Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, including Paul Krugman on how the US is paying down its debt.

1. Debt And Transfiguration

The US is doing better at deleveraging than countries that talk much more about the evils of debt, notes Paul Krugman.

2. Cabinet fight over trade unions and lobbying

Trade unions could be listed on a new register of lobbyists, because of the influence they have over the Labour Party, reports the Independent's Jane Merrick.

3. Jon Cruddas wades in on responsible capitalism debate

The Guardian's Patrick Wintour reports that Cruddas has called for all shareholders to be forced to disclose their voting practice.

4. What's the most effective way of ensuring fair wages for low earners?

Liberal Democrat Voice's Prateek Buch looks at how the government could boost the wages of the working poor.

5. Tax morale and self-fulfilling beliefs

Stumbling and Mumbling's Chris Dillow writes that years of neoliberal ideology have increased people's willingness to dodge taxes.

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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.