Professor Eric Maskin lecture in St Andrews

There was great excitement at work yesterday when I updated the University of St Andrews homepage to advertise some exciting news related to economics, which was my chosen subject in a previous guise. A public lecture is being given by Professor Eric Maskin on the subject of how Members of Parliament should be elected. Very […]

Is it worth voting?

If, like me, you have a reputation among your friends for being particularly knowledgeable about politics, you probably find that when election time comes they turn to you for advice on how to vote. But while I may have more interest and knowledge in politics than some of my friends, I am not really the […]

Warp20 (Box Set)

Warp Records celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year with an extravagant box set, Warp20 (Box Set). Measuring in at 10 inches × 10 inches × 3 inches, it truly is a thing of beauty. Packed in there are five CDs and five 10 inch records, full of Warp goodness old and new. It was not […]

General election night: the distasteful sport of politics

I see there has been a frisson of activity over the suggestion that some councils are looking to hold their counts on a Friday rather than the traditional Thursday night / Friday morning when the General Election comes round. The Sunday Times has reported that the BBC believes that up to a quarter of councils […]

Are newspapers ready to charge for online content?

Rupert Murdoch’s decision to experiment with charging for content has ruffled a few feathers. Fair play to Murdoch for being brave enough to put his head above the parapet. If anyone can take the risk, it’s Murdoch — and the rest of the media will have him to thank if the gamble pays off and […]

I decided! And I decided to vote

Well my week-long voyage of discovery has come to an end. In actual fact, I decided early this week which party I would vote for. I wasn’t sure whether I would actually go along to vote though. In the end, I decided to go along to the polling station. I fancied a walk and a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Final thoughts on Glasgow East

Well, I say “final thoughts”, but really I mean “first and only thoughts” because this is the first time I’ve actually managed to find the time and motivation to write about tomorrow’s Glasgow East by-election. It’s difficult to know what I am hoping for. The party I am most sympathetic towards — the Lib Dems […]

In defence of abstention

Yet again, the comments to a previous post have gone on an interesting tangent. Once again Jeff was behind it. He’s not afraid to get stuck into a debate and he always has some interesting points to share, even though I don’t always agree with him! I thought the discussion was quite good so I […]