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The best of the rest: the economy, books and culture

Yesterday, we gave you our top picks from our year’s coverage of Labour politics. Today, we’ve put the spotlight on the issues we’ve discussed that aren’t so closely related to party democracy and the like – and there’s quite a range.

In May, Britain was graced with the appearance of the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who demolished the myths of austerity on an intensive media tour. The significance of his commentary was picked up by our commentator Michael Burke in September.

Our founder, Michael Meacher, has offered top commentary on the economy throughout the year. A scan – yes, a scan! – of the print version of his Guardian letter on the “scourge of our wealth divide” was popping up all over Facebook for weeks, and was retweeted over 8,000 times. He has writtenscores of articles on the economic situation over 2012 – this one on the European context keeps getting hits.

Michael is now campaigning against the atrocities of Atos healthcare, which has fatally classified disabled people as fit for work – you can read his many articles for Left Futures on the subject here. With a debate on Atos likely next month, if you know of any horror stories from experience, you can contact Michael here.

Some of 2012’s most insightful articles have come from one of our newest regular contributors, Lucy Reese. Here, she calls time on hazy intellectual labels and says it’s time to get back to clear policies and principles. Earlier this month, she appeared on Newsnight and gave a sterling defence of state education in her capacity as a parent governor at her children’s primary school. She also wrote recently on the demonisation of the poor – picking up on issues raised in February by James Bloodworth on the site.

We’ve reviewed books on subjects from trade unions to schools and modern art – via the ageing Chilean revolutionaries of a novel Frances Docx found to feature a “dark, idiosyncratic humour”. And of course, our books summary would be incomplete Peter Willsman’s original insight – into shenanigans within Labour and without.

Finally, we can’t ignore the spectacle of the Olympic games. Here’s a selection of our coverage, the finest of which came from Mark Perryman, author of the acclaimed Why The Olympics Aren’t Good for Us, and How They Can Be, and founder of sport and politics T-shirt specialists Philosophy FootballClaire Wadey got a lot of hits for her piece on the worrying “far right propaganda” aired by the BBC during the games, as did Carl Packman for this piece of blunt criticism. Meanwhile, Conrad Landin was impressed by Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony and its recognition of Britain’s radical history, the worth of which was outlined earlier in the year by Dominic Curran.

That’s that – and 2013 is almost here. We would stick to Eddi Reader’s Auld Lang Syne, but the past year gave its name to one of the greatest comedic inventions of the recent past: Twenty Twelve, which parodied the Olympics planners in mockumentary style. So we’ll leave you with PR guru Siobhan Sharp and her plan to draft rapper Mini Steppah into the “Get It On” sexual health campaign.

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