Some good news for a change:
ASH hit by 25 per cent cut in public funding
Not enough, of course. 100% would have been more the ticket. But it’s a start. There seem to have been a lot of questions asked in parliament about ASH. About time too.
The Campaign Against Smoking Bans In Psychiatric Units (CASBIPU).
That’s something I’ll readily support. They have a petition.
And via MJM (note the date):
The rise of the outsider as the populist political figurehead also cuts across any left-right divide. Trump, Bernie Sanders, Wilders, Farage, even Syriza’s man-about-town Yanis Varoufakis all position themselves as a not-one-of-them-lot politician. Not that they are men of the people. No, the appeal of these populist figures lies in their seeming authenticity, the fact that they perform themselves, speaking their off-message minds and to hell with the consequences. Paradoxically, in their apparent individuality, they speak for a general sentiment: a discomfort with the you-can’t-say-that conformism of the political mainstream.
Not that this revolt against the elites is a completely new phenomenon. Its seeds were sown decades ago, as Europe’s traditional parties of left and right – the social democrats, the Communists, the Christian democrats and so on – lost their social moorings and, ultimately, their political identities. As their support bases shrank, they not only shifted towards the centre in search of votes, but also, more significantly, they gradually stopped seeing the public as a source of democratic legitimacy – as people they represented and from whom it was necessary to win support. And as their estrangement from the electorate grew, so their worldview – technocratic, cosmopolitan and disdainful of their native working-class – developed as something distinct from, and in opposition to, a large section of the populace.
In the EU, national elites’ simultaneous flight from and management of the demos gained institutional form. Hence European populism is entwined with opposition to the EU. And not just because it is a source of external, unaccountable power over the internal lives of nation states, but also because it appears culturally, almost ideologically, opposed to the internal lives of citizens, frequently branding them racist, sexist and bigoted. So in the early days of the migrant crisis this year, German chancellor Angela Merkel talked of promoting EU ‘values’, while European Council chief Donald Tusk declared war on the ‘populism and xenophobia’ in Europe’s midst.