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

by Stephen Tall on January 27, 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.

My brother, Hans Rausing, entered a world of addiction where no one in the end could follow him – Sigrid Rausing‘s heart-rending account has persuaded her that drug addicts need care, not prison: ‘I do wonder slightly if the people who formulate the policy on drugs know what that heavy hand, the war on drugs, feels like and looks like and sounds like.’

In Israel, the centre strikes back – Alan Johnson is encouraged by this week’s Israeli election results: ‘in the nick of time, hope is back.’

Is the worst of the eurozone crisis over? – Stephanie Flanders looks at whether Eurozone optimists have reason to feel cheerful. Maybe, she reckons, but ‘ordinary voters may have a long wait before the effects trickle down to them’.

David Cameron may have finished off the Tories – but he had no choice – Peter Oborne with a remarkably fair-minded assessment of the Tories’ ticking time-bomb, Europe: ‘The Prime Minister has moved the bomb, but he has not defused it. It remains in the room, ticking away. It is simply in a different place’.

Britain’s drift from Europe: The Stone Raft? – The Economist‘s warning to David Cameron ahead of his in/out EU referendum: ‘In reality, any renegotiation will be minor and will carry a hefty diplomatic price tag.’

The limits of what money can buy – John Kay on the moral dilemma of paying to jump the queue: ‘Where, and why, does the argument that voluntary transactions are mutually beneficial break down?’

CentreForum’s Liberal Hero of the Week #29: Ben Goldacre and +AllTrials.net – find out why I made the ‘Bad Science’ author and his latest campaign got the nod from me this week.

A “hidden tax” on the middle classes: who’s paying for our social care system? – Emily Craig on the realities of long-term care for the elderly: ‘Our health service is a collective insurance policy; but for those unlucky enough to need long-term care, there is no guarantee of protection.’

Why those of us on the left should support Michael Gove’s efforts to “clever-up” the curriculum – Andrew Old warns his comrades: ‘A Labour Party which goes into the next election declaring that the important thing about education is that it recognises that we should shouldn’t worry about leaving working class kids ignorant because they are probably good with their hands and leaving the Tories to talk about social mobility is one which will lose.’

What the Tory modernisers did next – Pete Hoskin takes a look at the acceptable face of the Tory party, assuring us ‘modernisation was, is and always will be about more than huskies and hoodie-hugging’.

Fawlty Towers isn’t racist. Major Gowen is – Mark Lawson on the ethical dilemma of censoring material which uses (in this case satirises) offensive language of the time: ‘Most viewers of Fawlty Towers, then and now, are sophisticated enough to understand the difference between this and Love Thy Neighbour, which had bigotry as a central theme and arguably an underlying impulse in the writing.’

Britain’s Class Divide: Can Oxbridge Solve Its Privilege Problem? – Sonia van Gilder Cooke‘s article is worth reading less for her words than for the pretty extraordinary 545-word list of corrections and clarifications which follow.

* 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.