It's a chant that children use to intimidate each other into keeping secrets: snitches get stitches. If you reveal the truth to any authorities, you must face the consequences. But children aren't known for suspiciously falling out of windows (even in Game of Thrones). The scale of secrets doesn't quite compare to international relations interference. The news that Mike Flynn was available to be interviewed by the authorities about his connections to Russia prior to Trump's election reached the UK over night. Flynn offers this with the caveat of requesting immunity against unfair prosecution, according to a statement by his lawyer.
I went to my share of Sunday school as a child. That it was conducted in another language probably doesn't change the parables that were employed to teach us lessons about ourselves. And in today's world, there is that one Christian parable that sticks out to me in particular, when I read the following in my news digest: "UKIP are doubling down on the idea that even though Masood was British-born, this was all about immigration. Nigel Farage went on Fox News to say it showed by Trump’s travel ban was right. Paul Nuttall said the ‘cancer’ had to be cut out. Polish PM Beata Szydlo said it justified her refusal to take Syrian refugees." (Matt Chorley, The Times Red Box) Butchering it horribly, it was something about picking a splinter out of your neighbour's eye, when you've got a mother-loading branch in your own.
This morning, as I walked to my office for work, police had cordoned access off, and were asking pedestrians where they were headed. Anywhere beyond the McDonalds was diverted. I instead was allowed under the ribbon to walk to the entrance of the building where I work.
The same day that I read the New Yorker article that spun off into my post about the hedonistic treadmill of life causing political havoc, I also read this Staggers book review by Andrew Marr, that may explain Theresa May's political philosophy: anywheres v somewheres. The particular section that caught my interest was the following: [...] Nowhere is [the book] more provocative than in Goodhart’s assessment of the huge postwar expansion in British higher education. He rightly points out that our somewhat unusual tradition of “boarding universities” separates young people from their parents and communities in ever greater numbers. Universities become the prime seeding ground for liberal/Anywhere identities: indeed, according to a recent survey, only 11 per cent of academics voted Tory in the last general election, and 90 per cent voted to remain in the EU.
I read about Alexis de Tocqueville most memorably in my Democratic Theory module in second year. Memorable in the sense that, besides the interest I had in Athenian democracy, I only remember reading de Tocqueville's observations about American democracy in tandem with Putnam's Bowling Alone. I'm sure John Stuart Mills found his way into my reading as well, as would be expected in a study of the history of democracy, but I promise I do not remember this.
The city of Wolfsburg is not too far away from where I grew up. After getting my driving license I'd driven there for day-trips on the weekend with friends - there's a science museum I enjoyed going to in my school days as it had interactive exhibits. It's a bit of a factory-city, in the same way that some places were coal-towns in the Golden Days of the mining industry. Visiting it made for a great change of pace, like coming up for air when going on a dive.
It's not always easy coming up with ideas to write about. I mentioned it previously, but it can be quite overwhelming to follow the news, and single a particular theme out for further research. And to what purpose? I'm still not quite sure. Partially I know nobody reads this, but at the same time I want to provide resources for anyone who wants to delve further like me. I think I do an alright job about grouping articles that go together well, and linking or summarising them as appropriate. On the other hands blogs are opportunities to give an opinion. I sprinkle my political convictions in here and there. Little do I know that potentially I am giving this information away freely without knowing through Facebook, apparently.
Yesterday I read through this paper. It talks about the process of elections from the management perspective, in an effort to improve participation in the process, with split results. When electoral processes are called into question, it usually (and more often than not, baselessly) is associated with voter fraud, but the way an election is held – from planning to execution – can also increase or diminish returns. The conclusions drawn are interesting, and it would be good to see more research in this direction, if governing bodies are truly interested in reform.
(Photo credit goes to Keith Bacongco)
Would elections be better run if they were organised centrally by the state? Or should local electoral officials be given more discretion to accommodate local preferences?
This debate has ran most prominently for decades in the US. But there has been little academic research on the topic. I’m therefore pleased to see my article on this in volume 38, issue 1 of Policy Studies.
If you have access, the article is here. If not, feel free to email me and ask for a copy and I’ll happily send it over.
Here’s the abstract:
‘The public administration of elections frequently fails. Variation in the performance of electoral management bodies around the world has been demonstrated, illustrated by delays in the count, inaccurate or incomplete voter registers, or severe queues at polling stations. Centralising the management of the electoral process has often been proposed as a solution. There has been…
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It's hard to find women in politics. Apparently this is mainly down to perception of women candidates, and how are treated, and not the reality of how they are treated, but this area of study is not long in existence so results are bound to develop. But the ones that make it to the top do stick out. Angela Merkel, who dashed my childhood ambitions of becoming the first female Chancellor in Germany. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the world's first female Prime Minister from Sri Lanka, where the other side of my family was from. Theresa May, prickly and unpersonable, as well as thoroughly compared to her only female predecessor, Margaret Thatcher. There is one woman in particular who could soon join their ranks. The curiousity really is about the coalition of voters that support Marine Le Pen.