In praise of the Oxford comma, and of Ayn Rand

by Stephen Tall on June 30, 2011

Via David Allan Green and Galleycat comes the earth-shattering news that, according to my colleagues along the corridor in the University’s public affairs department, writers should, “as a general rule,” avoid using the Oxford comma. What is the ‘Oxford comma?’, (…)

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Why Simon Kelner is wrong to defend Johann Hari

by Stephen Tall on June 29, 2011

Johann Hari is used to provoking controversy – as the Independent’s most outspoken left/liberal columnist its his stock-in-trade – but yesterday found himself on the receiving end of criticism of his integrity. The reason? His repeated borrowing of quotes from interviews published by other journalists which he then drops into his own interviews as if […]

LDVideo: Jon Stewart takes aim at Fox News and media sensationalism

by Stephen Tall on June 26, 2011

To US liberals, he’s something of a hero; to conservatives he’d be a bête noire if they could stomach the use of a foreign label. Jon Stewart’s satirical The Daily Show has become a cultural institution in America (and something of a cult hit here) because of the host’s pin-sharp riffs against politicians and the […]

What can the Lib Dems do about the Coalition’s ‘Northern problem’?

by Stephen Tall on June 26, 2011

Andrew Rawnsley in today’s Observer highlights a key issue for both Coalition partners, in particular — the Tories’ failure to make any kind of advance in the north, and the Lib Dems’ difficulties in retaining our popularity there. With the exception of William Hague, Eric Pickles and two Lib Dem Scots, the cabinet is a […]

What can the Lib Dems do about the Coalition’s ‘Northern problem’?

by Stephen Tall on June 26, 2011

Andrew Rawnsley in today’s Observer highlights a key issue for both Coalition partners, in particular — the Tories’ failure to make any kind of advance in the north, and the Lib Dems’ difficulties in retaining our popularity there. With the exception of William Hague, Eric Pickles and two Lib Dem Scots, the cabinet is a […]

Anonymous Tory MP launches broadside against “hypocritical, immature, manipulative” David Cameron

by Stephen Tall on June 26, 2011

There’s a quite extraordinary broadside against David Cameron’s leadership in today’s Mail – written it appears by a current Conservative MP who chooses to remain anonymous — accusing him of “cynically manipulating” the party’s candidates’ list to stuff its green benches with “friends who went to the same school or moved in the same social […]

Forget about abolishing Labour’s shadow cabinet elections, Ed. That’s not the battle you need to win.

by Stephen Tall on June 25, 2011

It’s been a tough few weeks for Labour leader Ed Miliband, with increasing mutterings internally and in the media with his performance, culminating in this week’s ICM poll showing him to be less popular than Nick Clegg. On the upside, he’s starting to score points off David Cameron at PMQs, a crucible of irrelevance to […]

Clegg’s bailed-out banks’ shares give-away proposal triggers national debate

by Stephen Tall on June 25, 2011

Nick Clegg’s very public call for the British public to be given shares in the bailed-out banks — creating 46 million shareholders and allowing collective ownership of banks — has garnered acres of coverage the past couple of days. It’s three months since Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams first proposed the privatisation of its 83% […]

@stephentall’s weekly Twitter updates for 2011-06-24

by Stephen Tall on June 24, 2011

Who pays for the news media? http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/06/who-pays-for-the-media.html < and why? # RT @CASEAdvance Full list of 2011 Circle of Excellence award winners. http://t.co/Ovs9bIq < Congrats to @oxford_thinking for Bronze medal. # Just bought Bob Marshall-Andrews' Off Message http://t.co/2xahoAM having read (…)

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‘Renegades with a mission’ – the Sindy’s verdict on the Social Liberal Forum

by Stephen Tall on June 19, 2011

The Social Liberal Forum — a group of Liberal Democrat members who advocate ‘that a democratic and open state has a positive role to play in guaranteeing individual freedom’ — met yesterday for their first conference on a high note: their mobilising role at the party’s spring conference is widely credited with having strongly influenced […]