Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
6000 on Union Jack Minis
Michael Jennings on Roof party
Francis on A swimming pool in a skyscraper
Natalie Solent on Sign with sarcastic sneer quotes
Brian Micklethwait on Sign with sarcastic sneer quotes
MARK TAHA on Sign with sarcastic sneer quotes
Sajidur Rahman on Out and about in the sunshine
Brandon Smith on Ballerina with cranes again - this time with added spy cameras
Michael Jennings on On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
Michael Jennings on A birthday party with difficult lighting
Most recent entries
- Not about cats
- 65x zoom!!!
- Bill Bryson on the miracle of crop rotation
- Union Jack Minis
- Breaking my Samizdata silence
- On the problems of half-parking with a half-car
- Roof party
- Crane lamp
- Headlights with cleaning brush
- Sign with sarcastic sneer quotes
- Godo and flowers
- Tate cat
- On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
- A birthday party with difficult lighting
- On the unappealingness of classical music on the internet
Other Blogs I write for
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Boatang & Demetriou
Burning Our Money
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
China Law Blog
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Coffee & Complexity
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Deleted by tomorrow
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
Dr Robert Lefever
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
Gates of Vienna
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Laissez Faire Books
Last of the Few
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
More Than Mind Games
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Nation of Shopkeepers
Never Trust a Hippy
Non Diet Weight Loss
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
Police Inspector Blog
Private Sector Development blog
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Setting The World To Rights
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
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The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
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The Welfare State We're In
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Violins and Starships
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
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Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours
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Digital Photography Review
Ghana Centre for Democratic Reform
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History According to Bob
Institut économique Molinari
Institute of Economic Affairs
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Oxford Libertarian Society
The Christopher Hitchens Web
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This is Local London
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This and that
Category archive: Politics
Inevitably, in some of these cross-examinations, this blog came up, with me saying that I write here about whatever I feel like writing about, with very little thought for the interests of my readers. Cats on Fridays, general trivia, etc. I do Big Issues at Samizdata and trivia here. Blah blah.
However, an American lady friend, whom I had not met in quite a while and whom I was very pleased to meet again, told me that she quite liked my trivia stuff, and that she even read my postings about cricket (this being the most recent one). I thought that only I and Michael Jennings and Darren the Surrey Member were at all interested in those. It seems not.
I’m guessing that this interest on her part is partly actual interest, but also partly that a principle is at stake here. Which is: that the trivia that other people are interested in, but not you, is not actually an entirely trivial matter. Life is not only Big Issues. It is the small pleasures that give colour and texture and individuality to life. Watever matters, to someone, matters. Your opinion about what the Big Issues are should not be allowed to drive a tank or a government bureaucracy over my trivial pleasures.
So, her reading about the trivial pleasures of others is her asserting this Big Issue to herself, as well as maybe learning something about other little parts of the world, like the world of cricket (actually quite big of course, as I daresay are the worlds of embroidery and gardening and croquet and rap music and all the other little things in life that I don’t personally care about, other than to believe that tanks or government bureaucracies should not be driven over them).
Me being me, my way of asserting the importance of trivia, in general, to people, in general, is me writing about the trivia that interests me.
Her way of asserting the importance of trivia to people generally is her reading about the trivia that others write about. But we are both making the same point.
I don’t want to say that I have entirely described why my American lady friend likes to read what I write about cricket. I merely speculate that the above speculations might be a quite small part of why she does this.
(She, like me, probably also thinks that thinking about trivia can often lead to interesting angles on Big Issues, of the sort that merely looking straight at the Big Issues might cause you to miss. Pointless fun and truly original insight are often delightfully close neighbours, I think. But that’s a tangent for another time, hence this paragraph being in brackets.)
This afternoon, The Guru is coming by to reconstruct God, so God (the other one) willing, I will be back in serious computing business by this evening.
When I was recently in Brittany, my hosts supplied me with a state-of-the-art laptop and a state-of-the-art internet connection. These last few days, without God (my one) and having to make do with Dawkins (my obsolete and clunky little laptop, the thing I am typing into now), I have felt less connected to the world than I did in Brittany. I am connected, after a fashion. But Dawkins is so slow and clunky that I have been doing only essentials (like finding out about England being hammered in the ODI yesterday), and checking incoming emails, and shoving anything however bad up here once every day. It’s like I’ve regressed to about 2000.
I have managed to put up a few pictures here, in God’s absence. But Dawkins’ screen makes these pictures look terrible. I am looking forward to seeing God’s version of these pictures and hope they will be greatly improved compared to what I am seeing now.
Thank God (the other one) I haven’t been depending on God (my one) for music. As I have surely explained here many times, one big reason I prefer CDs (and separate CD players scattered around my home) to all this twenty first century computerised music on a computer is that if God goes wrong, as he just has, I don’t lose music. I also have music concerts recorded off of the telly, onto DVDs, which I can play on my telly, which is likewise a completely separate set-up to God.
In general, the argument against having everything done by one great big master computer is that when something goes wrong with that master computer, everything else in your life also goes wrong, just when you may need those things not to. One of the things that willgo wrong, rather regularly, with your all-in-one master computer is when this or that particular one of its excessively numerous functions becomes seriously out of date. I mean, if it has a vacuum cleaner included, what happens if vacuum cleaners suddenly get hugely better? In Brian world, all I have to do is get another new and improved vacuum cleaner, and chuck out the old one. In all-in-one master computer world, you are stuck with your obsolete vacuum cleaner. Or, if you can, you have to break open your all-in-one master computer and fit a new vacuum cleaner, and probably also lots of other new stuff to make sure the new vacuum cleaner works, which buggers up a couple of your other functions that used to work fine but which no longer work fine. Or at all. I prefer to keep things simple, and separate.
Something rather similar applies with how to handle (the other) God. That is another arrangement you don’t want to have running the whole of your life for you either. It’s okay if you do God for some of the time and keep Him in his place, but you want scientists telling you about science, doctors about medicine, and your work colleagues about your work, and so on. If, on the other hand, absolutely everything in your life, and worse, everything in the entire world you live in, is controlled by ((your version of) the other) God, everything is very liable to go to Hell. (Aka: Separation of Church and State. Aks: don’t be a religious nutter.)
I have my own particular take on (the other) God, which is that He is made-up nonsense. But just as wise believers in (the other) God don’t let that dominate their thinking on non-God things, nor do I think that my opinions about (the other) God can explain everything else as well. These opinions merely explain the particular matter of (the other) God being made-up nonsense.
Do not, as they say, put all your eggs in one basket.
I’ve started reading Virginia Postrel’s The Future and Its Enemies, years after everyone else who has read it. I haven’t got very far yet, but I am delighted to discover that one of the Enemies that Postrel takes several cracks at is John Gray, that being a link to a crack that I took at Gray at Samizdata a while back.
And I see that Postrel, like me, does not confine herself to analysing and criticising Gray’s arguments, but notes also the cheapness of the tricks that Gray often uses to present his arguments.
What disguises the trickery, at least in the eyes of Gray and his followers, is the air of profundity that is regarded as being attached to the process of foreseeing doom and disaster. In truth, incoherent pessimism is no more profound than incoherent optimism, which is to say, not profound at all.
Says Postrel (p. 9):
Although they represent a minority position, reactionary ideas have tremendous cultural vitality. Reactionaries speak directly to the most salient aspects of contemporary life: technological change, commercial fluidity, biological transformation, changing social roles, cultural mixing, international trade, and instant communication. They see these changes as critically important, and, as the old Natinoal Review motto had it, they are determined to “stand athwart history, yelling, ‘Stop!’” Merely by acknowledging the dynamism of contemporary life, reactionaries win points for insight. And in the eyes of more conventional thinkers, denouncing change makes them seem wise.
Seem. Amen. I’m still proud of this in my piece about Gray, which makes that same point about the seeming wisdom of being a grump rather than a booster:
He trades relentlessly on that shallowest of aesthetic clichés, that misery is more artistic than happiness, that any old rubbish with a sad ending is artistically superior to anything with a happy ending no matter how brilliantly done, that music in a minor key is automatically more significant than anything in C major.
There are plenty more Gray references in Postrel’s book, if the Index is anything to go by and it surely is. My immediate future is bright.
Is not socialism truly stranger than a chorus of singing penguins?
LOL. I really did.
Just to add, as a memo to self, I have another musical-stroke-Venezuela blog posting to do at Samizdata, concerning something said by a BBC4 TV presenter at a Prom, following a performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony by Gustavo Dudamel and his Venezuelan orchestra, about what a wonderful vision it was of the world for one bloke to be telling everyone else what to do. I have the exact words (in addition to Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony) recorded, and I must dig them out. They were truly spectacular, as in: spectacularly stupid.
The BBC worships all things Venezuelan, but has gone rather quieter about that now.
Nothing from me here today, but something at Samizdata (which makes a change), in the form of a remarkable song lyric from the 1920s by Cole Porter. Pure libertarianism. They maybe did not have the word back then (I don’t know), but they certainly had the thing itself:
Live and let live, and remember this line:
Your business is your business,
And my business is mine.
MAYOR OF LONDON Boris Johnson has announced that the capital will have access to 5G mobile connectivity by 2020, allowing Londoners to download a film in less than a second.
Not that I understand nearly completely what that means, and certainly not that I understand nearly completely what that might possibly mean for me. But, … wow.
I’m guessing that Mayor Boris is doing that old politician trick of standing next to something that looks good, but which he had nothing to do with. Or is actual politics involved in contriving this seeming miracle? Is it done with wires? Do the wires need the Mayor to let his roads be dug up?
Comments will be particularly welcome on this.
I still have more pictures to show you that I took on that Adam Smith Institute Boat Trip.
But this was London, from a boat, on the river. Had there been no people on the boat besides me, I would still have been in Digital Photographer heaven.
In particular, there were also bridges, typically from angles that I had never seen them from before. And what with it being such a very sunny evening, there was that bridge over bright water effect that I do so like, where the light bounces back off the water and illuminates the undersides of bridges:
Those bridges are: Blackfriars Station Bridge, Blackfriars Station Bridge again, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, London Bride again (on the way back), and the Millennium Bridge (the one that wobbled).
What’s that you say? One of these is a shot of an individual, and not a bridge shot at all? Look again.
Inevitably, the categories here (individuals, groups, crowds, photographers, bridges) overlap, if only because, when I do photoing, I like to combine as many as possible of the things I like to photo in one photo. In particular, four of the above six shots are crowd shots as well as bridge shots, and the other two are indeed individual shots as well as bridge shots.
There have also been Big Things to be seen in all these photos, and if you don’t know how much I love to photo those, you are very new here.
My latest last Friday of the month meeting was this evening. Thank you Simon Gibbs, and all else who attended. Excellent talk and an excellent evening.
But I spent all day fretting about the meeting instead of doing anything for here, and now that it’s over I don’t want to say something stupid about the meeting. I’d rather think about that some more and talk sense about it.
So here, instead of proper blogging, are some cat links that I like. Google “cats” and of course you get a ton of stuff. These few were my favourites.
Cats in the movies.
Florida Man Holds Gun to Cat’s Head and Posts Picture to Facebook. The www is not amused.
Monkeys fear big cats less, eat more, with humans around.
And for those who share my interest in American politics, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) accused Senate Democrats of meowing like kitty cats and enabling President Barack Obama to enact lawless executive actions like no other president before him. I wouldn’t choose cats are a metaphor for lack of independence.
New London bridge competition
ASI Boat Trip 4: Groups of posing people
What to call the sneerquote Salesforce /sneerquote tower? (plus a quite profound tangent)
I need a new passport but just now passports are a problem
Emmanuel Todd talking in English (about how the Euro is doomed)
The Lib Dem cat is out of the box
Lilburne on a T-shirt and Lilburne on a mug
Pictures of soon-to-be-built London Big Things
Guardian online is a group blog that trolls its own readers
Two badly lit views of “Victoria Tower” and why Big Ben is not St Stephen’s Tower or Elizabeth Tower
The Mayor and the towers
Green screen blue screen
Amusing cats versus important people
Sam Bowman on Bleeding Heart Libertarianism
Other things last Wednesday
Faberge - Brutalism
Ice sculptures in Docklands – Big Things from Docklands
Slightly wider tube trains
On the insecurity of ObamaCare - and on the unwisdom of only punishing big and later
Guido in the Spectator (and in Free Life)
Algernon Sidney sends for Micklethwait because Micklethwait is wise, learned, diligent, and faithful
The next four Brian’s Last Fridays (including December 27)
I’ve just been quotulated
Is this the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of Roof Clutter?
Craig Willy on Emmanuel Todd
BMdotCOM mixed metaphor of the day
Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Quotes of the day
Reflections on and in Westminster Tube Station
American election talk
Pollsters can’t say where things are but they can say which way they’re going
“No one has to know!”
Are Christian social conservatives using the Tea Party to impose social conservatism?
Don’t vote Democrat!
Reasons to think Romney is going to win big
Michael Jennings on how the taxis at Skopje airport are an evil racket and what he did about it
How llamas told us so – in November 2008
The strange state of the enviro-argument
Dream and reality in Mumbai
Literally the light switch of leadership
There’s a Communist in the White House
Steve Baker MP
The England rugby aftermath
Jarrod Kimber on biased cricket commentators
Go Gary Johnson!
Freedom Tower and Gary Johnson at Samizdata
Friday link dump
Three videos from the USA that I recently watched
A potential challenger for Gary Not-Obama
Gordon Brown curses the United Kingdom
The Armstrong Gun
After the wedding
Go Not Obama!
Excellent new word
Everything competes with everything
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom quote of the year so far
Me and Patrick Crozier talk about the banking crisis and its possible consequences
Emmanuel Todd quoted and Instalanched
The Green alliance
A down and up weekend
BrianMicklethwait Dot Com QotD
Malcolm Hutty on protecting the internet
“I was banished to a separate room …”
MP’s kitten custody battle
James Waterton on a very smart very dumb Russian
Another link enema
Beyond the Dome with Goddaughter One
K Street - metonym - synecdoche
Links to this and that
Perfectly clear politics
Ums and ahs
303 Squadron in the movie and on the telly
At the launch of Alchemists of Loss
Shard sitings and and an agreeably honest rabies prevention sign
Frank J random thought for the day
A demonstration I could join
Paul Marks on why the ex Prime Minister of Japan is not like Obama
Steve Davies lecture - photoing and videoing the lecture - post-lecture chat
One child poster
Brightly lit buildings against a dark sky
Darling and Darling cat
Gordon Brown proves Guido was right about him from the start and Ed Balls not nice either shock
Three cheers for Molly Norris but also a few small grumbles
I flipping told him
Tim Evans talks about David Cameron
Voice and exit
Man photographed by women!
Does Google now rule the world of computing?
Nasa and Gordon Brown both have their uses
Antoine Clarke on the Massachusetts election and the online effect
SAY NO TO GOVERNMENT MOTORS
The right to photograph
Those angry Americans
How some cats are dividing Cyprus
A great Johnathan Pearce Britain-can-dump-the-EU blog posting - and the value of informative titles
Antoine Clarke on the recent US elections: still a conservative nation
Antoine Clarke talks about Facebook and Twitter – Guido and … Ian Geldard?
Paul Marks on the financial crisis and on the badness of Obama
Gordon Brown dithers about rugby - cricket’s on the up
Prodicus (and me) on the shitness of the LibDems
Bercow versus the party which picked him
Was it Sweeney? And what else were they trying to suppress?
Why I vote against AGW
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
The Labour Party finally agrees on a new Prime Minister to replace Gordon Brown
Making the IOC feel important with a personal lubricant
Old Holborn lets rip at Labour in a Guido comment
Why I object to Madam Scotland and why I don’t
At least libertarianism is understood over there
In which this blog indulges in an I Told You So moment concerning Speaker John Bercow
Alex Ross on Sibelius
The curse of Gordon Brown is now ruining the England cricket team
Magic bottle that makes dirty water drinkable
What Bercow does next
Tienanmen + Twitter = Teheran
Hislop fluffs the rhyme
Another London lump?
Great photo of David Blunkett
Why I also don’t much like John Bercow
Minimum Wage flatvert at Guido’s and Iain Dale’s
Labour down – silly parties up
Photographers in bother
What The State looks like
Indy Flatverts and a Guido Q&A
Bloke in posh suit holding Real Photographer camera like it’s a Billion Monkey camera!
Thoughts on the Go Gordon petition
Anti-politics versus (or just and) the heroic delusion
Croziervision of default
My opinion of yesterday’s budget
Two Samizdata comments on the sinking of Brown and on the sinking of the Daily Telegraph
“What did you just say?”
At Samizdata: cricket - crime - Kevin Dowd quote
Signs of the times in Belfast
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
Someone called Rick wants me to puke on President Obama
It all depends on whether there is anything worth Twittering
Michael Jennings on shoring up the bad old economy versus building a good new one
Quota quotes from Wodehouse
Colonial Governor’s Mansion dwarfed by modernity
Lang Lang crushes Yundi Li!
Ruminating about politics and ideology
Media bias as asset stripping
Another pendulum theory
Metaphor muddle alert
Reasons to be a bit more cheerful
Antoine and Michael on what to do now
Antoine Clarke on the financial turmoil and the US election
Gordon Brown to guarantee everything
Tom Burroughes on the banking crisis
Wonderwoman picked by Unsuperman
Might Gordon Brown pull an EU referendum rabbit out of the hat?
Obama still won’t do nasty
Chivalry and the mad feminists
“She put the governor’s jet up on e-Bay …”
Ken Livingstone was beaten by the billboards!
North Carolina Billion Monkeys mad for Obama!
The writing on the wall
Switching from dumb bombing to smart bombing
If the Jews have been running the world they haven’t been doing it very successfully
Armed is less dangerous
The British Public continues to dislike too-high-and-rising taxes
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
Bird’s Nest in smog
A new British citizen
Brown leapfrogs Cameron with 36 point jump
Freedom of information
Guido Fawkes gets Douglas Jardine wrong
What I have seen so far while abroad
Guido on Gordon
Those were the days and these are no longer the days
The absurdly derided excellence of British weather forecasts
“Let’s get cracking tomorrow. Let’s have a drink tonight.”
Politics again …
Voting for Boris?
The Messina Suspension Bridge is on again
The personal and the political
“Better value on goods and services across a wide range of categories …”
Paying a visit to Mum
Slow day here
Paul Marks told us so
Dominic Lawson on Herbert von Karajan
Talking with Antoine about the US election and about libertarian politics in the US and in the UK
Not a hot day in January for the Billion Monkeys!
The Puerto Rican candidate
Theodore Dalrymple on the menace of honest public officials and much else besides
The Shard is a Middle Eastern skyscraper but in London that still counts
Obama a loser?
Antoine Clarke on the US Primaries – either Obama will beat McCain or McCain will beat Clinton
Blogging – the end of the beginning
Antoine Clarke talking about the US Primaries
The new South Bank
Blu-Ray - HD DVD – IBM – Microsoft - Google
Great but not great
No number two in Venezuela
Probably not right - but definitely written
“Don’t burn your bridges before they’re hatched …”
The bridge that was going to make Westminster a fine city and London a desert
The UK is not crowded
“How much better …?”
From 100 to 1 in movie quotes and Gordon is a moron
Socialising with the Social Media
Breaking the Left’s stranglehold on the moving image
Nothing untoward happening!
Bush on Cuba
Will China fail?
The Emperor Jones
Lib Dems edge towards school choice
End the medical monopoly!
Antoine Clarke on the French National Assembly elections
Don’t be a physics teacher
Is Jeremy Paxman a closet libertarian?
A surprising outburst of truth
Antoine Clarke on Sarkozy
Antoine on Sarko’s win
Serious tax cutting
If they don’t get who they would have preferred then silly them
“What do YOU think?” - “More -isationisation!”
Billion Monkeys photo their own demo!
The Conservatives prepare for power
Darrin M. McMahon and me and George Orwell on the pursuit of happiness
Some plain English
Not cool and cool
The Great Global Warming Swindle debate now begins
Church dwarfed by modernity
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Whatever it is and no matter how illegal it already is … there ought to be a law against it!
One man one blog
So what’s this about then?
Screw you Dove – good on you Ruth Kelly – the right to avoid gay adoption
Emmanuel Todd (1): Anthropology explains ideology
More on the Lib Dems
Antoine says why he got the midterms wrong
Leon Louw talks about the habits of highly effective countries
Do the Lib Dems just tell everyone what they each of them want to hear?
Hands off the Net
Oscar Wilde defends society
How blogging is making Conservatives more polite to each other
Antoine Clarke talks with me about votes for women (and teenagers) – and about Sweden
29th and 14th
Latest Brian and Antoine mp3 - Middle East, Mexico, USA
Jeffrey Archer - blogger
Latest Brian and Antoine mp3 on democracy etc. - UK, Latin America, China
One for Global Guido to celebrate
Antoine gets Mexican election right
The latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
Brian and Antoine democracy mp3 number twelve
Latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
This is Iain Dale’s seventh favourite non-aligned blog
Brian and Antoine mp3s now into double figures
Billion Monkey snaps shadow chancellor!
Brian and Antoine number 9
The latest Brian and Antoine mp3
At last - the latest mp3 from me and Antoine
Young People models for Old People
On style and politics
The latest Electionwatch mp3
The latest Brian and Antoine Election Watch podcast and some thoughts on democratic nastiness
More election podcasting
Election Watch podcast number three
American partisans and American voters
More from Antoine Clarke about elections around the world
A second podcast (and it was rather too long)
On stand-up comedy and politics
Changing the names of cities
Charles Rosen on Richard Taruskin and on the socially unbound nature of some of the greatest music
The many faces of the LibDems
Help the struggle against DRM!
“The Internet has also brought a new class of people into politics”
He loved my book
Talking about my generation
“The basis is economic development”