Your essential weekend reader — 12 must-read articles you may have missed

by Stephen Tall on November 11, 2012

It’s Sunday morning, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

Labour’s return to the right – John Kampfner’s spot-on piece should be compulsory reading for progressives who’ve deserted the Lib Dems for Labour: ‘The race to the bottom is on. Labour and the Tories are vying for the lowest common denominator, for the title of defender of Little England.’

David Cameron, Phillip Schofield and mob justice in the age of the internet – the Telegraph’s Tom Chivers points a pitch-fork at the mob: ‘I’m trying to come up with a cleverer and more meaningful conclusion than this, but basically: for God’s sake, don’t go around accusing people of being a paedophile, or a homophobe, or anything else, unless you’ve got some bloody good evidence for doing so. Please.’

As Nation and Parties Change, Republicans Are at an Electoral College Disadvantage – a chance to read Nate Silver doing what he does best: intelligent analysis backed up by a subtle appreciation of the power of data.

The Republicans Bet Everything, and Obama Won It All – the New Yorker’s assessment of how the election was won and lost: ‘The economy recovered just enough in 2012, Mitt Romney ran a mediocre campaign, Obama ran a strong one. Among the most important is a factor conservatives seem to have never reckoned with — their party has never recovered the public’s trust.’

Why Romney Never Saw It Coming – Slate conducts the post mortem: ‘If you’re basing your entire campaign on white people, it leaves you little margin of error. That’s where Romney’s troubles as a candidate hurt him.’

Vaunting the best, fearing the worst – Bored with reading about US politics? Then read out about the leadership in the world’s other superpower, China, courtesy The Economist.

A Look at British Life as an EU Outsider – a US perspective from the Wall Street Journal on a potential Brexit: ‘Exiting the EU might be politically tempting for Britain. Economically, it would be hugely challenging.’

Too many political stories are trivial. That doesn’t mean they don’t matter – Lord Ashcroft points out the truth political obsessives prefer all too often to ignore: ‘frustratingly, it is true both that most people do not hear a political message until well past the point at which politicians are sick of repeating it, and that they are more likely to notice small things than big speeches or policy announcements.’

The dying of the middle-class dream – Rafael Behr in the New Statesman: ‘The most successful election candidates in recent decades have been those who persuaded middle-class voters – or those who aspire to be middle class – that backing their party is the predictable, respectable thing to do. … There is no candidate in British politics who can pull off that trick today.’

Liberal Heroes of the Week: The US states of Maine, Maryland, Washington and Colorado – I salute their liberal-minded voters: ‘What churches chose to do is their own business, but a liberal state has no business ill-defining love between individuals simply because they’re the same sex. And a liberal state which accepts freedom of choice should not prohibit substances so long as their risks are made transparent.’

Downing Street Does Need New People – Damien McBride calls for a broadening of the political class: ‘like all narrow gene pools, the effects are multiplied the longer the cycle is unbroken.’

McDonald’s is beating the McMandarins – Sue Cameron in the Telegraph helps explain why there have ben quite so many omnishambles lately: ‘Today only two of Whitehall’s 16 core departments have the same permanent secretary – the top official – as they did at the time of the general election two and a half years ago. And it shows.’

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.