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Weekend read: The best Europe we’ve ever had

My recommended read for this is weekend is a column by Robert Cooper of the New Statesman, in which he puts forward a too-rarely-heard positive view of the European Union.

land area in Europe the night

The debate on the EU, as with so much in UK politics, is too often boiled down to a meaningless series of (usually factually inaccurate) soundbites: binning straight bananas, banning the imperial measurement system, and demolishing firemen’s poles. Doubtless, the EU does some crazy stuff – look at the right to be forgotten debate, for example – but rational discussion is all to hard to come by. All of which is to say: click and read.

This 2,282nd post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .

Weekend read: Let’s ditch the word ‘cancer’

Weekend Read

Adrian Marston is a former President of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain who has suffered from cancer twice – though the two experiences were really very different.

The gulf between the disease (and hence the experience of suffering from) these two very different maladies, both given the title “cancer”, has lead him to write an insightful article in the New Statesman in which he argues that the term “cancer” should no longer be used. He makes a strong argument, and I’d very much like it to catch on. Unfortunately, I fear the reality of the billion pound “cancer industry” will count for more than the potential to avoid distress in patients.

I hope I’m wrong.

This 2,134th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .

Weekend read: I oppose tax breaks for marriage

Wedding ring

Regular readers will know that I love a contrarian column, and Laurie Penny’s piece for the New Statesman is a corker of an example. In it, she argues that marriage is an archaic minority interest, and asks

Why should I subsidise other people’s weird lifestyle choices?

I suspect that Penny’s intention may have been to generate heat at least as much as light, but it’s an interesting (and somewhat convincing) argument nevertheless. It’s well worth reading this weekend.

Photo posted on Flickr by Lee J Haywood and used here under Creative Commons sharealike licence.

This 2,109th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .

2D: Religion & stuff

I think this is probably the most tenuously linked pair of articles I’ve chosen for my 2D posts to date, but both are great reads nonetheless… The link I’m claiming is that both discuss religion in somewhat unexpected places.

The first is Ian Leslie’s recent piece for New Statesman, in which he makes a somewhat convincing argument that everyone should wear a veil when appearing in court. It’s a great example of subverting expectations on a subject and revealing fresh insights in the process.

The second was written by one of my public health colleagues in the North East, Avril Rhodes, for the Fuse Open Science Blog. It describes the curious similarities between community outreach events run by the church, and those run by academics. This is a great example of an article that made me view things from a slightly different angle, and perhaps consider them a little differently.

So… the connection between the two might be stretched to breaking point, but they are both worth a read, and both tickled my brain!

2D posts appear on alternate Wednesdays. For 2D, I pick two interesting articles that look at an issue from two different – though not necessarily opposing – perspectives. I hope you enjoy them!

This 2,074th post was filed under: 2D, , , , .


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