Our Book of the Month for August is a classic and strongly recommended by the Equality Trust.
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better was published in 2009. Written by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, the book highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”. It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.
As of September 2012, the book had sold more than 150,000 copies in English. It is available in 23 foreign editions.
A collection of Powerpoint slides regarding The Spirit Level can be downloaded here.
For a small contribution, the data underpinning the findings in The Spirit Level can be obtained from here.
There are lots of web sites out there and plenty of recommended ones on our “useful links” area. However there are so many blogs/sites that it is easy to miss some of the key ones and I have only come across the UK in a Changing Europe site recently. This is hosted by King’s College London but draws in expertise from the broad UK academic community.
Progressive Pulse’s Book of the month for July is “BREXIT: What the Hell Happens Now” by Ian Dunt. Britain’s departure from the European Union is filled with propaganda and myth but the risks are very real. Brexit could lower our global status, diminish our quality of life, and throw our legal system into turmoil.
With the help of constitutional and trade experts, Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk, explains why exiting the EU is likely to:
make the UK poorer
leave industries like pharmaceuticals and finance struggling to operate
threatens to break up the United Kingdom
The book deals with the trade and legal cliff edge that Britain will face unless it can secure a transitional deal with the European Union, why the odds are stacked against the UK government in its negotiations with Brussels, and how the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is not the cure to leaving the EU that the Brexiters believe.
This is the first full public exploration of Brexit, stripped of the wishful thinking of its supporters in the media and Parliament. It is the real picture of a country about to undergo a sharp and self-inflicted isolation. This book is for people who still believe in evidence and in experts.
“The revelation that Belfast City Council is involved in facilitating the storage of pallets (including stolen pallets) to be burnt on loyalist bonfires typically adorned with posters of nationalist politicians, Kill All Taigs-emblazoned Tricolours, Celtic shirts and a statue of the Virgin Mary would be remarkable on its own, but news that the stored pallets have been ‘stolen’ just as City Councillors were set to agree that the material would not be returned to loyalists more than suggests that something is seriously rotten in the state of Denmark City Hall.” (Slugger O’Toole) Continue reading “The Curious Case of Loyalist Bonfires in Northern Ireland”
A short from Dr Mike Galsworthy spokesperson for Scientists for the EU; he is normally well worth listening to.
“Happy Brexit Day! But why aren’t the tabloids celebrating? None of them dare mention it on their front pages today despite bigging up “Independence Day” last year. Here’s why… they know the mood is changing and they have no new fool’s gold to sell. The public are starting to tire of the arrogant fantasy. Increasingly they see Brexit for the mess it is. The good thing is that we’re now getting the education about Europe that we never had over 40 years. We also have a good shot at overturning Brexit if the public want to – having strengthened the EU by our misadventure”.
Happy Brexit Day! But why aren't the tabloids celebrating? None of them dare mention it on their front pages today despite bigging up "Independence Day" last year. Here's why… they know the mood is changing and they have no new fool's gold to sell. The public are starting to tire of the arrogant fantasy. Increasingly they see Brexit for the mess it is. The good thing is that we're now getting the education about Europe that we never had over 40 years. We also have a good shot at overturning Brexit if the public want to – having strengthened the EU by our misadventure.
I’ve been a fan of Fintan O’Toole for many years and his Brexit articles are always very well worth reading. His analysis is generally excellent as is the quality of his prose. I was pleased to discover that at least two of Progressive Pulse team, Richard Murphy and Ivan Horrocks, also hold him in very high regard. In April, Fintan won the 2017 European Press Commentator of the Year prize for his work on Brexit and its aftermath.
He is also as of a few days ago the holder of the prestigious Orwell 2017 Journalism prize for his work on Brexit. (There are links to his articles on the Orwell Prize Page).
A more recent article in the New York Book Review “Britain: The End of a Fantasy” is available here.
Here is a podcast interview which may be of interest; it is about a half hour long available here.
Well done Fintan and we wish you continued success.
As someone who grew up on the island of Ireland the DUP are well known to me as indeed are Sinn Féin. I find it saddening that the more centrist parties: the SDLP, Alliance and the UUP captured no seats in GE 2017. All we are left with is two parties with significant links to paramilitary groups but with very different politics. Apart from the obvious (that SF are Nationalist and the DUP unionist), SF are in politics a socialist modern party but the DUP are ultra conservative with a 17th century mindset considerably to the right of the Tea Party in the US. They are Protestant fundamentalists if not supremacists. It is not however difficult, looking through their various manifestos and policy statements, to get an idea of their likely bargaining position and there is a list which has been compiled here.