Five disturbing things about democracy

Here it is: that post I’ve been sitting on for upwards of a year. Before I start, I am going to make a few introductory notes about what I do and don’t mean when I call democracy disturbing. I find that all too often debates about this subject are clouded by dogma, which leads to […]

Social ladder

One of the problems with social networking sites is that not everyone is on the same one. Thankfully I don’t find myself having to login to MySpace any more. But I would drop Bebo at a moment’s notice if I could get away with it. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends — particularly those from […]

Woolworths: Final thoughts and wrapping up

First of all, apologies to anyone who became sick of Woolworths when I published eight posts in a row about it. As you will have seen, “normal” service is on its way to resumption. Anyway, it was good to get it all off my chest, and is at least cheaper than seeing a therapist. When […]

Woolworths: The curiously British US-based company

Today, the shutter came down for the final time at Woolworths Kirkcaldy, Store 1201. It was among the final group of branches to close. It is the end of an era. This institution had been a fixture in Britain’s High Streets for almost 100 years. The history of the original company set up by Frank […]

A surprise in Glenrothes

The shock is not so much that Labour won. I had a feeling in my water as long as a month ago that Labour might win, even when the bookies and the pundits were saying otherwise. But the scale of Labour’s victory must have shocked everyone. Yesterday, the BBC’s coverage began on the premise that […]

The paradox of the paradox of voting

I wrote my dissertation about the paradox of voting, which is the problem that rational choice theorists have in explaining why people vote. You are more likely to be killed on the way to the polling station than affect the result once you’re inside it — so why vote? The puzzle interested me as soon […]

Insight into Republican America

This is an interesting video of some happenings at a Republican rally yesterday. It’s difficult to tell exactly what John McCain’s strategy is now. Just a few days ago Barack Obama was just “that one” to Mr McCain. Now the Republican nominee seems to be going well out of his way to be polite about […]

Could Labour actually win in Glenrothes?

Given that the news and most of everyone’s thoughts on current affairs are currently dominated by the problems in the global financial system, it is easy to let relatively minor things like a by-election slip your mind. But when I turned my thoughts to the upcoming Glenrothes by-election and politics in general a few days […]

Do they have to make it so blatant?

I know that all politicos have a major boner for American politics and that this year is just one non-stop wet dream. But do our lot have to make their affection quite so blatant? As Alex Massie noted a last week, at the Labour Party conference, Gordon Brown was setting himself up as the experienced […]

Policies from Un-America

I don’t know whether or not the proposed bailout in the USA is a good idea. But it does amuse me that one of the more widely-quoted arguments against the bailout is Senator Jim Bunning’s view that it would be “un-American”. It’s another aspect of American politics that I find to be a turn-off. That’s […]