Uncategorized

When I was despairing about the very possibility of accountability and coming up with this post, I was thinking of things like this piece from Josephine Cumbo in this weekend’s Financial Times: Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request showed that since 2018 the Financial Conduct Authority has opened formal investigations into 29 firms…

Read More Rotten

Around the end of August I was despairing of political accountability on the grounds that the effectiveness of what is generally called spin, the practice of tactical political publicity, seemed to have improved significantly since about 2005. What really worried me about it is that if it’s a technology, it can be improved, and as…

Read More Cataloguing spin

So it looks like I’m not the only one thinking about Johnson and acracy: Johnson’s explanation for all these things is that he suffers from the classical vice of akrasia. He knows what the right thing to do is but acts against his better judgement through lack of self-control. He is, in Aristotle’s words, like…

Read More Acracy followup

Following Dan Davies’ tracers here. The guy who the care-home industry pushed out to pick a row with the prime minister this week, hoping it would divert attention from their atrocious labour practices and how they helped their customers catch COVID-19, turns out to be the very same whose £100m-big operation got caught perpetrating £20k…

Read More Alternative, Terrible Models of Ownership

There has been quite some concern about what policy Labour can pursue in the context of a Conservative government that has essentially abandoned fiscal austerity as a goal. The good news is that there’s been a natural experiment on this in the United States, as this salty tweet points out – the $1200 emergency aid…

Read More Can’t Buy a Thrill: Keep the Furlough Scheme

James Butler has thoughts! You should probably read’em! However, this take seems stale: Such permeating cynicism arises above all from depoliticisation: the claim, advanced over the past few decades, that ideological difference is dead, markets ought to be insulated from political contestation, and politics is merely a set of technical quibbles between administrators. Depoliticisation has…

Read More Depoliticisation and after

While I was writing the previous post, on a table outside my flat, I noticed some sort of commotion in the street. Then somebody shouting from the third or fourth floor of the block: “There’s…someone behaving…oddly in the road…do something”. Looking across the street I could see some people who might be doing something, and…

Read More Do something

The fantastic Schibboleth blog recently ran this recipe, and I can tell you that it makes an absolutely superb steak. You don’t really think of Vienna as steak country but of course it was old central Europe’s stockyard city, with its vast rail-fed central markets. When I lived there, although the markets were no longer…

Read More A great recipe and the Housing Act 1988