Referendums

The problem with, and the virtue of, referendums is that, in the absence of armed guards at the ballot box, you can never be sure of the result. The curious politics of the European Union are such that referendums are of particular importance. The big news at present relates to the twin referendums just held in Cyprus, on the UN plan for reunification, and the commitment by Tony Blair to hold a referendum on the EU ‘constitution’.
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Fakes and fakirs

My recent posts on the Republican/rightwing campaign against science have led to reminders that this kind of thing isn’t confined to the political right – I mentioned this in a footnote, but the subsequent correspondence has raised some examples I can’t resist, as has a mildly spooky coincidence.
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Monday Message Board

Another Monday, another Message Board. Post your thoughts on any topic (civilised discussion and no coarse language). I’ll be travelling a bit this week, as noted above, so this is a good chance for readers to talk among themselves.

What I’m reading

As a 19th century bishop is supposed to have said, there’s no better way to spend Sunday afternoon than curled up in bed with a good Trollope. I’ve just been given a beautiful Folio edition of the Barchester novels and am rereading them, beginning with The Warden which, despite some obvious defects, is probably my favourite.

What I'm reading

As a 19th century bishop is supposed to have said, there’s no better way to spend Sunday afternoon than curled up in bed with a good Trollope. I’ve just been given a beautiful Folio edition of the Barchester novels and am rereading them, beginning with The Warden which, despite some obvious defects, is probably my favourite.

The Interregnum

I’m looking ahead to the June 30 “handover” of power in Iraq with increasing trepidation. As this NYT story indicates, the handover is shaping up to be a complete sham (more on this from Nathan Brown, guest commentator for Juan Cole). Anybody silly or corrupt enough to join the new “government” will be in the same position as the Iraq governments of the British Mandate/Treaty period, taking responsibility for policies dictated by a foreign occupying force, while having no effective power over anything that matters.
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