Shappi Khorsandi’s Teenage Diary

by Harry on May 27, 2010

It’s always nice when one’s parents arrive at a taste that one has also arrived at, but independently. Neither my dad nor I read a lot of fiction, but once a year we find out that we’re reading the same novel, rarely a recent one. With my mum its usually the radio — and she told me the other day that I might like Shappi Khorsandi (whom I am on record as adoring). She caught her on teenage diary and, indeed, she is not only loveable, but there are two moments when I started crying with laughter. Sorry, its only available for a few more hours.

Update: aha — and here she explains that her teenage poetry was inspired by Adrian Mole, which, indeed, it sounds like it was.

Stuart White on “Orange Book” liberalism

by Chris Bertram on May 27, 2010

I know, a second successive post linking to Stuart White at Next Left, but his analysis of “Orange Book” liberalism and its distance from egalitarian liberalism is deadly accurate, especially regarding David Laws (Chief Secretary to the Treasury and former VP at JP Morgan). Laws may not be a libertarian, but he may be the closest thing to it in the British political mainstream: certainly more Hayek than Hobhouse:

bq. Reading someone like David Laws, for example, there is at times a clear sense that the free market produces a distribution of income and wealth which is a kind of natural or moral baseline. It is departures from the baseline that have to be justified. Laws and other Orange Bookers are of course not libertarians, so they are prepared to allow that some departures – some tax-transfers/tax-service arrangements – can be justified. (This is the sense in which they remain social liberals, albeit not egalitarian ones.) But the presumption, for Laws, is clearly for ‘leaving money in people’s pockets’. This presumption runs completely counter to one of the basic claims of contemporary liberalism as developed in the work of such as Rawls, Dworkin and Ackerman.

White is quite right to say, of course, that egalitarian liberals also have serious difficulties with Labour on account of its dreadful record on civil liberties. But my sense is that quite a lot (though not all) of that record was the result of channeling the permanent agenda of the Home Office (note the way in which the Tories, in power advocated ID cards with Labour opposed, with the position reversing some time after 1997).

Liberals in the Mist

by John Holbo on May 27, 2010

Jonah Goldberg makes an interesting point, but I’m not sure it was quite supposed to come out the way it did. Namely, there is a recognizable sub-genre of liberal-progressive journo-punditry that might be termed ‘conservatives in the mist’. [click to continue…]