Linkblogging: So it comes to this

OK, so my new year’s resolution to blog more hasn’t got off to the most auspicious start, but then I do have the excuse of a theatrical production I had to take down to that London. Nonetheless, I need to get myself back into the habit. I could be writing something terribly exciting about, for instance, the interesting sudden consensus on taxing banks (to the extent that suddenly even the Tories are accepting the inevitable, presumably in an effort to stake out their least-worst-option). But instead, I thought I’d just do a bit of linkblogging, since I have actually seen several Interesting Things online in the last day or two. So, here goes:

Cicero has been mingling with the foreign policy elites:

Britain is not respected. It is not liked. It is becoming regarded as an embarassment- a mad relative who one has to see at Christmas, but would choose to avoid at all other times. A Miss Havisham cloaked for a wedding with an American groom who will never come.

Naomi Klein has writted some interesting stuff about Brand Obama:

In recent years, however, I have found myself doing something I swore I had finished with: rereading the branding gurus quoted in [No Logo]. This time, however, it wasn’t to try to understand what was happening at the mall but rather at the White House – first under the presidency of George W Bush and now under Barack Obama, the first US president who is also a ­superbrand.

Yoav Shamir has made A Controversial Documentary, “Defamation”, about anti-semitism and that. It’s a bit one-sided, no doubt, but worth a look, I thought. I found the footage following an Israeli school trip to Auschwitz especially effective. You can catch it on 4OD for another 25 days, at the time of posting this.

Merryn Somerset Webb wonders how much further China’s economic growth can continue:

China’s response [to the credit crunch] has been to try to keep its famous growth rate going (and head off social unrest and so on in the process) by replacing export demand with state-sponsored demand – $586bn worth of it in direct spending and many billions more in unfettered bank lending.

The result? Its very own credit bubble. Today, far from being the miracle economy of the popular imagination, China looks to be caught in a nasty trap of artificial and unsustainable growth driven by rapid credit growth and bubble psychology (everyone thinks the authorities can and will stop asset prices falling).

In the first five working days of January alone, China’s commercial banks are said to have lent out the equivalent of more than $50bn. Not good.

Merryn also points us towards this bizarre video on Youtube (skip to about 1:15).

Next up: If you ever questioned the idea that UKIP is just another xenophobic right-wing party, think again.

The BPS research digest blog brings news that the warnings on cigarette packets might encourage some people to smoke more:

Every now and again a finding comes along that provides perfect ammunition for psychologists confronted by the tiresome claim that psychology is all ‘common sense’. Researchers have found that death-related health warnings on cigarette packs are likely to encourage some people to smoke.

Anyway, must go and cook some dinner now.

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