This morning, all the newspaper alerts I have set up for work and personal interest had only one story: The Home Office Post-Brexit Immigration Leak. The documents are hosted by The Guardian, who received the leak of the Home Office's plans for post-Brexit immigration/foreigner working status.
Six months ago I wrote my first blog: Is soft power still a tool in today's world? It was inspired by the work that began at ResPublica, which culminated in the report published last week - Britain's Global Future: Harnessing the soft power capital of UK institutions.
This morning I read the CapX article by Deputy Editor Oliver Wiseman, which referenced the Chatham House report This and that. It measured attitudes of both regular citizens and the described "elites" of member countries of the European Union. After finishing I find it interesting to come out of the article with a different interpretation to the author (read for yourself as I wish not to bias you one way or another). But as part of that I also find myself questioning who I am. Am I an "elite"?
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.
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.
In this new, potential one-off, blog post, tentatively categorised under The Westminster Puddle (am I really bursting a bubble here?), I am going to summarise the seminar by the Resolution Foundation I went to this morning. This is something I do for work anyway, as research for my role, and this way you know as much as I know. The Resolution Foundation's seminar was planned around their latest publication A tough gig? The nature of self-employment in 21st Century Britain and policy implications.
2016 was the year of the word post-truth, Oxford Dictionaries decided (I believe, based on a meticulous process of the highest term looked up for the year). It reflected on a year in which politicians from many different countries decided to ever more play to emotion of people. That's not a bad idea: base instincts are base instincts for a reason, they lead us to survival.
Soft and hard power, while millenia-old means deployed to achieve an end, were only distinguished comparatively recently; military force largely associated with the latter, diplomacy with the former. I suppose this is a development which reflected on the decreasing popularity of military interventionism that formerly governed interactions between countries. World-building depended on conquering areas and declaring them yours, but this fell out of fashion eventually. The last new country to emerge on Earth was South Sudan, a fragile, still war-fraught nation founded in 2011.