Enjoy your retirement, Meryvn King – just don’t call it a ‘grey gap year’

The Bank of England boss is about to step down, and has said he’s going to give himself a gap year. He probably deserves a break – but lose the backpacker lingo, eh Merv? Mervyn King is retiring as governor of the Bank of England. I’m sure we’ll all get over it. It’s not like […]
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After Woolwich, don’t ban hate speech, counter it. Hate it, too | Timothy Garton Ash

Facing Islamist violence, the British home secretary, like her counterparts in Europe, wrongly reaches for censorshipIn response to the vile murder of a British soldier by two Islamist extremists armed with meat cleavers, the home secretary, Theresa May, has suggested a broadcasting ban on people who hold “disgusting views” and the pre-censorship of online hate […]
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The NHS: don’t pick on GPs, Mr Hunt. Develop a vision | Observer editorial

Jeremy Hunt should have engaged politically with the problemsAneurin Bevan, the architect of the National Health Service, would have been alarmed at the escalating blame game played out between the secretary of state for health and general practitioners last week. Bevan was no stranger to doing battle with family doctors, then and now one of […]
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Sir Mervyn King: don’t demonise bankers

Outgoing Bank of England governor blames regulatory failure for banking crisis and not individualsThe outgoing governor of the Bank of England has called on the British people not to “demonise” bankers for the financial crisis.Sir Mervyn King said on Sunday that the failings of the financial and regulatory system were the root cause of the […]
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Given how bankers appear to treat each other, should we be surprised they don’t care for the rest of us? | Joris Luyendijk

Karin Peeters, who works with bankers, has offered some shocking testimony on bankers. What would you like to ask this coach/therapist? She’ll be online to respondWhat if it isn’t coke-snorting hedonism or psychopathic sadism but rather deep emotional insecurity that drives many investment bankers? A recent interviewee claimed as much when she said “a lot […]
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David Simon: ‘I don’t want anybody in jail for using drugs’

The creator of TV’s The Wire will take part in an Observer debate on the war on drugs later this monthHow did you get involved in The House I Live In [Eugene Jarecki’s prize-winning documentary on US drugs policy]?He just called and asked if I’d talk about the drug war. At that time I didn’t […]
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When prisoners mean profit, the numbers don’t go down | Zoe Williams

Cracking down on Sky TV for inmates is easy. Solving the paradox of a privatised prison service is going to be a lot harderIf prisons are repositories for no-good people, political rhetoric about prisons is a repository for no-good ideas. The opposition uses them in a predictable way, sounding the incompetence klaxon when there’s a […]
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The real message on America’s Tax Day: don’t bother saving | Heather Long

We wonder why the US is so in debt, yet we incentivize families to spend, spend, spendWhy can’t the government manage its budget like most households do? You hear some variation of that theme a lot lately – from both sides of the aisle.The implication is that American households are good at family finances. When […]
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The rules | Rafael Behr

The essential etiquette guide to modern lifeDelinquent behaviourTeenage behaviour is publicly acceptable in anyone apart from teenagers. This is the principle that undid Paris Brown, the 17-year-old police youth crime commissioner who resigned last week over offensive messages sent on Twitter. Her mistake was to be found out before reaching an age where she might […]
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HBOS: don’t forget the regulators

In the spirit of looking beyond the bankers, consider the senior regulators at the time: the banking commission’s verdict on the FSA’s supervision of HBOS was damningHow far should the fallout from the parliamentary commission’s devastating report on the failure of HBOS extend? Short answer: a lot further yet, whatever is argued in some quarters […]
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