Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read posts from today, on MPs' lobbying links, social networking and US health care.

1. Why holding the Iraq inquiry is not a political mistake

Next Left's Sunder Katwala challenges the conventional wisdom that the Iraq inquiry has backfired on Gordon Brown.

2. Voodoo corner

UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells warns of the rise of "voodoo polls" -- open-access polls that do not make any attempt to gather a representative sample. Today's Mumsnet poll on voting intentions is a typical offender, he says.

3. MPs' lobbying links to be revealed

The Times's Sam Coates says it's worth keeping an eye on a list revealing the identities of the lobbyists for whom MPs have hired rooms.

4. Social media's impact on politics, part one: the groups that face extinction

Mark Pack at Liberal Democrat Voice discusses the "real impact" of social networking sites on politics.

5. Did Obama move health care forward?

The New York Times's Room for Debate blog has a rolling discussion of the health-care overhaul -- where will it go from here, if anywhere? Harold Pollack, Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein have contributed so far.

 

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An alternative Trainspotting script for John Humphrys’ Radio 4 “Choose Life” tribute

Born chippy.

Your mole often has Radio 4’s Today programme babbling away comfortingly in the background while emerging blinking from the burrow. So imagine its horror this morning, when the BBC decided to sully this listening experience with John Humphrys doing the “Choose Life” monologue from Trainspotting.

“I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got Radio 4?” he concluded, as a nation cringed.

Introduced as someone who has “taken issue with modernity”, Humphrys launched into the film character Renton’s iconic rant against the banality of modern life.

But Humphrys’ role as in-studio curmudgeon is neither endearing nor amusing to this mole. Often tasked with stories about modern technology and digital culture by supposedly mischievous editors, Humphrys sounds increasingly cranky and ill-informed. It doesn’t exactly make for enlightening interviews. So your mole has tampered with the script. Here’s what he should have said:

“Choose life. Choose a job and then never retire, ever. Choose a career defined by growling and scoffing. Choose crashing the pips three mornings out of five. Choose a fucking long contract. Choose interrupting your co-hosts, politicians, religious leaders and children. Choose sitting across the desk from Justin Webb at 7.20 wondering what you’re doing with your life. Choose confusion about why Thought for the Day is still a thing. Choose hogging political interviews. Choose anxiety about whether Jim Naughtie’s departure means there’s dwindling demand for grouchy old men on flagship political radio shows. Choose a staunch commitment to misunderstanding stories about video games and emoji. Choose doing those stories anyway. Choose turning on the radio and wondering why the fuck you aren’t on on a Sunday morning as well. Choose sitting on that black leather chair hosting mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows (Mastermind). Choose going over time at the end of it all, pishing your last few seconds on needlessly combative questions, nothing more than an obstacle to that day’s editors being credited. Choose your future. Choose life . . .”

I'm a mole, innit.