The Q#3 quintet

Here are the five posts published on this blog between July and September 2013 that recorded the most hits: Bedroom tax … and beyond (6th Aug) Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July) Free to schmooze (21st July) ‘Quackademics’ under fire as critical voices targeted (22nd Aug) Britain’s property problem (15th Aug) One thing that […]

Blogging and “writing”

A thought-provoking post entitled The dangers of academic blogging appeared yesterday at The Sociological Imagination. The post drew, in turn, on series of posts at Near Emmaus. Like many such posts the implied audience is postdocs and early career researchers. The key point made in the Near Emmaus […]

Has Miliband tilted the axis of debate?

What a difference a speech makes. The reaction to Ed Miliband’s speech on Tuesday has been remarkable. The initial press reaction was hysterical. In a matter of minutes Miliband went from an ineffectual leader who was frittering away Labour’s poll lead through inactivity to a clear and present […]

Grayling’s tax gambit

In today’s Telegraph Chris Grayling goes on the offensive. And his article certainly is offensive. It’s an offence against nuanced debate for a start. Grayling’s argument in summary is that Britain is in “a global race” that is getting tougher. The Conservatives “support wealth and job creators” and […]

‘roots against the machine

Last weekend’s Liberal Democrat conference was hailed by most of the mainstream media as a victory for Nick Clegg over the party’s grassroots activists. Commentators across the right wing press congratulated him on a job well done. Clegg engineered a situation in which the party voted to adopt […]

Farronheit rising

Tim Farron is by far the most accomplished orator among the current generation of leading Liberal Democrat politicians. Rarely does one of his speeches as Party President pass without someone making use of the word “barnstorming”. His speech on the opening day of this year’s autumn conference was […]

Gagging again

Over at Liberal Democrat Voice today Tom Brake provides an update on the progress of the Lobbying Bill, focusing particularly on Part 2 because of the extensive criticism it received both inside and outside Parliament last week. Brake’s post notes that: It is not, and has never been, the […]

Interpreting Osborne

The more I think about economic policy the more I think that there isn’t a big enough dose of interpretivism applied to it. This thought recurred yesterday reading George Osborne’s set piece speech in which he, as Isabel Hardman of the Spectator put it, “trashed” Plan B. I […]

Wise words

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“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
(JK Galbraith, 1908-2006)

“No section of the people has ever been excluded from political power without suffering legislative injustice”
(Millicent Garrett Fawcett, 1847-1929)

“Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult”
(Samuel Johnson, 1709-94)