Your essential weekend reader — my personal pick of the week’s must-reads

It’s Sunday morning, so here are 12 thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices culled from all those I’ve linked to this last week. You can follow me on Delicious here.

In Search of Monsters – Stephen W. Smith looks at the background to France’s military intervention in Mali: ‘One could even say that they will provide the Saharan Taliban with the very thing they were thirsting for: an expeditionary force of infidels on home turf.’

Trident is no longer key to Britain’s security – an important article from Des Browne (Blair’s defence secretary) and Ian Kearns putting forward the anti-Trident renewal case: ‘if the Government’s Trident Alternatives Review reveals an effective alternative to like-for-like renewal of Trident, such as stepping down from continuous at-sea deterrence and the building of fewer submarines, we should pursue it.’

Stafford Hospital: it’s the vulnerable and old who are victims of our blind faith in the NHS – Ian Birrell has been highlighting the poor care in parts of the NHS for years based on is experiences as the father of a profoundly disabled child: ‘vulnerable people are victims of Britain’s adoration of the NHS. It remains a sclerotic institution from an age when infectious diseases and infant mortality were the big battles, not the complex and continuing conditions of an ageing society.’

If Tory MPs can’t decide what kind of party they want, they’ll have to work it out in opposition – Rafael Behr with an acute analysis of the Tory condition: ‘[Cameron] represents the ultimate valediction of 20th-century Conservatism – the candidate you might cook up in a laboratory with political grafts from Harold Macmillan’s patrician elitism, Margaret Thatcher’s economics and John Major’s nostalgic moralism.’

A breakthrough speech on monetary policy – Anatole Kaletsky looks at the growing calls for ‘helicopter money’: ‘The alternative to national bankruptcy is not austerity and permanent stagnation; it is for governments to finance tax cuts or public investment with printed money and thereby promote economic growth.’

President Obama Can Do Anything He Wants To Fight Terrorism – Eric Posner explains that because the US has declared war on al-Qaida anything goes: ‘Obama and Bush administration lawyers have stretched the Constitution and traditional rules of international law to accommodate the threat posed by terrorism.’

Bedroom tax: the who, the what and the why – Federica Cocco fact-checks the claims/counter-claims: ‘Who exactly is affected? How many of them are disabled?’

Britain’s spending on ramming people in jail is lunacy at a time of austerity – from most people this article would be unexceptional, but this is a Tory MP, Ben Gummer, writing: ‘We are at the top of the European league tables for reoffending rates; for some groups, reoffending has actually increased. In sum, we are spending far more to achieve less and less.’

We will have to save far more as investment returns dwindle – Allister Heath looks at the ticking timebomb of low returns on equities resulting in unfunded pensions: ‘Who do you know saves a quarter or a third of their salary for their pension?’

Long Engagements – George Packer notes that geopolitics is way too complex for an ‘Obama doctrine’ to exist, but argues he needs to give Secretary of State John Kerry greater authority than he gave to Hillary Clinton: ‘a tragic sense of limitation is not a substitute for real, prolonged engagement, which always carries the risk of failure.’

Liberal Hero of the Week #30: Vince Cable. Our Liberal Villains of the Month: 175 MPs – find out what I think was heroic about the Lib Dem business secretary and villainous about a third of the Commons in my CentreForum series.

Spain’s government: another blow – the Economist looks at the back-hander scandal which could engulf Spain’s right-wing PP government: ‘… voters are beginning to latch on to the idea that Mr Rajoy ran a party which hid, distributed and lied about dirty money. Four out of five Spaniards believe the PP’s leadership should resign en bloc.’

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

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

2 Comments

  • bah. No urge to pick on you this morning. Where is my Sunday controversy?

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.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

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

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 18th Aug - 11:29am
    Michael BG, Joe Burke - the promise to building 450k houses a year can be feasible if we talk about prefabrication technology (a kind of...
  • User AvatarSheila Gee 18th Aug - 10:38am
    “At the same time we must acknowledge that there are issues with accountability and sovereignty in the EU that need to be discussed and addressed...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 18th Aug - 10:35am
    When our position on a second vote is gaining more traction across different political parties it seems a bit silly to change it in mid...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 18th Aug - 10:23am
    ... and thank you to all those who stand but are not successful. You are also a key part in our party's recovery. We need...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 18th Aug - 10:21am
    Well done indeed to all those involved in the campaigns that led to our successes (and near success). It is people like this who will...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 18th Aug - 10:14am
    I agree, Ian. The situation we find ourselves in should be viewed as an opportunity. There is plenty wrong with both the EU and the...