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Genuine Hibs Fan

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Hi folks, reading through some of the threads in here there's a lot of folk who seem to be very well read (queue chortles from the rest of the forum) and I'm struck that I'm decently well-read on history and political history, but I don't know where to start with modern politics beyond the papers which obviously can be problematic.

So I thought I'd create a thread for folk to share the books, blogs, news sites etc which they have found particularly informative in how they shape their political beliefs, as this could be more insightful for others rather than sharing specific articles in the heat of an argument. Fill your boots

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Subscribe to the London Review of Books and if you're wanting to read a paper that's relatively informed and non-partisan - the Financial Times. 

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Read the Guardian and listen to James O'Brien on LBC.

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11 minutes ago, ICTJohnboy said:

Read the Guardian and listen to James O'Brien on LBC.

Aye see that's my go to at the moment, the guardian's reportage is pretty good to be fair but there's a bit of a smug centrist consensus to a lot of their columnists and opinion

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The New Statesman takes a bit of a slagging, and sometimes deservedly so, but Stephen Bush is usually excellent - well-informed and even-handed. I also listen fairly often to his podcast, which I used to avoid because it almost always featured the insufferable Helen Lewis, but she has since moved on and it is now very listenable. 

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38 minutes ago, fatshaft said:

I really don't want to turn this thread into an argument but I've not read wings or the canary for years as, in my view, they went off the deep end a long time ago. To open wings to see the top headline "Our enemies among us" is a pretty clear indicator that was a sensible decision 

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1 hour ago, Genuine Hibs Fan said:

Aye see that's my go to at the moment, the guardian's reportage is pretty good to be fair but there's a bit of a smug centrist consensus to a lot of their columnists and opinion

The Guardian's foreign coverage is a horror show.

The Intercept is always an interesting read. LRB is excellent apart from the Remain hysteria, Ian McEawn published one of the most ridiculous articles I've ever read there.

 

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Just now, Detournement said:

The Guardian's foreign coverage is a horror show.

The Intercept is always an interesting read. LRB is excellent apart from the Remain hysteria, Ian McEawn published one of the most ridiculous articles I've ever read there.

 

Aye agreed about the guardian's foreign coverage, they seem to rely a lot on agencies. I remember being flabbergasted around the Catalonia kerfuffle, as it was barely recognisable from what I saw and the people I spoke to

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I come from a Left persuasion and I suppose you need to firstly understand where you sit on things politically before knowing what to read.

If Left reading is something of an interest then I would say The Guardian & Morning Star are good reads, in both you will read plenty that the main stream media don’t report. I buy both ever day and the are expensive but I like to support them and I tend to read them all over the week. From a more Scottish political perspective I occasionally buy The National on a Sunday to keep my finger on what is happening in Hollyrood. I’m not a huge fan of the paper but their articles can be interesting.

As for books, I can highly recommended Richie Venton’s Break The Chains, it’s about 6 years old but is still relevant.

Weekly wise, The Socialist Worker is good for my union role but again is very English dominated and Private Eye is also good for a giggle and a bit of Tory bashing.

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First thing I'd say is that the world is much too big and much too complicated to understand more than a small fraction of it. People who have a solid opinion on everything generally start with a belief - left, right, liberal, authoritarian, whatever - and then interpret reality to fit. It's a stupid way of doing things but it's how the vast majority of political coverage is done. In my opinion the most important thing is to know how we got here rather than get caught up in the rammy of the day. That means knowing the history and the structures - electoral, financial, property, media, planning etc. Sounds like you've already being doing that.

I used to think I was into politics and I thought I would like to work in it. I came to realise that it's government that I love, and I really hate politics. I can't be doing with the tribalism, the short-termism, the dogma. I'm interested in how we bring up kids, how we become sustainable, how we create the systems that let people live the lives they want. Some of that has been stuff I didn't want to hear but reality doesn't care about opinions. 

On newspapers, as NotThePars said above, the Financial Times. It's literally the only national newspaper in Britain (UK or Scotland) worthy of being described as a newspaper. I've got a theory that the proper money guys don't want to have the prejudices pandered to, they want to know what's going on so they can decide whereto put their money. The only downside is that it's a bit thin on news and it will only tell you about the world as it is now, rather than consider what might be better. Its journalists are worth following on Twitter too. It did an outstanding job during indyref. Irish newspapers are the best in the English-speaking world and I read a lot of them online.

Of the rest, The Guardian has the greatest commitment to accuracy but the stories it chooses to cover are very skewed to the left. Its coverage of stuff like farming and the food supply chain is laughably bad. Its columnists are also piss-boilingly metropolitan, under-informed and conceited.

Coverage of political and social issues in Scotland is really poor, and economic issues ever worse. There is a tiny number of journalists doing it well - Dani Garavelli, mostly in the Scotsman or the Sundays and Philip Sim for the BBC. Holyrood magazine regularly does deep-dives into areas of social policy and is generally very good. The reporting on Scottish economics is very middle class, it's stuff you'd expect to hear in a snooty golf clubhouse. If that view of economics was correct then Finland wouldn't exist.

I'm old enough to remember the pre-internet era and the time when journalism was good - for example, The Herald was a must-read every day through the 90s but it's utter dogshit now. The big opportunity in the internet provides is you can read primary sources. It takes much more time but I'd rather understand something about a few issues than effectively nothing about everything.

 

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5 hours ago, Genuine Hibs Fan said:

Hi folks, reading through some of the threads in here there's a lot of folk who seem to be very well read (queue chortles from the rest of the forum) and I'm struck that I'm decently well-read on history and political history, but I don't know where to start with modern politics beyond the papers which obviously can be problematic.

So I thought I'd create a thread for folk to share the books, blogs, news sites etc which they have found particularly informative in how they shape their political beliefs, as this could be more insightful for others rather than sharing specific articles in the heat of an argument. Fill your boots

Personally, I form my political thoughts myself rather than being overly influenced by the opinions of others. I don't follow anyone or read opinion pieces of any type really. I get my news from sources as neutral as possible and make my own mind up on an issue by issue basis. For others opinions, I come to places like this occasionally although it's mind-numbing to sift through the endless groupthink to find a decent post.

It means I can change my opinions on things if I am persuaded otherwise (and regularly do) but it prevents me from indulging in echo chambers or cognitive bias.

You see endless examples of both echo chambers and cognitive bias everywhere online. I have no intention of being a sheep, my political views are a hybrid and I'm not an extremist.

The other advantage of forming your own views in private is that nobody can pigeon-hole you. For example, there's no conflict in disliking the way Universal Credit is run on the ground but supporting the Tories regarding furlough payments and efforts to help disabled people into work if they want it.

People tend to read things which support their views and dismiss the rest. I think this is intellectually dishonest and cowardice from the perspective of being afraid to have their views challenged by others.

Hard core left wingers should be exposing themselves to right wing points of view unless they fancy being out of power forever.

Hard core right wingers should be exposing themselves to left wing points of view unless they want those at the bottom to suffer needlessly through ignorance of heir plight by those at the top.

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1 hour ago, GordonS said:

On newspapers, as NotThePars said above, the Financial Times. It's literally the only national newspaper in Britain (UK or Scotland) worthy of being described as a newspaper. I've got a theory that the proper money guys don't want to have the prejudices pandered to, they want to know what's going on so they can decide whereto put their money. The only downside is that it's a bit thin on news and it will only tell you about the world as it is now, rather than consider what might be better. Its journalists are worth following on Twitter too. It did an outstanding job during indyref. Irish newspapers are the best in the English-speaking world and I read a lot of them online

 

I always see it lumped in with The Economist but it's far better, more dispassionate, and also less reactive.

I can't stand the majority of the Guardian's columnists and its news coverage has went downhill but it's capable of publishing some tremendous pieces from some usually independent commentators. The thing I'd recommend @Genuine Hibs Fan do these days is finding specific commentators, either on Twitter or in the press, and follow them rather than specific papers. Adam Tooze is a freebie and I'm recommending them before @yoda reads the thread.

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Newspapers:

  1. Financial Times - as said the most analytical and detached of the broadsheets. If anyone can't afford the paywall for it (or anything else for that matter) drop me a PM.
  2. Reuters - quite similar, maybe suffers from being a mile wide and an inch deep in its coverage.
  3. The Guardian - certain writers worth a follow in there.
  4. Really struggle to recommend anything Scottish these days. Your local paper and I guess at a push the Daily Record.

Blogs:

  1. Land Matters, Andy Wightman's blog. A bit quiet of late due to his defamation case but I hope it picks up again: http://www.andywightman.com/
  2. Parkswatchscotland: similar issue covered, look past the 2001 myspace page layout, it goes into quite forensic detail about what landowning twats are getting away with: http://parkswatchscotland.co.uk/
  3. Raptor Persecution UK (previously Scotland): regularly exposes blatant criminality in Scotlands scenic places and the bumbling incompetence/disinterest of the Police and regulatory authorities: https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/
  4. BIG by Matt Stoller. It's focused on America but the things it covers are relevant to us all. https://mattstoller.substack.com/

Misc:

  1. The Ferret. Wield an FOI like a katana and is a much needed thorn in the side of the government. https://theferret.scot/
  2. OpenDemocracy. Write very long articles about how we're all irredeemably fucked. I don't think many people have the fortitude to read them all but it's nice someone is documenting it all. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/
  3. A Thousand Flowers. Scottish politics through an LGBT prism. Their weekly w****r feature is indispensible reading. https://athousandflowers.net/
  4. A general recommendation on twitter that the most perceptive analysis of what is going on won't come from a blue tick journalist, it'll come from people with usernames like Hadley Freeman-on-the-land, Chairman Lmao, ACAB Rees Mogg, Tuskan Fridge Raider, Hans Mollman & so on. They shall inherit the earth one of these days.

 

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1 hour ago, oaksoft said:

You see endless examples of both echo chambers and cognitive bias everywhere online. I have no intention of being a sheep, my political views are a hybrid and I'm not an extremist.

The other advantage of forming your own views in private is that nobody can pigeon-hole you. For example, there's no conflict in disliking the way Universal Credit is run on the ground but supporting the Tories regarding furlough payments and efforts to help disabled people into work if they want it.

What a *great* example of your point 🤦‍♂️

 

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36 minutes ago, MixuFixit said:

A general recommendation on twitter that the most perceptive analysis of what is going on won't come from a blue tick journalist, it'll come from people with usernames like Hadley Freeman-on-the-land, Chairman Lmao, ACAB Rees Mogg, Tuskan Fridge Raider, Hans Mollman & so on. They shall inherit the earth one of these days.

 

wariotifo's ability to go over a decade without being doxxed is impressive. We were at uni at the same time and I still have no clue who they are.

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I always see it lumped in with The Economist but it's far better, more dispassionate, and also less reactive.
I can't stand the majority of the Guardian's columnists and its news coverage has went downhill but it's capable of publishing some tremendous pieces from some usually independent commentators. The thing I'd recommend [mention=76392]Genuine Hibs Fan[/mention] do these days is finding specific commentators, either on Twitter or in the press, and follow them rather than specific papers. Adam Tooze is a freebie and I'm recommending them before [mention=7081]yoda[/mention] reads the thread.
Adam Tooze had a brilliant article in last Saturday's Review section of The Guardian.

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35 minutes ago, O'Kelly Isley III said:
2 hours ago, NotThePars said:
I always see it lumped in with The Economist but it's far better, more dispassionate, and also less reactive.
I can't stand the majority of the Guardian's columnists and its news coverage has went downhill but it's capable of publishing some tremendous pieces from some usually independent commentators. The thing I'd recommend [mention=76392]Genuine Hibs Fan[/mention] do these days is finding specific commentators, either on Twitter or in the press, and follow them rather than specific papers. Adam Tooze is a freebie and I'm recommending them before [mention=7081]yoda[/mention] reads the thread.

Adam Tooze had a brilliant article in last Saturday's Review section of The Guardian.

I think Yoda shared it on here? I bought Crashed, his book on the financial crash of '08, and it's a mammoth book but remarkably in-depth and well-researched as a result. I've read his book, The Deluge, on how WW1 primed the ground for America's conscious emergence as the dominant power of the world and just got sent his other history book, Wages of Destruction, about the economic logic behind Nazi Germany invading the Soviet Union and both are highly-rated. Would recommend.

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