June 13, 2011
Announcement 1: I will be speaking at the Balliol Left Caucus this coming Thursday. If you’re in Oxford, consider coming along.
I intend to talk for about 15 minutes, and then open things up to discussion. Which will hopefully be less boring, for all concerned. The topic I’ll introduce I’ve entitled: “The Conservative Left? – Predicaments and Prospects for Thinking Leftists in a Globalised World”. Tony Judt can get you thinking:
“The real problem facing Europe’s Socialists (I use the term purely for its descriptive convenience, since it is now shorn of any ideological charge) is not their policy preferences, taken singly. Job creation, a more ‘social’ Europe, public infrastructural investment, education reforms, and the like are laudable and uncontroversial. But nothing binds these policies or proposals together into a common political or moral narrative. The Left has no sense of what its own political success, if achieved, would mean; it has no articulated vision of a good, or even of a better, society. In the absence of such a vision, to be on the left is simply to be in a state of permanent protest. And since the thing most protested against is the damage wrought by rapid change, to be on the left is to be a conservative.”
8pm onwards, in the Bajpai Room, Balliol College, Oxford.
Announcement 2: As recently noted, not much is happening around here at the moment. However, things are happening elswhere. Two recommendations from Fenland Poly-based writers.
Louisa Loveluck at the almost eponymous Leloveluck, where she thinks and writes about middle east politics. Highly recommended if you want an informed perspective on a region where most western reporting appears to be chronically ignorant. (Posting appears to have been suspended due to exams, but no doubt will resumt soon. I hope.)
Dana Smith at the not at all eponymous, but vocationally-inspired, Brain Study. Applying the insights of experimental psychology to issues of public interest and importance. Again, highly recommended for those who want to read opinions by people who actually know what they are talking about (for example).