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

by Stephen Tall on December 8, 2012

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

Britain and Europe: Making the break – The Economist‘s verdict on many Europhobes’ éjaculation nocturne: ‘The most likely outcome would be that Britain would find itself as a scratchy outsider with somewhat limited access to the single market, almost no influence and few friends. And one certainty: that having once departed, it would be all but impossible to get back in again.’

Boris shows that Eurosceptics are in a mess – Iain Martin examines the Eurosceptic Catch-22: ‘If the single currency bloc must become more unified to survive, then what will the UK’s relationship be with that important group of countries it still needs to trade with? Please let me know if you’ve got the answer.’

Labour history uncut: Lib-Labbery and the 1906 election – Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal take not-totally-serious look at how the Labour party was born: ‘There were two schools of thought: the first was to go to the nation, stand in as many seats as possible on a purely socialist platform and trust the people to embrace the need for change and bring about a new dawn for the nation. The second stood a chance of actually working.’

The Autumn Statement in 7 graphs – Jonathan Jones sums it all up in words and pictures.

The Autumn Statement and the OBR’s forecasts: recovery postponed, again – Jonathan Portes points out the gaping hole in the Coalition’s economic strategy: ‘without the debt target, the central element of the fiscal framework – the deficit reduction target – is no longer credible or coherent.’

10 pieces of bad news that Osborne left out of his Autumn Statement – George Eaton looks at the small print, including: ‘Despite the government’s promise to “make work pay”, sixty per cent of the real-terms cut to benefits will fall on working households.’

Liberal Hero of the Week #24: David Cameron. (For balance, our Liberal Villain is George Osborne.) – my choice for CentreForum‘s series this week.

Books of the Year – The Economist‘s selection: how many have you read? (Or, ahem, heard of?)

Time to burst the Westminster bubble – Alex Smith reflects on his time in the increasingly dynastic Westminster Village: ‘People obsessed with politics would spend most of their time with other people obsessed with politics. It just didn’t seem healthy.’

For the Autumn Statement, stability: for the mid-term review, ambition – James Forsyth looks ahead to Coalition 2.0: ‘the mid-term review is when the coalition will have the chance to demonstrate that it has not run out of ambition, ideas or momentum. Its radicalism (or lack thereof) will tell us whether the coalition will limp to the next election, or charge.’

Time to use room for manoeuvre – Martin Wolf deconstructs George Osborne’s autumn statement: ‘The strategy is transparent: define failure as success and, to the extent that this does not work, blame one’s inheritance and the external environment. Politically this works. Economically it is unconvincing.’

So what does a “one nation” welfare policy look like, Ed? – Rafael Behr fleshes out Labour’s policy for them: ‘It would assert a higher moral authority to make [a one-nation welfare policy] work on the grounds that Labour can be trusted to reshape state provision without ulterior ideological motives.’

* 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.