardening, cooking and what’s on the telly without news at the heart of it then they may find that they have nothing to sell.’

Why journalism and politics should remain independent – Kirsty Hughes detects the hand of Joseph Heller behind Lord Justice Leveson’s report: ‘Catch 22: the press council fails if anyone chooses voluntarily not to join; but if the body fails, compulsory backstop regulation steps in.’

Why the BBC’s boss had to go – Kevin Marsh, a former BBC editor, dissects the circumstances that led to George Entwistle’s departure and forecasts the future: ‘Once the dust has settled, there’ll be more compliance forms, more compulsory referrals, more systems to ensure anything contentious is signed off at the highest possible level. And more caution.’

It takes a decadent village - The Economist’s Lexington asks if low birth-rates correlate to ‘decadence’ (much more thoughtful than it sounds): ‘I think, as a matter of personal sensibility and conviction, that having children is an extremely important part of interacting with the universe at a level that extends beyond your own immediate circumstances.’

Anatomy of a Twitterstorm – Anya Palmer on the aftermath of tweeters’ nowtrage: ‘What happens when someone tweets a picture of a vile sexist card aimed at 13 year old girls that might have something to do with Hallmark? And what happens when it turns out it doesn’t?’

The Genius of Merkel – Katinka Barysch on why Germans love their chancellor: ‘Merkel is the epitome of German politics … Germans think the ability to create consensus is important for leadership… [and] would probably find most British leaders loud-mouthed, impulsive and unnecessarily combative in style.’

An apology to Virgin Care for inaccurate articles I have written and published – Dr Eoin Clarke is sorry, oh-so-sorry: ‘I, Dr Eoin Clarke, apologise wholly and unreservedly to Virgin Care, its employees, subsidiaries and service users, as well as my readers, for writing over 46 blog entries that contained false, inaccurate and defamatory statements.’

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from May 2007 to Jan 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about , , , , , , , , , , , , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url for Twitter and emails.


  • The anatomy of a twitterstorm article does before the story does. Hallmark found that the company who make the card IS a subsidiary, issued a formal apology, and said they would make sure the card is no longer manufactured. You can find a link to this more up to date version of the story in one of my links posts from two or three days ago, if you’re interested. Certainly painting the issue as having nothing to do with hallmark is something of a misleading headline.

  • I’d certainly be interested to read the link to the updated story, Jennie. My understanding was that — though, yes, Hallmark owns the company which produced the card — the offensive card itself dated back to years *before* Hallmark owned it. So Hallmark’s ultimate fault for allowing the card to be distributed — and presumably that error in their supply process is why they’ve rightly apologised — but Hallmark were in no way associated with creating the card in the first place. That’s surely an important distinction to make?

  • All that is true, none of it is clear from the storify you link to, which ends with hallmark’s denial of having anything to do with the company making the card, does not make clear that the company actually is a subsidiary, and does not make clear hallmark’s gracious and praiseworthy actions taken afterwards.

  • paul barker 16th Dec '12 - 2:34pm

    For me the most interesting article was Kellners on the complete failure of the polls to register any significant change over the last year. I think the explanation is simple, the voters are not seriously thinking about politics & (barring some enormous crisis) wont till the run-up to 2015.
    You could conclude that most polling outside the election period is totally pointless but Kellner is hardly going to say that.

  • @ Jennie – ah, I guess you only read the first page of Anya’s Hallmark article then – the next 3 pages do complete the story, including Hallmark’s actions.

  • Simon McGrath 16th Dec '12 - 6:24pm

    @Geoffrey – it certainly is. ‘Dr’ (actually a PhD in irish history) Clarke has said numerous untrue things about Virgin. This is on top of his previous abject apology for lies about Circle healthcare.

  • Geoffrey Payne 17th Dec '12 - 1:31pm

    Well I have never heard of him before, and I will ignore him from now on. Panorama did an attack on Virgin Care some time ago, but I didn’t think it amounted to much. We will find out what is really going on in due course.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPhilip Thomas 28th Feb - 7:09pm
    I think the "fruit machine" reference is to the electoral system (FPTP) not the voters. Voters in Buckingham, to take an extreme example, can't actually...
  • User AvatarPhilip Thomas 28th Feb - 7:07pm
    Well, I count two Lib Dems against the Labour Proposal (Paul Walter, Simon Shaw) and one for (me). So Simon is winning at the moment....
  • User AvatarRoland 28th Feb - 7:07pm
    "We will be presented with an arithmetic by the electorate and all parties must be grown up enough to accept it and not say, ‘well,...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 28th Feb - 6:57pm
    @Philip Thomas "No, we don’t have hypothecated taxes. But if a party says “we will raise X tax” and “we will raise spending on Y”...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 28th Feb - 6:48pm
    @Stuart "I believe that the majority of Lib Dems probably still support lowering fees, just as they did in 2010, but have been let down...
  • User AvatarStephen W 28th Feb - 6:42pm
    On current predictions to get even close to a sustainable situation the government will need to be either Con+LD or Lab+LD, probably with further support...
Sat 28th Feb 2015
Sun 1st Mar 2015
Mon 2nd Mar 2015
Wed 4th Mar 2015
Sat 7th Mar 2015
Sun 8th Mar 2015
Wed 11th Mar 2015
Fri 13th Mar 2015
Sat 14th Mar 2015
Wed 18th Mar 2015
Sat 28th Mar 2015