The lie of ‘unaffordability’ "...a very sharp old lady nailed [David Willetts...] by challenging the idea that we can’t afford to maintain the welfare state today when we could afford to construct it from scratch in the immediate, crushingly-indebted aftermath of World War II". Now with many, many graphs. (tags: bloodytoriespoliticswelfarereformwelfare )
British democracy in "terminal decline" "Britain's constitutional arrangements are `increasingly unstable'[...]; public faith in democratic institutions `decaying'; a widening gap in the participation rates of different social classes of voters; and an `unprecedented' growth in corporate power, which [...] `threatens to undermine some of the most basic principles of democratic decision-making'." Joy. (tags: newspoliticsdemocracy )
The Olympic torch – from Hitler to Headingley "I think this particular response to the torch relay, though, also reveals a distinct measure of what I think of as ‘ritual anxiety’ – that is, an uneasiness around the whole idea of ritual activities. It’s something I see in relation to all sorts of other ritual occasions and commemorative events, and particularly strikes me on Valentine’s Day, when a whole army of people emerge every year to complain that we shouldn’t need a special day devoted to something we should be doing all the time, that it is meaningless, too commercialised, misogynistic etc. But it also crops up in relation to Christmas (goods in the shops too early, probably not really the date of the historical Jesus’ birth), Easter (it’s a pagan festival really!, no it’s not), and almost any other ritual or commemorative occasion you can name."