The four-day manifesto: A magnificent U-turn raises questions about Tory competence | The Economist

“NOTHING has changed. Nothing has changed!” insisted Theresa May. But it had. Four days after the launch of the Conservatives’ manifesto on May 18th, the prime minister reversed its signature policy, a proposed reform of the funding system for social care for the elderly, which had come to be known as the “dementia tax”. Mrs May insisted that the change was merely a clarification. But Sir David Butler, a nonagenarian psephologist at Oxford University, noted on Twitter that in the 20 general-election campaigns he has followed, “I can’t remember a U-turn on this scale.” The about-face is welcome, but leaves the social-care system underfunded and has fed a growing perception that the manifesto was not thought through.

More at  The Economist

Here’s Why I Claim Bisexuality |

When I was 14, I found the word bisexual through a Google search. I did not know you could have crushes on both girls and boys. I thought at a certain age there would be a sorting hat a la Harry Potter to tell me if I landed in the “straight” house or the “gay” house. So, when I found the world bisexual, a word that encompassed my feelings, I was ecstatic.

Ten years later, I still identify as bisexual. And I’m just as ecstatic to proudly claim bisexuality. I write and speak about bisexuality while being an advocate for our community. In my advocacy, I frequently am asked why I identify as bisexual rather than pansexual, queer, or many of the other fluid identities. While I am a queer man, in the sense that I am not cis heteronormative, I most closely identify with the label bisexual.

Source: Here’s Why I Claim Bisexuality |

SHOCK POLL: 62% of ANC voters disapprove of Zuma

‘Zuma’s current approval rating is the lowest score ever for any of the country’s democratically elected presidents’

Some 62% of ANC voters polled by Ipsos disapprove of President Jacob Zuma while only 18% support him, suggesting that his continued presidency is exacting a heavy price on the party’s electability.

The poll, done in conjunction with eNCA, surveyed 3 500 adults between 21 April and 22 May this year.

eNCA reported: “Zuma’s current approval rating is the lowest score ever for any of the country’s democratically elected presidents.”

Source: : RDM 

Unfinished business: Spy tapes, Nkandla still hang over Zuma’s head | News | National | M&G

President Jacob Zuma lived to see another day on the weekend, but his troubles go beyond his own party – not least of which is a number of court cases that he is embroiled in.

Zuma’s most immediate legal headache is the Democratic Alliance’s case challenging the rationality of his recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he fired finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

Though hastily rescheduled on Monday, the high court in Pretoria is due this week to hear arguments on whether Zuma can be compelled to hand over documents relating to the decision, including a fabled “intelligence report”. Zuma told alliance partners labour federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party that the report, alleging a conspiracy between Gordhan and foreign bankers, was central to his decision.

Source: M&G

Photos’ goal: Prove that being LGBTQ isn’t ‘un-African’ | 76 CRIMES

Photographer Mikael Owunna has a mission: to debunk the myth that it is “un-African” to be LGBTQ. To accomplish that mission, he photographs LGBTQ African immigrants and tells their stories.

He recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, seeking funds to expand his project with photos of LGBTQ African immigrants in Europe. So far, he has been pledged $7,058 toward his $10,000 goal.A queer Nigerian-American photographer, Owunna has been doing that work for more than three years, displaying the photos and stories online at Limit(less), also known as


Born Both: Intersex and Happy | Psychology Today

When I call something an “activist memoir,” I don’t mean that it’s a memoir chronicling someone’s activism—although it may be that, too. What I mean is that the creation and existence of the book itself is activism. When a once-silenced outsider voice pushes itself into this form—the book—that patriarchal publishing has kept so densely colonized, we should pay attention.

Hida Viloria has written an activist memoir.

If you read Born Both (Hachette Books, 2017), it will impact you.

Born intersex in the late 1960s to a Colombian physician father and a Venezuelan ex-school teacher mother, Hida was registered and brought up as female without being subjected to medically unnecessary “normalizing” genital surgeries—or intersex genital mutilation.

Source:  Psychology Today

The Editors: Trump’s budget pays for defense by abandoning the war on poverty | America Magazine

A president’s first budget plan is one of the milestones in his or her transition from the nominee of a political party to the leader of the entire nation. Ideally, the federal budget is a blueprint for progress toward several shared goals, including fiscal responsibility, the safety and security of the United States, and the alleviation of social ills including poverty and unemployment. Unfortunately, the 2018 budget plan unveiled by the Trump administration on May 23 is out of balance on several accounts.

Rather than attempting to unify the country after a dispiriting election year, the $4.1 trillion budget plan reflects a radical shift in priorities. In order to pay for a $54 billion increase in defense spending of dubious value and without accounting for the costs of a planned major tax cuts, the Trump administration proposes to slash spending on almost every other discretionary program

Source: America Magazine

The political economy of the Conservative Manifesto: a hallucinatory celebration of the state | British Politics and Policy at LSE

The 2017 Conservative Manifesto opens with the statement that “now more than ever, Britain needs a clear plan”. In the spirit of due diligence, Abby Innes offers the first in a short series of articles on the political economy of the manifesto. Here she considers how the party’s strategy towards the state compares with reality.

“We need a state that is strong and strategic, nimble and responsive to the needs of people”. (p.8)

The 2017 Conservative Manifesto speaks highly of the state, and it speaks highly of the market. But even by the standards of enthusiasm in a political manifesto, this text operates in a fiction of archetypes. The juxtaposition of the manifesto’s celebration of a high-functioning state with the reality of its current institutional crisis verges on the hallucinatory. And yet we need to know how the political parties intend to approach the UK state because the next incumbents will remake it to an unprecedented degree.

Source: British Politics and Policy at LSE

Jacob Zuma’s End Approaches

South Africa’s African National Congress has a National Executive meeting this weekend, which will be more than usually difficult for Jacob Zuma.

Zuma goes into the meeting of the committee facing an unprecedented level of opposition from within the African National Congress and its labor and communist supporters

South African President Jacob Zuma faces a key battle for his political survival this weekend when senior members of his ruling party say they’ll push for its decision-making national executive committee to order him to step down.

Zuma, 75, goes into the meeting of the committee facing an unprecedented level of opposition from within the African National Congress and its labor and communist supporters following a series of scandals he’s faced since he took office in 2009. His vice president, Cyril Ramaphosa, echoed the South African Council of Churches on Sunday by saying the nation is at risk of becoming a “mafia state.”


Adding to Zuma’s difficulties, is that the ANC has just endured a humiliating defeat in the Nqutu municipal by-elections yesterday, in the heart of Zuma’s KZN base . Ever since the August election produced an almost evenly split council, the ANC coalition was unremittingly obstructive, preventing even the election of mayor and speaker. The entire council was ultimately dissolved, and fresh elections held yesterday. The ANC retained only 3 wards on the new council (plus 8 more from the PR list). The IFP, with a total of 19, now have an absolute majority. When even his own hometown voters are deserting him, how much longer can he survive? It’s only a matter of time.

How the capture cancer spread | News24

There are two names and two dates that stand out in the SA Council of Churches’ Unburdening Panel report into state capture.

The first name is that of President Jacob Zuma, the Gupta family’s entry point into grabbing control of the South African state and its entities. The second name is Malusi Gigaba, whose appointment as minister of public enterprises led to whole-scale changes in parastatals and the installation of Gupta-aligned directors.

The standout dates are April 2009, the inauguration of Zuma and the beginning of the pay-off for the Guptas’ investment in the unlikely president. The other is November 2010, Gigaba’s arrival at public enterprises, where he replaced an uncooperative Barbara Hogan.

Source: News24