MANY IDEAS have been put forward to explain the rise of populism in the West: economic insecurity, a backlash against immigration and fake news, to name but a few. Another on the list might be the lack of shared spaces where people from different walks of life can meet and mingle. If politics has become tribal, perhaps that is a result of people being walled off from others—in some cases literally—eroding the sense of commonality and community.
That is the intriguing message of a recent book by Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University and the author of “Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life” (Crown, 2018). The title comes from a phrase used by Andrew Carnegie, an American steel baron of the early 20th century, to describe the thousands of public libraries he helped build with his donations.
This report, by the Committee on Climate Change and its Adaptation Committee, assesses whether the UK’s housing stock is adequately prepared for the challenges of climate change; both in terms of reducing emissions from UK homes and ensuring homes are adequately prepared for the impacts of climate change.
The report’s key findings are that:
- the UK’s legally-binding climate change targets will not be met without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings.
- emissions reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes – which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions – increased between 2016 and 2017.
- efforts to adapt the UK’s housing stock to the impacts of the changing climate: for higher average temperatures, flooding and water scarcity, are lagging far behind what is needed to keep us safe and comfortable, even as these climate change risks grow.
From Resolution Foundation:
How wealth taxes can raise billions more without scaring any horses
Raising taxes is never easy. Raising taxes with the government’s slim parliamentary majority is harder still. Raising taxes on wealth in those circumstances, given our diverging senses of fairness is… not a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need doing, and the good news is that significant progress can be made despite these constraints.
From the Guardian
Labour members are significantly more opposed to Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn is, with 72% of them thinking their leader should fully support a second referendum, according to a study of attitudes in the party.
The polling, part of an ongoing wider academic study into attitudes in various parties, found that only 18% opposed Labour campaigning for a second referendum, while 88% would then opt for remain if such a vote was held.
Source: The Guardian
From the New Statesman:
Labour’s refusal to oppose Brexit is becoming a historic error
There are some in the FBPE (Follow Back, Pro-EU) community who claim that Brexit could have been stopped if the Labour leadership had abandoned Brexit. This is either arguable if applied to 2016 or just simply wrong since 2016. But in the turmoil that is likely to follow the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in January, the Labour leadership will play a crucial role. This post is about what happens if Labour enable Brexit in any way. I am not suggesting they will (and hope they do not), but right now this is a significant enough possibility to be worth writing about
From Haslemere Herald:
HASLEMERE and Hindhead-based protesters joined Saturday’s Save Our Services in Surrey ‘Austerity Kills’ march and rally in Woking.
Objectors to Surrey County Council (SCC) proposals to close 31 children’s centres included Claire Matthes, who works at Haslemere’s Tennyson’s children’s centre, which supports 880 families but has been earmarked for closure.
Claire said: “Haslemere, like much of Surrey, is a beautiful, leafy area of the country, which belies the fact many families and individuals struggle with the issues of daily life.
Source: | News | Haslemere Herald
From the Washington Monthly :
Most activists who focus on elections can remember their first campaign training seminar, the time and place they first learned the rules for success in electoral politics. No matter the organization, the basic messages are almost always the same: maintain strict message discipline. Speak in general terms about values. Stay silent on issues about which you don’t know all the details. When in doubt, redirect the conversation to your own talking points.Don’t make unforced mistakes, because a single error can doom your whole campaign. Whenever possible, speak in media-friendly soundbites using the 27-9-3 rule: 27 words, 9 seconds to say, 3 main ideas. Be cautious and circumspect.This is fine advice under normal circumstances. But after an entire generation of candidates got elected following these rules designed for 20th century media, a strange thing happened: no matter which party they belonged to, every politician started to sound oddly the same regardless of party or ideology. Like a restaurant with a menu dozens of items long but where every dish has the same distinctly bland flavor and texture, Washington started to sound less like a debating ground for the people’s representatives and more like an endless parade of obfuscators speaking a language foreign to the public and playing by arcane rules none recognize. If you didn’t play the game, you weren’t taken seriously because you didn’t “know how Washington works.”
The phenomenal rise to stardom of newly elected representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez must be understood in this light.