Monthly Archives: October 2011

Skewed Iconographies: Iranian Protest Conundrum

  I saw this picture making the rounds on Facebook yesterday, and what struck me was the odd combination of conflicting iconographies. Let me explain: political imagery often uses specific visual cues to get across its message. They might be … Continue reading

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Democracy – Worth Paying For?

Every few years, the issue of party funding comes up as a matter of negotiation between the main parties. Usually it remains a matter for the wonks before it disappears again, since it is very difficult to find any agreement, … Continue reading

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Coalition Counterfactual

Two days ago, the New Stateman’s Staggers blog published a little sample of ‘what if?’ politics by David Mills, a little glimpse of a world where Nick Clegg refused David Cameron’s offer of May 2010, the Conservatives and LibDems embarked on … Continue reading

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Tyrant Slayers

Thoughts on the day Muammar Gaddafi was killed This will be a crucial day in Libya’s history – so much is certain. The day a tyrant dies cannot be anything else. But what will we, what will the Libyans remember? … Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Inventing the Past | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Knock-Down University

The Guardian today has a report about a ‘no frills university college’ which will start recruiting this week. Coventry University College offers degrees for £4800, with teaching going on for 42 weeks a year, 7 days a week, 7am to 10pm on weekdays. Courses … Continue reading

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The Trouble with Universities in Wales

Just over a week ago, the Times Higher Education Supplement brought out this year’s World Universities Rankings. Although universities live and die by such ranking exercises these days, we should take such elaborate attempts to compare apples with oranges with … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Universities, Welsh Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Party Conferences and the Democratic Process

or: Tory Conference is a Different Country – They Do Things Differently There… This autumn I went to my first federal party conference. Liberal democrat conferences have a long agenda of policy debates where arty policy is decided by the attending … Continue reading

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Building the Parthenon

It’s time to talk about the photograph at the top of my blog. It’s part of a picture I took on the Acropolis of Athens in summer 2007: let’s call it The Parthenon Under Construction (Again). Of course, ancient buildings … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Inventing the Past, Remembering the Past, Restoration | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Here comes the rant…

One day, two posts, and no proper rant. We can’t let that stand, so here it comes. That Mary Portas…. she should just keep her nose out of politics! But no – she is David Cameron’s ‘shop adviser’, so to speak, … Continue reading

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A few words on the UK Citizenship Test

On Monday Prime Minister Cameron gave a speech on immigration. There is a lot I might say about this speech, much of it rather grumpy, but I’d like to concentrate on one short passage – his plans for the UK … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Life in the UK, UK Citizenship | Tagged , , | 4 Comments