Slightly delayed roundup

Well, it’s Saturday, which means that the promised “weekly” roundup is already a day late, in only its second week. Apologies to both my readers.

Forgive me for the repetition, but leading the list of things I’ve been reading this week is Sue Marsh, again. It’s her fault – she’s simply too good at this blogging lark. Anyway, this week I’m recommending her piece “Labour need time to develop policies – but principles never change,” published at Labour List. Reclaiming those founding principles of the Labour Party will be key to winning the next election, and Sue does a marvellous job of laying out the case for that.

Another piece worth reading is Stuart Wilks-Heeg, of Democratic Audit, who writes for Left Foot Forward about “The problem with the constituency redrawing and AV bill and how to solve it.” The article catalogues the many flaws within the Bill, which have not been addressed by a government bent on forcing it through Parliament with minimal scrutiny. It also suggests ways forward for ensuring the AV referendum can go ahead as planned – including, in line with my own opinion, that the referendum part of the bill should be separated from that dealing with boundary changes.

I don’t quite know why, but I’ve been reading a lot about Andrew Wakefield and his MMR-autism scam recently. The Guardian‘s science blog has picked up on it too, with a post by Brian Deer, one of the journalists who first exposed the extent of Wakefield’s fraud, on how “The medical establishment shielded Andrew Wakefield from fraud claims.”

Nominally extinct in the UK, a white-tailed eagle has been spotted in Hampshire in the last week or so, causing quite a stir amongst amateur ornithologists. Darren Naish at Tetrapod Zoology has a good account of the history of this bird, recent reintroduction efforts and his own (unsuccessful) attempts to spot this individual.

Finally, a group of indie filmmakers are looking for funding for their film Standing Up to the Experts, about the Texas State Board of Education’s attempts to have school textbooks rewritten to include a peculiar brand of conservative and religious dogma, including the teaching of imagined “problems” with the theory of evolution in science classes and a revisionist historical curriculum that paints the United States as a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, and destined to lead the world. You can watch a trailer, read more about the film and – if you wish – make a donation on the film’s Kickstarter page.

That’s about it for this week’s roundup. Hopefully, the next one will be published on Friday.


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