As long as the Tories fail to solve the housing crisis, they will struggle to win

The fall in the number of homeowners leaves the Conservatives unable to sell capitalism to those with no capital.

For the Conservatives, rising home ownership was once a reliable route to government. Former Labour voters still speak of their gratitude to Margaret Thatcher for the Right to Buy scheme. But as home ownership has plummeted, the Tories have struggled to sell capitalism to a generation without capital.

At the 2017 general election, homeowners voted for the Tories over Labour by 55 per cent to 30 per cent (mortgage holders by 43-40). By contrast, private renters backed Labour by 54 per cent to 31 per cent. As long as the latter multiply in number, while the former fall, the Tories will struggle to build a majority-winning coalition.

More at: New Statesman

Universal Basic Income Is About Trust and Decency

As one of the world’s leading scientific experts on universal basic income (UBI), Jurgen De Wispelaere has written books and numerous articles on UBI, in addition to having edited several volumes on the topic. He is currently a political economy research fellow at the Independent Social Research Foundation and a policy research fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath. He was previously a visiting research fellow at the University of Tampere, where he was a consultant on the research team preparing Finland’s current national basic income experiment.

In this interview, De Wispelaere outlines the most important aspects of UBI — its feasibility, what we can learn from previous experiments, why the right implementation is so important and how UBI touches our basic philosophy of human nature. De Wispelaere’s core argument is that the best reason for pursuing the UBI agenda is ending poverty.

More at: Universal Basic Income Is About Trust and Decency

Senzo Mchunu’s chilling testimony exposes ANC’s killing fields

‘The difference between KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo is that when they resolve problems they use muti. In KwaZulu-Natal you kill’

Senzo Mchunu. Picture: SOWETAN

Senzo Mchunu. Picture: SOWETAN

Councillors’ proximity to tenders, and power, prestige and pay cheques, are promoting political violence in KwaZulu-Natal – and the ANC is at the heart of it.

This was the thrust of explosive testimony by former ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman and premier Senzo Mchunu at the Moerane Commission in Durban on Wednesday.

More at: RDM

This Study Says We Might Actually Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change

A combination of a “revolution” in renewable energy, a faster-than-expected reduction in carbon emissions, and slower-than-expected warming mean the world could realistically meet the highly ambitious Paris climate targets, according to research by the UK Met Office.

The 2016 Paris agreement set world governments the goal of keeping global warming to “well below” 2°C above the preindustrial average, with an “aspiration” of keeping it to less than 1.5°C. The agreement was met with surprise from climate scientists, many of whom thought its ambitions were unrealistic.

However, the new research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, has found that those ambitions are more realistic than previously believed. In combination with an astonishingly rapid uptake in renewable energy technologies, according to the paper, this means the world has a roughly 2-in-3 chance of meeting the goals, given “ambitious” but realistic reductions in emissions. One researcher who last year said that the goals were “incompatible with democracy” has now revised his view.

More at: Buzzfeed

Basic income after the elections in France and the UK | ubie

Two of Europe’s biggest countries, France and the United Kingdom, had elections this year, and both caused the continent hold its breath for a while. The first was anticipated anxiously for quite a while, whereas the second came out of the blue. Dániel Fehér, chair of UBIE, talked to Aurélie Hampel, UBIE board member and basic income activist from France, and Barb Jacobson, former chair of UBIE and coordinator of Basic Income UK about the implications of both elections for the basic income movement in Europe.

Dániel: While all of us were watching anxiously how France would respond to the populist challenge posed by Le Pen, something unexpected happened in the outgoing president’s Socialist Party: The outsider Benoit Hamon won the primaries with an explicit leftist agenda – and basic income. Aurélie, how did this change the perception of this issue in France?

More at: ubie

Same-sex parented families in Australia

This research paper reviews and synthesises Australian and international literature on same-sex parented families. It includes discussion of the different modes of conception or family formation, different family structures, and the small number of studies on bisexual and transgender parents. Particular attention is paid to research on the emotional, social and educational outcomes for children raised by lesbian and gay parents, and the methodological strengths and weaknesses of this body of work.

Key messages

About 11% of Australian gay men and 33% of lesbians have children. Children may have been conceived in the context of previous heterosexual relationships, or raised from birth by a co-parenting gay or lesbian couple or single parent.

Overall, research to date considerably challenges the point of view that same-sex parented families are harmful to children. Children in such families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as their peers from heterosexual couple families.

Some researchers have concluded there are benefits for children raised by lesbian couples in that they experience higher quality parenting, sons display greater gender flexibility, and sons and daughters display more open-mindedness towards sexual, gender and family diversity.

The possible effect of important socio-economic family factors, such as income and parental education, were not always considered in the studies reviewed in this paper.

Although many Australian lesbian-parented families appear to be receiving good support from their health care providers, there is evidence that more could be done to develop policies and practices supportive of same-sex parented families in the Australian health, education, child protection and foster care systems.

Additional key messages, relating to specific family structures and psychosocial outcomes for children raised by lesbian and gay parents, are included throughout the paper.

Source:Child Family Community Australia

A “reality check” for the Regnerus study on gay parenting

Three years ago, against the strong consensus of social scientists and professional child-welfare groups, University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus concluded that children of gay parents fare worse than children raised by married opposite-sex parents. In the face of intense criticism and a scorching assessment from a federal judge (“not worthy of serious consideration”), Regnerus doubled down on his conclusions and filed an amicus brief against gay marriage in federal court.

But a new critique of Regnerus’ work by Professors Simon Cheng (University of Connecticut) and Brian Powell (Indiana University), published in the same journal as his original study, Social Science Research (available free to most academics and for a $35.95 fee to the general public), suggests that Regnerus misclassified a significant number of children as being raised in same-sex households. Based on a re-evaluation of the data, it concludes there are minimal differences in outcome for children raised by same-sex parents and married opposite-sex parents.

Source: The Washington Post

Analysis: The damage the Zuma Tsunami has wrought | Daily Maverick

The speed at which a tsunami can move is frightening. But what is less dramatic, and sometimes more important, is the speed at which the tsunami pulls out, as its power is sucked away and what has been destroyed is revealed. Tuesday was a day in which we saw some of the devastation that has been wrought. As the power is sucked away from President Jacob Zuma, as the wave that brought him to the highest office in the land withdraws, so we see the stark damage that has been done to the ANC. And to the office of the Public Protector. Unfortunately, in the case of this particular tsunami, it has the potential to cause as much damage during its withdrawal phase as it did when it first broke across our political banks. By STEPHEN GROOTES.

 News editors of the land didn’t know where to start at 10 o’clock on Tuesday morning. A set of legal papers filed by the Reserve Bank had revealed that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had met the Presidency and the State Security Agency before releasing her finding that the inflation setting mandate of the Bank must be changed. Exhibit A in the papers was a note, purportedly in her own handwriting, made during her meeting with the SSA, in which she posed the question about the Bank, “How are they vulnerable?”. Then, just as the legal reporters were digesting that, the KwaZulu-Natal correspondents were fighting to be the lead with the court ruling that the conference that saw Sihle Zikalala elected leader of the ANC in the province was illegal, and thus null and void.

In so many ways these two issues, taken together, say so much about the last decade of our politics. They are two completely separate developments. One is about economic policy, the other about a provincial conference of the governing party. And yet no one can deny that they are both about Zuma. Mkhwebane was clearly part of a plot to undermine and destabilise the Reserve Bank. After her ruling on the ABSA/Bankcorp bailout (which she then abandoned when challenged by the Bank, Parliament and the National Treasury), there were only two possibilities. That her time as a spy proved the adage that “once a spook always a spook” and she was working for Zuma, or that she was a loon. Now we know that she was working for Zuma. The KZN ANC ruling is also all about Zuma. It is about his determination to cling to power through any means necessary, by breaking the rules of his own party. Zikalala is one of his strongest supporters, it is obvious to everyone how important the province will be in December, and so he was making sure that it was in his grasp.

More at : Daily Maverick

Remembering Biko: Black Consciousness Movement leader’s killers must sit in the dock | Daily Maverick

Forty years after police killed Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko, no one has been prosecuted. That’s despite five officers being denied amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As the country commemorates another year since the struggle hero was killed, the inquest into Biko’s death should be reopened. The recent inquest into Ahmed Timol’s death sets an example. By GREG NICOLSON.

 In 2014, auctioneers Westgate Walding tried to sell Steve Biko and Ahmed Timol’s original autopsy documents. Biko’s had a reserve of R70,000 to R100,000. The families of Timol, who was allegedly killed by apartheid police in 1971, and Biko, killed by police in 1977, hired the same pathologist to conduct autopsies. He left his records to his assistant and when she died they ended up with her children. Then Westgate and Walding tried to sell the autopsies, including certificates from pathologists and post-mortem reports.

The auction was interdicted, but the grotesque attempt was symbolic. How can someone so blatantly disrespect South African struggle heroes, who were killed while fighting for freedom, their remaining loved ones, and the country? It’s simple, really: because justice, much like democracy, has never quite arrived and we commemorate the dead without actually honouring them.

More at :  Daily Maverick

Minority stress, experience of parenthood and child adjustment in lesbian families


The aim of this study was to explore the relationship of minority stress with experiences of parenthood (e.g. parental stress and parental justification) and child adjustment in lesbian mother families. Three components of minority stress were examined, namely, experiences of rejection as a result of the non‐traditional family situation, perceived stigma, and internalized homophobia. A total of 100 planned lesbian families (100 biological mothers and 100 social mothers) were involved in this study. Data were collected by means of a written questionnaire. The lesbian mothers in this sample generally described low levels of rejection, they perceived little stigmatization, and they also manifested low levels of internalized homophobia. However, minority stress was significantly related to experiences of parenthood. Lesbian mothers with more experiences of rejection experienced more parental stress, and appeared to defend their position as mother more strongly (e.g. parental justification). Furthermore, mothers with higher levels of perceived stigma and internalized homophobia felt significantly more often that they had to defend their position as mother. Finally, mothers who reported more experience of rejection were also more likely to report behaviour problems in their children. Our findings emphasize the importance of the effect of minority stress on the lives of lesbian mothers and their children.

Source:  Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology