Britblog Round Up 246: the “liberals versus the rest” edition…

Okay, its our turn to host the peripatetic Brit Blog Round Up… and this week it’s dominated by Professor David Nutt sacking as the UK governments chief advisor on drugs (whose troublesome lecture now appears to have come within the remit of that same government’s own guidelines)… Mark wonders why the Home Secretary’s Tory opposite number is playing ‘mini me’ to Alan Johnson… (whatever else Alan Johnson is, he is not now nor has he ever been a liberal politician)…- Blogging at the Telegraph Dan Hannan says whatever its flaws democracy dictates that the politician’s imperative is to seek votes, not necessarily the best scientific advice money cannot buy… and that that is at least prefereable to being ruled directly by scientists…

– And speaking of scientists and politicians, Neil Craig reckons the latter in this case are simply trying to dodge a truth bullet

– As for Matthew Taylor who spent eight years inside number ten trying to convince Tony Blair to buy evidence tested policy initiatives, more often than not falling foul to the former PMs penchant for ‘big numbers’, he observes that “trying to prove arguments in social policy can not only be self defeating, but may involve us in hiding our beliefs behind ‘facts’.”

– Matthew calls it ‘Policy based evidence making’, and Joe Nutt has a great example of a giant piece of secondary source research based on such a profoundly corrosive caveat that it renders its own work utterly useless… though not so useless that someone could not resist the temptation to actually use it

– Andrew cuts to the quick on the reason liberal opinion in Britain seems completely befuddled by the rise of the BNP:

The major parties are not addressing the subjects on which the BNP are gaining votes. Citizens are expressing concern about the present level of immigration, Muslim extremism, and lack of equal access to jobs, education, and social housing. These topics are being addressed by the BNP, leading to increased support throughout the UK. The BNP received six percent of the overall vote in the May elections, gaining seats for the first time, and their support appears to have increased since then.

The “anti-fascists” are calling for violence against the BNP. Opposing them has become an end in itself

– Unity with a great piece which demonstrates just where and to whom your money goes if and when you buy your next CD… proving, apparently, that Lily Allen (and Lord Mandelson) got it completely wrong… The future for recording artists it seems is ‘independence baby…”

– And, proving all news is local, Jonathan with an example of a local news story that went national and got shorn of all its inconvenient (for the journalist) context

  • As far as the “mainstream” parties are concerned, there simply is no reason for concern about “immigration, Muslim extremism, and lack of equal access to jobs, education, and social housing” and that people who hold such concerns are simply mistaken. As with most things in life the answer lies somewhere in the middle – and it’s that middle ground that Nicolas Sarkozy seems to be staking out.

    The BNP are gaining in UK the same way (in the main) SF gained in places like Tallaght – and it’s exactly for the reason Diane Abbott specifies.

  • Interesting theory Mark.