Dave’s got something for the ladies

We live in glorious times for democracy, my sisters: after many years of struggle and toil, finally we have the vote. At long, long last, our politicians are forced to listen to female voices – and act in female interests, if they wish to maintain power. Well, the Equal Franchise Act is actually 83 years old, so it’s not exactly new news, but it looks like someone only just got around to telling our coalition government, given the internal document that has been leaked, detailing how the Conservative Party (incorporating the Liberal Democrats, like a failing magazine swallowed up by a rival) plans to appeal to that psephologically baffling novelty, the Woman. Continue reading

Bad habits and dull shapes

We have no nature. Our nations are not built instinctively by our bodies, like beehives; they are works of art, like ships, carpets and gardens. The possible shapes of them are endless. It is bad habits, not bad nature, which makes us repeat the dull old shapes of poverty and war.

Alasdair Gray, Lanark

The emergency budget is intended to change the arrangement of the state permanently. The cuts it contains have been trailed as inevitable as well as irrevocable. The extent of the deficit has been talked up mercilessly. Tim Harford points out that almost all the ‘extra’ debt the government claims to have discovered has in fact been public knowledge for a very long time, but it doesn’t matter: the debt has to seem new, because it has to justify the mercilessness of the cuts. Continue reading