My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring). This week: politicians, economies, elections, feminism and climate change – not much then…
Last weekend seemed a little busy, so I held off. But I had found very interesting this article on politicians, and how the real scandal is that we expect them to be perfect. Politicians are normal folk, who muck-up just like the rest of us. They get sick, confused, knackered and especially sleep-deprived. No wonder they get things wrong.
Most MPs offices are closer to overstretched small businesses than anything else, and no one’s surprised if a small business goes under, whether from incompetence, honest mistakes, or someone’s hand in the till.
To take the most basic example, the total income of the [UK] Labour party is smaller than that of every Premier League football club, and by some margin. Alex Ferguson is planning on winning the league with an income of £331m. Ed Miliband must convince half the country he can turn Britain around on roughly a tenth of that, and he has to do it with Paxman, not Lineker providing the late-night commentary. This lack of resources, need to impress and constant attention can make scrutiny a little terrifying.
And there’s a whole heap less money in politics in Aotearoa than the UK…
Last weekend we’d also just had major political transitions in the US and China. Martin Jacques asked if China was more legitimate than the West, in this excellent series on the BBC website. Meanwhile Ellis Cose asks how Obama secures his legacy.
On the economy, Martin Kettle tells us austerity is here to stay – that particular economic solution may not be working, but even if we change we’ve probably hit the end of consistent western growth. Mary Beard looks at why the rich look down on the poor – with evidence from Roman times that attitudes just don’t change… At the Guardian there’s articles on Co-ops bringing the economy back to the people, the importance of statistics (or how Ghana went from a poor to middle income country overnight) and Do Nothing Day (yesterday).
In other news, the BBC reveals Apple pays 2% corporation tax worldwide (after revelations that Starbucks pay no tax, and Amazon, facebook and Google pay nearly nothing). And the “noted tree-hugging hippies at the World Bank” urge action to stop the 4C warming that we’re headed to by 2100.
– Kate Sheppard asks: 19% of Congress is female, why not half?
– Neda Soltani talks about being mixed up with the woman who was killed during the 2009 Tehran protests – and how the media ruined her life, forcing her into asylum.
– Jame Buchanan Duke – the inventor of the modern cigarette and modern marketing techniques, and to blame for hundreds of millions of deaths?