So, I’m back from the all-stops tour of Oz for a week, and just as I’m sorting through my photos and thoughts to write a few words about it here, the place hits the news in an extremely ugly way. (How’s my timing? When I was getting my thoughts on Spain together in 2004, the Madrid bombs went off; now this.)

Read More · 15 December 2005 ·

Things I Will Not Do

Avoid visiting London. London is one of my favourite cities in the world, grime and noise and big-city frustrations and all. I have friends there, relatives there, ancestors there, memories there.

Avoid the Tube. Sure, it’s good to get out and walk through the city centre now and then, but how else are you supposed to get from Heathrow to the West End or Kings Cross to Clapham? Besides, London isn’t the only place with an underground: you want confined spaces, try Glasgow’s.

Avoid sitting on the upper deck of double-decker busses. I like the upper deck; you get to see where you’re going, you don’t have to compete with old ladies for seats, and making your way down the stairs is an adventure every time.

Treat all people of a particular appearance with suspicion. I’m a pale Caucasian with red hair. Twenty years ago, it could have been me getting sideways glances.

Read More · 15 July 2005 ·

Graffiti in Edinburgh

And what better way to abolish capitalismm mow than to spraypaint a bank and force its corporate masters to pass the costs of cleaning onto the public through higher fees and charges.

Read More · 1 July 2005 ·

Having mentioned him just the other day, Scott now gives me an excuse for some good old-fashioned inter-blog commentary. He’s been playing around with some figures to show that being in the political centre has an advantage over the left or right, because the centre accrues less condemnation than either extreme.

Read More · 19 May 2005 ·

More or Less Important

There hasn’t been much politics here for a while. By “here” I mean this domain, of course—here here, it’s been everywhere. A bloke can’t open his letterbox without a dozen flyers fluttering out proclaiming that ONLY THE CONSERVATIVES CAN BEAT LABOUR IN THIS CONSTITUENCY, or featuring tasteful cartoons of swarthy Mediterraneans dashing to the Brussels finishing line with begging bowls outstretched and Blair and Howard racing to fill them up, while shivering pensioners clutch their Council Tax bills. (Wot, no Germans kicking puppies?)

As it turned out, only Labour beat the Conservatives in this constituency, and the national result was much as the polls predicted: around 50 seats lost, leaving a majority of around 70. It’s hard not to conclude that everyone made up their minds long ago.

Read More · 10 May 2005 ·

Politics in 2003