An Unnecessary Role

embracing false choices

Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

What I’ve been reading (2)

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Away from Eric Pickles recounting Monty Python jokes (like some kind of giant student) I have been reading:

The sordid details of the latest installment in the New Labour death spiral. Highlights including Gordon Brown TYPING EXACTLY LIKE HE TAKLS, the image of David Miliband reciting the speech he will never give to his wife in the back of a car, and the realisation that we remain just as bad at this sort of business as we have been for the last five years.

Paul Richards summing up the essential malady of the Labour Party and one of the modest missions of this blog in one elegant article. And much to chagrin of the progressive majority he alights upon the one central truth about the position of the left in this country:

The challenge for a socialist party seeking the votes of a non-socialist electorate has been the same down the ages. It is about persuading non-Labour people that their self-interest is served by voting Labour. It may be that we didn’t come into Labour politics to help affluent voters in Essex; it may be that we came into politics to end homelessness, tackle poverty, end the scandal of poor children being written off before even going to school. But the truth is that unless affluent people back us in vast numbers, we can offer the poorest people nothing except charity. When Labour has recognised the true nature of the electorate, electoral success has never been far behind; when Labour has mythologised the electorate, or projected its own desires onto them, it has failed miserably.

And Tim Harford writing about another of this blog’s themes, the frequent strength of pragmatism above principles:

The awkward truth for the pragmatist is that they will constantly be bumping into their own errors and trying to fix them. But if pragmatism is a painful process of continually correcting errors, ideology is a blissful path of being oblivious to them.

In the work bag, The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen, the most blisteringly intelligent person on the planet taking about why things might not get better (yet).

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Written by samelliot

June 13, 2011 at 7:00 am

Posted in Reading

What I’ve been reading

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Away from (presumably) dodgy translations of Maurice Glasman interviews, I have been reading:

Tony Clements at the ever-excellent Red Brick developing a policy agenda regarding the private rented sector which I would like to see as part of Labour’s housing policy (if only out of self-interest as a private rent tenant myself).

Paul Corrigan explaining, dissecting and reframing the debate about the NHS. It is a clear sign of how much of a mess the government is in on this issue when the most coherent explanation of what is going on comes from an adviser to the previous government, not this one.

And from America, Fred Clark has a post of genius that shows how easy it would be, given the political will, to create jobs  and illustrates the mess politics can get itself in when parties refuse to pursue activist pro-job and pro-growth policies.

In my bag is Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland by Jonathan Powell, a readable contemporary history with much to say about the psychodrama of negotiation; and The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna, a novel rich in detail set in Sierra Leone after the civil war.

Written by samelliot

June 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Posted in Reading