Most Read

My top ten posts of 2013

TOP10This has been a good year for this blog. Although the audience remains relatively modest, traffic has nearly doubled compared with 2012. Thanks for reading.

The blog spent all year in the ebuzzing monthly politics top 100. Such rankings are not to be taken too seriously, but being there is better than not being there! I’m grateful to everyone who thought one of my posts worth retweeting, liking or linking to.

Thanks also to those who crossposted my posts to other group blogs and to all those who took the time to comment on one of my posts during the year.

Here, in reverse order, are my top ten most popular posts of 2013:

10. The Bedroom Tax vote: Sticking the knife into the Libdems (12th November)

Labour made the so-called bedroom tax the subject of an Opposition Day Motion in November. Given that the Libdems had passed a motion critical of the bedroom tax at Autumn Conference there was some speculation that there might be sufficient Libdem rebels to get the Labour motion through. In the end this didn’t happen, which wasn’t perhaps hugely surprising. But the Libdems didn’t come out of the episode occupying a hugely coherent position.

9. Would post-crash economics be a step backward? (21st November)

In the second half of this year there has been a lot of talk about the possibilities for forging a new more pluralist economics that moves beyond the current orthodoxy. The launch of the Post-Crash Economics Society at Manchester University achieved a notable mainstream media profile. This post makes the point that a break from the orthodoxy doesn’t inevitably mean a move to a softer, more narrative style of economics.

8. The politics of the bedroom tax (9th February)

This post was written a couple of months prior to the implementation of the so-called bedroom tax. It examines the political narrative around the policy and the impacts upon vulnerable households, pointing out that the likely negative consequences were already pretty well understood. It also argues that the case against the bedroom tax is not as firmly grounded as opponents might think.

7. The maths question in economics (24th October 2012)

This post featured in last year’s top 10 and it has carried on attracting readers. It was a response to a post at Noahpinion blog. It discusses the role of maths in economic knowledge, which is a topic of profound significance for the nature of economics and a source of continuing anxiety for many economics students.

6. On signs you’re reading bad criticism of economics (4th November)

Economics continues to attract plenty of criticism from those who see it as implicated in the Global Financial Crisis and austerity economics. Much of this criticism is way too indiscriminate. Chris Auld started a bit of discussion with his post on “18 signs you are reading bad criticism of economics”. I was one of the bloggers who responded to his post.

5. Help to buy? (20th March)

This post is one of my contributions to the chorus of disapproval for the Help to Buy policy. No one denies that in the short term Help to Buy II will allow some households to access owner occupation who would otherwise not be able to. The critics focus on what the consequence of this will be in the longer term, and on the fact that the focus upon making current prices affordable is a distraction from the more profound problems of the housing market.

4. Bedroom tax … and beyond? (6th August)

By August we were starting to get some information on the impact of the so-called bedroom tax. We were also getting indications that Labour might commit to its abolition if returned to power. This post was written in the run up to the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference which was going to vote on a motion critical of the way the bedroom tax has been implemented. There was a good chance the motion would pass. This might suggest the future of the policy remains in question.

3. Curbing the welfare hate (6th April)

This post was written when I was feeling vaguely optimistic that the tone of the debate over welfare was starting to change. I was hoping against hope that it was possible to detect signs that the “rancour and victim-blaming that currently infuses the agenda” would have to be moderated. Clearly that hope turned out to be premature.

2. Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July)

I can’t quite remember what triggered writing this post, but I suspect it was one of Owen Jones’ appearances on BBC Question Time. The post is, in fact, a bit of a defence of Jones. Or, at least, I think it is good for political debate that the views he holds are given a public airing. They remind us that the spectrum of political possibilities does not have to be restricted to the identikit centre-ground of contemporary political debate. This is the post that keeps on giving. Every time Jones appears in the media plenty of people google “owen jones obnoxious” or something similar and arrive back at my blog.

1. Uncertain terrain: Issues and challenges facing housing associations (11th May)

One of the major housing associations asked me to write an overview of the context and challenges facing the sector to use as an input into their strategy discussions. They also allowed me to make it publicly available as a pdf on my This post points to the pdf. It has been used by several other housing association boards and senior management teams. I’m glad it has proved useful.

That’s the lot for this year. Hope to see you back here in 2014. Happy New Year!

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