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Showing posts from August, 2009

77 Year Old American Politician From Famous Family Dies

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It is difficult to be impartial about Ted Kennedy. The fact of his family membership would give him a celebrity far beyond his achievements, while the burden of being the youngest brother to two murdered political heroes would give his own political career a poignancy he would never shake off. Furthermore, the scion of a deeply flawed family, from his adulterous, appeasement loving, Brit hating father down, Ted Kennedy seemed perhaps to encapsulate more of the flaws than his famous siblings. So how do we judge such a man?

He was no friend of Britain, certainly, and while this hardly distinguishes him from a majority of other American politicians (the 'Special Relationship' exists largely in the imagination of British politicians), it was particularly virulent in his case, through his persistent support of Irish republican terrorism and refusal to acknowledge the difficulties and ambiguities of the British involvement in Northern Ireland. Kennedy revelled in his Irishness, a…

Chris Grayling - Wired for Populism

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Chris Grayling may come to regret trying to compare the problems faced by British crimefighters with the fictional television series "The Wire", but his slightly inept populism has at least catapulted the issue to the front of the news agenda for a short while. It has prompted a couple of interesting responses on the blogs - Paul Waugh shows why it probably wasn't a great cultural reference to make, while libertarian blogger Guido Fawkes uses the opportunity to explain why he thinks drugs should be decriminalised. As Waugh reports, it also allowed Alan Johnson to try out a bit of humour (“The connection between The Wire and Chris Grayling’s grasp on the problems of modern Britain is that they’re both fictional. ")

However, no-one can take much comfort from the complacent government response, which seems to assume that if you offer a few statistics it counts as a suitable counter-argument. However one may want to dismiss a crass use of populism (although the audie…