Wired: João Medeiros: This economist has a plan to fix capitalism. It’s time we all listened

In my previous post I included a clip from BBC Newsnight about the Labour Party’s manifesto. The woman in the clip is Mariana Mazzucato. Here is an article profiling her. Read it and think.

Labour’s manifesto offer something others don’t, hope!

Even if you choose to criticise the Labour Party’s manifesto as ridiculously expensive, which it’s not. Just watch the clip below from BBC Newsnight. “It would basically bring us still to levels that are lower than France, Norway, and Sweden.” We pride ourselves on being the fifth largest economy in the world. Why can’t we afford it? The Labour Party’s manifesto has something the other parties won’t offer. A vision for the future, a vision that offers hope. This manifesto gives hope to all of us who have been bled dry by this huge vampiric pyramid scheme of neoliberalism. It offers the possibility that things might get better, instead of predictably worse.

Homophily

While in the car today I caught a few minutes of Naturebang on BBC Radio 4. This episode explored the link between Starlings and Social Networks.

I learned that when starling murmurations, or the swirling patters they make when flying in synchrony, were modelled they discovered that groups of seven birds control all of the crowds movements. One bird moves, taking with it the six birds close by, and they take the six around them, until all of the birds move together.

It’s all beautifully and elegant when seen in birds. Not so when translated into humans and our social networks. In humans this “tendency for people to seek out or be attracted to those who are similar to themselves” is called homophily. It’s also what causes the echo chamber myopia you get on social media. We all do it. Follow people we agree with. Repost things that reflect our opinions. I’m going to say it’s one part of the many things that’s contributed to political tribalism. Those with similar ideologies only interacting with others of a similar ideology. It’s probably why polling doesn’t work anymore. I’m sure the causes of the current political malaise are more complicated, and it’s a mistake to reduce things in this way, but as someone from Oakham once said, “the simplest solution is most likely the right one.” Beware, the way birds move together, might mirror how we coagulate on social media.

This’ll be interesting

Channel 4 News is “wading into the murky water of political ads online.” I for one will be very interested to see who is doing what? I would hope after the Cambridge Analytica scandal all the parties would be a little gun shy of “targeted” political advertising. But considering the players involved, particularly those in Tory circles, I suspect things are going to get shit covered very quickly. If you have shit thrown at you, email it to targetvoter@itn.co.uk.

Leave have faith

This is an intelligent unpicking of BJ’s lies by @UKLabour. The problem I fear is that we’re not dealing with intelligence, or logic, or even truth. We are dealing with belief. We’re dealing with faith.

Leave have faith, despite all the evidence, that leaving the EU is the right thing to do. For me faith is just a short bus journey to Zealot Town. I have no idea how to counter their belief. They don’t listen to reason.

Despite their best efforts I have no desire to make them my enemy. But that’s what I am. I am other. A none believer. And not to believe, not to have faith, is heresy. I can live with being a heretic. But no amount of faith will put food on the table, or pay my rent.

The Conversation: Armand D’Angour: Socrates in love: how the ideas of this woman are at the root of Western philosophy

This is just another example of the phrase that may or may not have been said by Napoleon Bonaparte.

What is history but a fable agreed upon?

QI

It’s not hard to see how or why patriarchy has marginalise Aspasia of Miletus.

Interestingly the website Quote Investigator: QI, who investigate the source of quotes, attributes it to someone else. Ironic.

Ken Clarke and Europe see though Boris Johnson. Do you?

A couple of days ago I watched Ken Clarke unpack Boris Johnson’s strategy towards the European Union. Clarke thinks Johnson wants to make no deal inevitable, while blaming the European Union, Parliament, and the Opposition. He will then fight a “flag waving” general election before anyone realises the vat of shit we’re in.

This morning I watched the interview with Philippe Lamberts on Channel 4 News. He confirmed everything and more that Ken Clarke said. Ken Clarke can see though Boris Johnson. The Europeans know what Boris Johnson is up to. Do you?

I find it interestingly that I could only find two clips of Ken Clarke’s comments on Twitter. Why is that? Ken Clarke’s analysis seems accurate. I know the news in chomping it’s way through the feast that is removing rebels, but to me that’s a distraction. It’s important but should be ignored. Why aren’t they unpacking Boris Johnson’s strategy the way Ken Clarke did?

We need a radical approach to the housing crisis

An answer prompted by a George Monbiot article in The Guardian: Poor tenants pay for landlords to have a good time.

I agree that “government policy has created heaven for landlords and hell for tenants.” I am a tenant. I always have been, and always will be. Not through choice but because I have never been rich enough to buy. As tenants my partner and I are treated like children. Constantly reminded it’s the landlord’s house, not a property we’re paying to call our home. All tenants are made to feel as though they should be grateful to the landlord for letting us rent their property. How would you feel if someone could turn up at your door whenever they choose, and just let themselves into your home? It makes you feel vulnerable. As if you have no agency.

I think we need a radical approach to the housing crisis. One that puts tenants front and centre. Yes we need rent controls. But we also need guaranteed long term leases. Terms of five or ten years should be the standard. Everyone needs that kind of stability to make a life for themselves.

There should be a register of landlords. You need a license to drive a taxi. You should have a license to rent private property. Tenants should be able to report neglect of a property, or abusive behaviour, without fear of eviction. A register of landlords would go some way to keeping both parties safe.

I think the owners of a ghosted property should be fined. Not small, slap on the wrist fines, but value of the property fines. Investors then have a choice, sell their ghosted property, or let it at rent-controlled rates. Similarly second homes, or holiday homes, should be either treated as ghosted properties, or taxed out of existence.

Mortgages should be calculated not on earnings, but on a proven ability to pay rent. I would argue paying rent is better indicator of someone’s ability to repay a mortgage than earnings. And if lenders still require a deposit they should be offered to individuals by the government, in the same way as student loans are, and similarly administered by HMRC.

The problems with the housing market were created by decades of poor political choices. For the sake of everyone, we need to make better choices.