Maimane accuses ANC of excluding black people from the economy

Democratic alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says the African National Congress (ANC) has not done enough to include black people in the economy.

Maimane, who addressed supporters at the old Johannesburg Stock Exchange building in Newtown, says the institution is a reminder of how race was used to exclude people of colour.

The opposition leader says the governing party has cemented these divisions by introducing black economic empowerment (BEE) policies that have benefitted a small pool of politically-connected individuals.

Source: EWN

Is God a Figment of Our Imagination? On Certainty, Scepticism and the Limits of Proof – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University.

Do we simply make up our most cherished beliefs, creating a world that fits in with our preconceived ideas, or our deepest longings?

I am one of many who are concerned that we are moving into a post-truth world, whose unacknowledged patron saint is the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach.

We believe what we want to believe, and take offense when our imagined certainties are challenged. T.S. Eliot was prophetic in his suggestion that “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”

More: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Living longer, but with more care needs: late-life dependency and the social care crisis | British Politics and Policy at LSE

Solving the crisis in social care provision for older people is not just a matter of building more care homes, argues Carol Jagger. She explains the various ways in which dependency has changed compared to 20 years ago, and suggests some of the solutions the government should consider.

As winter and the flu season approach, health and social care services are bracing themselves for what has become the inevitable surge in older people falling ill. Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England has already warned that Britain may well experience the same heavy burden of flu cases that Australia and New Zealand are just coming out of. But it isn’t just hospitals that will feel the effect – when an older person who lives alone is admitted to hospital, they may not be able to be discharged as quickly as both sides might like because of delays in organising a package of care. Add to this mix a cold winter and/or fuel poverty, and England and Wales might be in line for another record year for excess winter deaths.

However the crisis in social care provision is not just a winter phenomenon. Part of the problem is the greater numbers of old, and particularly very old, people due to the larger post-war birth cohorts and the steady increase in life expectancy over the last decades. What is most surprising is that there has not been more notice taken of these trends which have been visible for many years. Perhaps it is because some have equated longer life expectancy with a healthier population and, indeed, anecdotally there is a belief that today’s older adults are fitter and healthier than previous generations. But our recent research suggests this is not true.

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More at : Blogs.lse

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