Archive | May, 2011

The (political) madness of art?

‘Poetry makes nothing happen,’ said the poet W. H. Auden. How wrong he was. My essays, On Art and War and Terror, now available in paperback, are dedicated to the proposition that art matters, ethically and politically, emotionally and intellectually – that poetry makes something happen after all. Not only does it make us feel, […]

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Of politicians and pogosticks

Yesterday evening, Radio 4’s Four Thought – which you can listen to here – featured a lecture about a teenager from Hull who back in 2003 had taken to writing to politicians to ask them if they had ever been on a pogo stick or space hopper. As I explained in the lecture, ‘Jason Whiley’ […]

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Bastards or B’stards?

According to a 2009 Eurobarometer survey 62 per cent of Britons believed that ‘the giving and taking of bribes, and the abuse of positions of power for personal gain’ was ‘widespread’ amongst MPs. This view was obviously influenced by the Daily Telegraph’s revelations about expenses. But 44 per cent already thought corruption was rife in […]

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Democracy Taiwanese style

Taiwan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on 19 April 2011 its decision to hold next years presidential and legislative elections concurrently for the first time. Ostensibly made to save money and streamline the crowded electoral cycle, many see darker motives behind a move made at the behest of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT). As a specialist […]

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The BNP: is the party over?

Most analysis of the recent elections in England and Wales focused on the fortunes of the three main parties – but they saw the BNP perform very badly indeed. Drawing on evidence in my new book, I’ve written a piece for the Guardian’s Comment is Free, analysing what the results mean for the party and […]

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China and Europe: security before principles?

As it increases its influence in the developing world, China now faces the same kind of challenges as are confronted by Europe. The ongoing conflict in Libya is such an example. Chinese and European workers have been forced to flee the country, leading to a huge loss of business. Such problems are likely to reoccur […]

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Politics and the iPad 2.0

I recently upgraded from acetate overheads and marker pens in my lectures to the wonders of Powerpoint presentations. Feeling smug whipping out my laptop and beaming the slides through the digital projector, I was greeted by knowing smiles from my young audience as they retrieved their iPads from their bags. ‘Always behind the curve’ I […]

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European lessons in coalition politics

Analysis of the elections held on May 5th demonstrates that those politicians and journalists living in the Westminster village still have a lot to learn from Europe about coalition politics. Many commentators were surprised by the stark differences between the electoral fortunes of the two coalition partners. However, had they looked beyond their own borders – […]

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Politics of Diversity Special Edition

According to Ipsos MORI 75% of Britons believe that immigration is a ‘problem’ while Islamophobia appears to be on the rise. The three main parties have sought, in their different ways, to address these issues but most of the running has been made by parties beyond the mainstream, on the far-right. Since its disappointing performance […]

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No future? Why dystopias matter

Some people might say that politics contains enough fantasy without further confusing the situation by combining the study of politics with that of fiction. Yet, more than ever fiction can shape how we see the world, which is why at Nottingham we refer to a lot of imaginary sources in our teaching and research, some […]

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