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Brexit deal must meet six tests, says Labour

Fair migration system for UK business and communitiesRetaining strong, collaborative relationship with EUProtecting national security and tackling cross-border crimeDelivering for all nations and regions of the UKProtecting workers' rights and employment protectionsEnsuring same benefits currently enjoyed within single market
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Populism is the result of global economic failure

Larry Elliott in The Guardian

The rise of populism has rattled the global political establishment. Brexit came as a shock, as did the victory of Donald Trump. Much head-scratching has resulted as leaders seek to work out why large chunks of their electorates are so cross.

The answer seems pretty simple. Populism is the result of economic failure. The 10 years since the financial crisis have shown that the system of economic governance that has held sway for the past four decades is broken. Some call this approach neoliberalism. Perhaps a better description would be unpopulism.

Unpopulism meant tilting the balance of power in the workplace in favour of management and treating people like wage slaves. Unpopulism was rigged to ensure that the fruits of growth went to the few not to the many. Unpopulism decreed that those responsible for the global financial crisis got away with it while those who were innocent bore the brunt of austerity.
Anybody seeking to understand why Trump won the US pr…

Caste among Indian Muslims: Fateh ka Fatwa

The inside story of the Tory election scandal

Ed Howker and Guy Basnett in The Guardian

A few hours after dawn on 8 May 2015, the morning after his unexpected victory in the general election, David Cameron delivered a celebratory speech to the jubilant staff of Conservative campaign headquarters, at 4 Matthew Parker Street, Westminster. “I’m not an old man but I remember casting a vote in 1987 and that was a great victory,” he said. “I remember 2010, achieving that dream of getting Labour out and getting the Tories back in, and that was amazing. But I think this is the sweetest victory of them all.”
The assembled Tory campaign staffers cheered and whistled as Cameron declared: “We are on the brink of something so exciting.” The election result would indeed change British politics, although not in the way that Cameron intended: the obliteration of the Conservatives’ Liberal Democrat coalition partners cleared the way for the referendum that set Britain on a path to leave the EU and ended Cameron’s political career. As a result, Ther…

Momentum, a convenient sporting myth

Suresh Menon in The Hindu

So Australia has the “momentum” going into the final Test match in Dharamsala.

At least, their skipper Steve Smith thinks so. Had Virat Kohli said that India have the momentum, he would have been right too. The reason is quite simple. “Momentum” does not exist, so you can pour into the word any meaning you want. Sportsmen do it all the time. It is as uplifting as the thought: “I am due a big score” or “the rivals are due a defeat”. Sport does not work that way, but there is consolation in thinking that it does.

“Momentum” is one of our most comforting sporting myths, the favourite of television pundits and newspaper columnists as well as team coaches everywhere. It reaffirms what we love to believe about sport: that winning is a habit, set to continue if unchecked; that confidence is everything, and players carry it from one victory to the next; and above all, that randomness, which is a more fundamental explanation, is anathema. It is at once the loser’s solace…

Meritocracy: the great delusion that ingrains inequality

Jo Littler in The Guardian

We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers!” shouted Donald Trump in his first address to Congress last month, before announcing that tighter immigration controls would take the form of a “merit-based” system.

Like so many before him, Trump was wrapping political reforms in the language of meritocracy, conjuring up the image of a “fair” system where people are free to work hard to activate their talent and climb the ladder of success.

Since becoming prime minister, Theresa May has also promised to make Britain “the world’s great meritocracy” (or, in The Sun’s phrase, a “Mayritocracy”). She reiterated this pledge when announcing her revival of the grammar schools system, abandoned in the 1960s. “I want Britain to be a place where advantage is based on merit not privilege,” she proclaimed, “where it’s your talent and hard work that matter, not where you were born, who your parents are or what your accent sounds like.”

In the wake of th…

I'm glad to see David Davis 'still hasn't looked into' the economic impact of Brexit

Mark Steel in The Independent

Some people are concerned we aren’t prepared for this Brexit situation, so it was heartening to hear Minister David Davis explain what happens if we don’t manage a deal with the EU, by saying he “hadn’t looked into it yet.”

This shows a steady hand, rather than someone who rushes into things by looking into stuff within the first nine months of a job specifically created to look into exactly that stuff. What’s achieved by panicking like that? Because Davis is only Minister for Brexit. How is he supposed to find out anything about Brexit, on top of all the other things in his title?  

The government should create other specific posts to try and match Davis. They could create a Minister for Desiccated Coconut, so that after nine months they can say: “I won’t lie, I haven’t given a passing thought to desiccated coconut.” At least campaigners for  leaving the EU were honest. Before the referendum, supporters of the Leave campaign like Davis always explained that…