What I’ve been reading
“The Strange Death of Liberal England” (George Dangerfield). A classic I’ve meant to read for years, but only just got to has a strikingly apposite quote in relation to the Tory party’s incitement to army mutiny in relation to any order to enforce Irish Home Rule on the Ulster Unionists. Dangerfield has this great line
The Tory philosophy, up to the beginning of the war, might be summed up in this way: Be Conservative about good things, and Radical about bad things. This philosophy, so far as can be seen, has only one flaw: it was always the Tories who decided what was good and what was bad.
So while donning the mantle of conservatism in defence of the House of Lords, the Tories were prepared to tear up the constitution to defeat Home Rule. The same line seems applicable to the Bush Administration today.
“In Defense of Globalization” (Jagdish Bhagwati) Bhagwati is a smart guy, but he hasn’t yet learned that, on the internets nothing is as it seems. On the lookout for a good anecdote about globalization he finds one that seems too good to be true
In fact, while the rich-country while the rich-country claim to be providing “countervailing power” against the far richer corporationsin their midst, it is ironic that some of the the truly small NGOs in the rich countries themselves have voiced their fears over “unequal” competition from the far bigger and richer NGOs. A hilarious example is provided by a report in mid-2001 of “calls today for multinational pro-anarchy pressure groups to be investigated for monopolistic practices after the NW3 branch of the Radical Left Movement for Socialist Revolution Socialist Revolution was disbanded due to lack of interest.” The report goes on to say that the group’s spokesperson, Nigel Wilkinson, “believes that global anarchy movements such as the ones responsible for the G7 riots in Seattle are to blame for forcing out smaller, independent operations like his…. These large American anti-capitalist movements have effectively taken over the militant scene in this country.” As if this were not amusing enough, the report goes on to say: …”Wilkinson has seen his group’s membership dwindle by almost 70 percent over the last two years, from a peak of three members to one himself
Turning to the reference we find the source is Urban Reflex currently running the headline
Audience Stunned As Pop Star Appears On Stage Fully Clothed
Bhagwati may have been taken in on this one, but in other respects his book is sharp and well-argued. Some more comments before too long, I hope.
As well as these, I very much enjoyed“Singularity Sky” (Charles Stross), and I’ve been alternatively entertained and appalled by the TV version of <“Tom Brown’s Schooldays (Oxford World’s Classics)” (Thomas Hughes, Andrew Sanders) Actually that combination also sums up my response to last nights Swans-Lions game.