Linkblogging for 23/2/16

I’ve not done one of these in a while, and have about a million tabs open. Proper post tomorrow…

Some suggestions on how to improve Twitter

A good piece by a Labour MP laying out the arguments for basic income. We *really* need to get this made Lib Dem policy again.

I’m not political (because I assume I will retain all my privileges forever)

The time Big Bird confronted a demon and the god Osiris, and won EDIT — the Tumblr post this originally linked to was just a copy/paste from this post. I’ve changed the link to be to the original.

The report into the disaster that was the Lib Dem election campaign. None of the conclusions will surprise those of us in the party who had been yelling about pretty much everything in it for five years. The most important bit for me is “It should be made clear at the outset of any future coalition that the Liberal Democrats will only automatically vote for legislation covered by the coalition agreement, and not any legislation brought forward by the government. It should also be made clear which are supported as a part of our manifesto commitments, and which are the price of coalition government.”

A long interview with Umberto Eco, who died this week and Eco’s classic essay on Ur-Fascism, which I already had open before his death for a piece I want to write on Trump.

(Related, a quote from The Black Swan about Eco’s unread books, and why unread books are a good thing to have)

A long profile of Randy Newman, concentrating on his family background

A two-hour DJ set by David Bowie from 1979

Millennium on the EU referendum

Slate Star Codex on how to write nonfiction. A lot of this is stuff I do myself — though I note that this is very much “how to write persuasively”, rather than “how to write something that is true”.

A Vox piece on Stan Lee. Nothing much new, but does a good job of summarising why he’s both loved and hated.

And everyone’s linked to this already, but SciHub is a “pirate” site for downloading paywalled academic papers.

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6 Responses to Linkblogging for 23/2/16

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    Holy poo, that LibDem post-mortem makes depressing reading. To me, the key point is this one: “Three years of ‘Stronger Economy Fairer Society’ were swept away to make way for the weak, confusing message of ‘Look Left. Look Right. Then Cross’.” Obviously that came after many other things had already gone terribly wrong, but as that message simply didn’t give people anything to vote for.

    We can only hope that at least some of the disasters catalogued in the report are lessons that can be learned. Others (morale damage from the AV referendum, lack of finance for polling, drop-off in energy from ageing activists) are going to be very hard to address.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Indeed. I think the single biggest thing they need to be doing, though, is listening to activists (which is one of the things they mention didn’t happen). I’d say about three-quarters of the problems they touch on are ones that either I have brought up wherever I could within the party (I didn’t do too much blogging about the party’s problems while the coalition was in government, because I didn’t think the party needed public kicking from its friends when its enemies were already doing that), or that many other people I know have brought up.
      I think, and hope, that everything that report brings up that *can* be fixed *will* be fixed — just acknowledging that these things are problems at all is a major step forward, and I think Tim is a very different kind of leader to Nick.
      Basically, the party needed to realise that the activists weren’t just some annoying add-on to a small group of Serious Politicians Doing Serious Things In Wesminster With Suits And Electability, but were the whole reason for the party’s existence…

      • Mike Taylor says:

        That all sounds right to me, Andrew, especially the last paragraph.

        (I was all set to be pleased with Tim Farron, when he immediately set about undermining Jeremy Corbyn at the first opportunity. That is not the main thing I want from a Lib Dem leader. Even if you reject the idea that Corbyn is more of a friend to liberalism than Cameron is, I want to see the Lib Dem leader talking about how awesome the Lib Dems are, not how bad everyone else is.)

        • Andrew Hickey says:

          Sadly, “how bad everyone else is” has to be part of the Lib Dem strategy for the moment. One of the big problems we had is that people didn’t know what the difference was between us and the other parties, and we “all looked the same”, so we have to emphasise those differences. I think, though, that Tim’s attacks on Corbyn have been relatively mild — and more importantly there’s been a lot more bridge-building between the two parties in the last few months.

          • Mike Taylor says:

            “Sadly, “how bad everyone else is” has to be part of the Lib Dem strategy for the moment.”

            I reject that utterly. Unless a party can show me that they stand for more than knocking their opponents over, it simply will not attract support.

            • Andrew Hickey says:

              Which is why I say “part of”. It certainly shouldn’t be the whole, or even the majority, of any party’s strategy, but as well as showing why you should vote for a party you have to also show why you shouldn’t vote for their opponents. Otherwise you get people saying “well X have all your good points *and* one more, and no bad points I can see…”

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