Your essential weekend reader — my personal pick of the week’s must-reads

by Stephen Tall on January 5, 2013

It’s Saturday evening, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices culled from all those I’ve linked to this last week. You can follow me on Delicious here.

Political predictions: as the year ends, what does 2013 hold for the main party leaders? – Andrew Rawnsley sanely assesses the 12 months to come: ‘Nick Clegg and David Cameron face more of the same. Ed Miliband’s future is more complicated. He has choices.’

No longer the dunce – Anne McElvoy whispers the shocking news gently: British schools are getting better. Oh, and there’s no one system that works best: ‘The single unifying feature of improving systems remains better quality teaching and parental drive.’

At last, proof that two heads can be better than one – Matthew d’Ancona on the dog that didn’t bark in 2012: the Coalition is still intact, in spite of everything: ‘what this Mid-Term Review truly reflects is something new, unexpected and of deep constitutional significance: nothing less than the viability of duumvirate.’

The fiscal cliff: Bipolar disorder – the Economist muses on how ‘to present centrist political compromises to partisan voters who are prone to view them as betrayals’, and the parallels between the US and Europe.

Well, SOMEBODY has to win – Anthony Wells wraps up the New Year’s polemical debate on whether it’s inevitable Tories/Labour can/cannot win in 2015: ‘I suspect in many cases people’s predictions this early say a lot more about their own personal preferences or what political axes they have to grind against their party leaderships than what is likely to happen at the next election.’

Only fools claim to know the future – John Kay re-states the obvious (it’s sometimes necessary): ‘Managers who know the future are more often dangerous fools than great visionaries.’

It’s still the economy, stupid, which is why the two Eds should be worried about 2013 – Atul Hatwal with some hard truths for Labour: ‘We are now further behind the Tories on the economy than at the time of the last election, and that’s after all of the pain of the past two and a half years.’

After a rape and murder, fury in Delhi – a gut-wrenching account by Basharat Peer: ‘India could have told the story of that fearless young woman as a story of its success, had she not lost her life to the brutal assault.’

In Defence of Rights – Philippe Sands and Helena Kennedy‘s look back at their time serving on the Commission on a Bill of Rights, intended by Tories to tear up the Human Rights Act: ‘The intolerance and lack of support appear to come largely from UKIP and Conservative Party stalwarts in various parts of England where the issue of Europe remains charged.’

How ‘child protection’ policies harm children – Frank Furedi argues against the plan to create a new database of children who visit A&E units: ‘what policymakers overlook is that the knowledge that all children’s injuries will be logged on a database will lead some parents to think twice before they go anywhere near an A&E.’

CentreForum’s Liberal Hero of the Week #27: Jack Whitehall – find out why the ‘sick’ Channel 4 comic got the nod from me this week.

Colorado’s Pro-Pot Vote Shows the Fading of Evangelical Fervor – Clint Rainey wonders why the religious conservatives who brought you Reefer Madness rolled over for Amendment 64: ‘The religious right was MIA, but a smattering of mainline pastors, black clergy, and other Christian leaders did speak out in opposition, stepping into the big, empty, clown-size shoes they’d never fill.’

* 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.