Father starts campaign for 16-year-old daughter who killed herself after years of homophobic abuse · PinkNews

UK Father starts campaign for 16-year-old daughter who killed herself after years of homophobic abuse

A man whose 16-year-old daughter killed herself after years of bullying over her sexuality has publicised her suffering to raise awareness.

The Julia Derbyshire Campaign has been started by her father, with the associated hashtag #SASSY (Support Against Self-Harm and Suicide in Youth), to raise awareness about mental health.

Julia, who lived in Warrington, in Cheshire, passed away in 2015 after she came out as gay to a friend.

She moved to Missouri with her family when she was four, and was apparently a happy enough child until she was 12, when she told someone she thought was her friend that she “might like girls”.

Source: · PinkNews

Happiness research draws our attention to both structure and agency | British Politics and Policy at LSE

There is strong evidence, using a range of happiness measures, worldwide surveys, and diverse methodologies, to show that people who are poor are more miserable than people who are not. And they do not, as some have suggested, get used to their circumstances: poverty starts bad and stays bad. Caring about happiness means we care about people who are poor. Moreover, in general, rising income inequality also acts as a barrier to achieving greater happiness. People from the US and the UK are happier during periods of low income inequality, as are people in Japan, urban China, and Latin America. There are, however, some exceptions though: in rural China, for example, greater inequality has been associated with greater wellbeing. This suggests that income inequality may sometimes serve as a signal of opportunity, depending on how fair the opportunities to earn more are perceived to be.

Bad health is bad for happiness, too. Using happiness data, I have been able to show just how much various bad health conditions matter to how we feel and think about our lives. Using traditional methods of economic evaluation, which ask people how many years of life they are willing to give up not to have a health problem, people consider having moderate anxiety or depression to be about as bad as having some problems walking about. Happiness data turns this finding on its head, revealing that having anxiety or depression is about ten times as bad as having some problems walking about. There are a number of reasons for this, but the bottom line is that having anxiety or depression is usually more attention-seeking than having problems walking about. Caring about happiness means that we care about people’s health, especially their mental health.

Source:  British Politics and Policy at LSE

“Don’t blame globalisation – it’s about domestic policies” – Mr. Hans van Mierlo Stichting

In the USA, as the rich got richer and the poor stagnated, globalisation has been blamed – contributing to the rise of Donald Trump. Evidence from elsewhere is that it ain’t necessarily so. This graph shows that in stark contrast to the US, in the Netherlands, it was the poorest households that saw the  strongest growth in income.


In yesterday’s election, the Dutch electorate saw off the threat from their own yellow haired anti-immigrant populist politician. No co-incidence?

The graph above is included in a December 2016 paper by Torsten Bell and Adam Corlett for the Hans van Mierlo Stichting, arguing that the adverse impact of globalisation on poorer Americans (and British?) implied by the “elephant curve” is not inevitable, but the result of poor policy decisions.

Read the full article.

The globalisation debate too often gets simplified into a claim that working people in Western countries have seen their incomes stagnate in recent decades. But the evidence doesn’t support this simplistic case against globalisation. Yes, trade and migration bring with them challenges, but a more equal distribution of growth also depends on domestic policy choices.

Source:  Hans van Mierlo Stichting

“Utopian thinking: the easy way to eradicate poverty”| Rutger Bregman | The Guardian

It’s an incredibly simple idea: universal basic income – a monthly allowance of enough to pay for your basic needs: food, shelter, education. And it’s completely unconditional: not a favour, but a right.

But could it really be that simple? In the three years that followed, I read all I could find about basic income. I researched dozens of experiments that have been conducted across the globe. And it didn’t take long before I stumbled upon the story of a town that had done it, had eradicated poverty – after which nearly everyone forgot about it.

‘Everybody in Dauphin was guaranteed a basic income ensuring that no one fell below the poverty line.’ Photograph: Barrett & MacKay/Getty Images/All Canada Photos

This story starts in Winnipeg, Canada. Imagine a warehouse attic where nearly 2,000 boxes lie gathering dust. They are filled with data – graphs, tables, interviews – about one of the most fascinating social experiments ever conducted. Evelyn Forget, an economics professor at the University of Manitoba, first heard about the records in 2009. Stepping into the attic, she could hardly believe her eyes. It was a treasure trove of information on basic income.

When Forget found them, 30 years later, no one knew what, if anything, the experiment had demonstrated. For three years she subjected the data to all manner of statistical analysis. And no matter what she tried, the results were the same every time. The experiment – the longest and best of its kind – had been a resounding success.

Source:The Guardian

MPs set to debate changing Britain’s voting system to proportional representation | The Independent

MPs are set to debate scrapping Britain’s “First Past the Post” voting system and switching to a form of proportional representation.The debate has been put on the cards after a petition on the Parliament website calling for electoral reform reached 100,000 signatures – meaning the subject will automatically be considered for discussion by MPs.Petition founder Tim Ivorson, said that the Government’s original official response to the document had been “riddled with falsehoods” and that a debate would offer the opportunity “to correct some misunderstandings and for all MPs to explore the issue in more detail”.

Source: The Independent

Free exchange: A proper reckoning | The Economist

Feminist economics deserves recognition as a distinct branch of the discipline

Does “Feminist economics”, which has its own journal, really bring anything distinctive?

Defining it as a look at the economy from a female perspective provides one straightforward answer. Feminist analyses of public policy note, for example, that men gain most from income-tax cuts, whereas women are most likely to plug the gap left by the state as care for the elderly is cut. Even if such a combination spurs economic growth, if it worsens inequality between sexes, then perhaps policymakers should think twice.

Source: Free exchange: A proper reckoning | The Economist

Second major 2015 Tory manifesto pledge dropped in a week | The Independent

The Conservatives have been accused of dropping a second manifesto pledge in the space of a week after ministers rowed back on plans to build hundreds of thousands of “starter homes” for first-time buyers.

Chancellor Philip Hammond sparked negative headlines after the Budget on Wednesday when he raised National Insurance for self-employed people, ditching a Conservative manifesto promise not to raise the tax.

But the Government has also now binned David Cameron’s flagship housing policy of building 200,000 starter homes at 20 per cent below market price, championed by the former Prime Minister just last year.

Source: The Independent

RDP housing fraud syndicate arrested‚ says Johannesburg mayor – Times LIVE

The clean-up in Johannesburg begins!

Two Joburg housing officials along with two accomplices have been arrested on charges of fraud and corruption linked to a syndicate involving land and RDP houses.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said they have appeared in court and were released on R5‚000 bail each.

The case has been postponed to 11 April 2017. “A syndicate working in collusion with the Department of Housing‚ municipal officials and a councillor started allocating stands to people at a fee wherein unsuspecting individuals bought the said stands.

A similar modus operandi applied to the allocation of RDP houses‚” he said in a statement. Many of the victims have already constructed houses on illegally sold land‚ Mashaba added.

Source: RDP housing fraud syndicate arrested‚ says Johannesburg mayor – Times LIVE

“Bathroom Bills, Transgender Laws at Odds with Science” | Time.com

A person’s biological sex seems simple but is deceptively complex. It appears to be binary: An XX chromosomal pair is female, and an XY chromosomal pair is male. Doctors look at a newborn’s genitalia, pronounce the baby a boy or a girl, and the birth certificate reflects that sex assignment.

Deep-seated religious beliefs, cultural constructs, the regulation of sports (such as the rules confronted by Texas high-school wrestler Mack Beggs) and recent laws are premised on the bedrock belief that each of us is either a man or a woman. Yet the reality is that today in the United States alone there are approximately one million people who — from the moment of birth — cannot clearly be defined as either male or female.

This physiological truth is unrelated to whether someone is straight, gay or transgender. Many individuals are born with sex chromosome, endocrine or hormonal irregularities, and their birth certificates are inaccurate because in the United States birth records are not designed to allow doctors to designate an ambiguous sex. Countless people likely have no idea that they fall into this group. The more we learn about our DNA, the more that biological sex — from the moment of conception — looks like an intricate continuum and less like two tidy boxes. This understanding makes it virtually impossible for judges to consistently apply a law that permits or prohibits conduct based on whether someone is a man or a woman.

Source:  Time.com

Politics is too complex to be understood in terms of Left and Right | British Politics and Policy at LSE

What does it really mean to be “right” or “left” in England today? Can we be certain that all who identify as conservative are against immigration? Or can we say that anyone opposing Trident is invariably “left”? And can we assume that one can never be both pro-immigration and “right-wing” in economic terms? Jonathan Wheatley explains ideology has a cultural and an economic dimension, and each should be assessed separately. He also argues that for many voters, the terms “left” and “right”, especially in economic terms, don’t mean much.

The notions of “left” and “right” have come to define how we understand politics in Western Europe. When it comes to political parties, the consensus in Britain is that UKIP, followed by the Conservatives, take the most right-wing position, while the Greens, SNP and Labour adopt a position furthest to the left. So when a ComRes poll found that the Conservatives were seen by voters as marginally to the right of UKIP, political pundits were shocked.

In ideological terms, the common assumption is that if you are anti-immigration, support an independent nuclear deterrent and adhere to pro-free market economic policies you are “right-wing”. If you welcome migrants, want to scrap Trident and believe in more state regulation you are “left-wing”. But as the recent spat between the Institute of Directors and Home Secretary Theresa May demonstrates, pro-business free-marketeers can also be pro-immigration. Conversely, many of those who feel the state should do more to protect their jobs may feel antagonistic towards immigration.

Source:  British Politics and Policy at LSE