Archive | September, 2011

Comedy and politics: the great debate

During the Edinburgh Festival the Political Studies Association organised a Festival of Politics which included a public debate about the relationship between comedy and politics. I was there as someone who studies the representation of politics in fiction and my fellow panelists were comedian and Ab Fab regular Helen Lederer and comedy writer Tim Telling of the Daily Mash. […]

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A new Turkish revolution?

One of the most remarkable events since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 occurred recently, when the country’s top military brass resigned en masse. Equally remarkable was the relatively limited coverage and analysis of this event in the British media: Turkey after all is at some point set to join the EU while […]

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What do you think the Government’s Commons majority is?

On paper, it’s 76.  Those with some knowledge of way Westminster works in practice will have remembered to add in the five non-sitting Sinn Fein MPs, plus the Speaker and his Deputies, which takes it past 80.  The really sharp amongst you might mention that the eight DUP MPs usually (though not always) vote with […]

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Popular education: changing the world?

In this piece for Ceasefire I explore the remarkable work of the La Máscara Theatre company – the only feminist collective theatre group in Colombia. I use the article as an opportunity to reflect on how and whether popular education can be of use in the building of global and national movements of resistance. Sara Motta

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Downton Abbey: just a bit of fun?

Downton Abbey is that very rare thing – an ITV series popular enough to be commissioned for a second season. It also seems to appeal to middle-class viewers – when was the last time the Daily Telegraph put together a readers’ quiz about an ITV series? -  so watch out for lots of adverts for expensive […]

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A scandal of two halves

As our last post indicated, the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 inflicted damage to popular perceptions of politicians. But what impact has the phone hacking scandal had? Despite the furore it created within the political class and the turmoil it generated within the media, the public reaction to ‘hackgate’ has been largely left to speculation […]

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Trust in politics: down, down, deeper and down?

In the last couple of years there have been three major events in British politics: the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009, the 2010 General Election and the phone hacking scandal of 2011. In this post we look at the impact of the first two; and in our next we assess the effect of the third. […]

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Ed and the TUC: five things we know

  I’ve written about New Labour over the years, teach Nottingham students about its rise and (maybe?) fall and will be producing a second edition of this book in the fullness of time. So, let me try and put Ed Miliband’s 2011 speech to the TUC in some kind of context. No political speech from a Leader of the Opposition […]

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Fings wot I learned at the weekend

Just before the hell that is the party conference season comes the joy that is the academic conference season: weeks of schlepping around to assorted hotels and universities, sitting in seminar rooms, and eating and drinking too much.  Last weekend, I was at the annual Elections, Public Opinion and Parties conference at the University of […]

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The good terrorists

When I first read Edgar Wallace’s The Four Just Men (1905) I thought it was one of the most shocking books I’d ever read.  I mean that literally: the ending left me bewildered. Wallace was a writer who just churned out stuff on a prodigious scale – mostly low-grade, thrilling page-turners, the sort of fiction […]

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