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

by Stephen Tall on April 14, 2013

Papers - Some rights reserved by NS MewsflashIt’s Sunday morning, so here are a dozen of thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices, culled from all those I’ve linked to this past fortnight. You can follow me on Delicious here.

Immigration and the knowledge economy – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg makes the business case for immigration reform in the US, but the lesson is universal: “In a knowledge economy, the most important resources are the talented people we educate and attract to our country.”

Mum did to Maggie what she’d done to Kermit – Dan Hodges is utterly brilliant on growing up as Glenda Jackson’s son: “A friend told me it’s the duty of parents to embarrass their children: “It keeps us honest.” And when the children are grown, and the threat of an early bedtime and frozen pocket money is no longer available, public humiliation is the only weapon left in the armoury.”

Time for a rethink on standing at football – Alastair Campbell reminds the Lib Dems our manifesto promised a choice for fans of sitting or standing at matches: “It is time they remembered that, and did something to bring it about.”

Liberal Hero of the Week #34: Margaret Thatcher. (She’s also a Liberal Villain, too.) – the latest in my CentreForum series: “There are many things Margaret Thatcher did which I agree with (though less frequently with the way she went about doing them, such as privatisation); and a good few things she did I disagree with.”

Trying to fix broken economics – Anatole Kaletsky argues for a flexible approach to future economic policy: “The next phase will be for politicians to explain to voters that, in a rapidly evolving global economy still struggling to emerge from financial crisis, there is nothing wrong with imperfect solutions.”

Margaret Thatcher: An Accidental Libertarian Heroine – Alex Massie celebrates Mrs T’s unconscious revolution in which social and economic liberalism “are dance partners, taking turns to lead. Economic conservatism (whether of the left-wing or right-wing variety) and social conservatism (ditto) were each challenged and, in large part, each defeated.”

Minimum wage should be substantially raised, not cut – Jeremy Warner argues from the right for a higher national minimum wage: “That the taxpayer should be subsidising low paid work in this way is totally absurd and should be ended as soon as possible.”

Thatcher’s children we may be, but these death parties are just childish – Grace Dent lays it on the line to those activists revelling at the prospect of an old lady’s funeral: “Celebrating death seems to me rather childish, when there’s adult work to be done.”

Labour must search for answers and not merely aspire to be a repository for people’s anger – Tony Blair argues “the case for fundamental reform of the postwar state is clear”, poses seven big questions, and invites people to “sketch out the answers to these questions and you have a vision of the future”. That should do it.

Margaret Thatcher: The economy now and then – Stephanie Flanders offers a balanced assessment: “bad though it is, I don’t think the average person would say that Britain’s economic situation was as desperate today as it was in the late 1970s.”

Why bash the HBOS three? – Robert Peston questions the timing of the punishment facing the bank executives facing a City ban: “if the HBOS troika are to be blacklisted from the City, why not ban those who ran the other failed banks, RBS, Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock?”

Then and now: Granta’s best young British novelists – “Thirty years ago, Granta named our 20 most promising young writers – and established a tradition,” says The Guardian. Find out who chose them and how.

They’re my choice, but what are the must-read posts you think I’ve missed? Feel free to highlight your own must-read posts below…

* 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.