Off-Street Parking

Drummond Street, Edinburgh, 23 June 2010. Mouseover for a better sense of what had happened. Amazingly, no railings seem to have been bent sideways in the process.

26 June 2010

Cobbled Together

One more post on the general election outcome, to preserve some comments posted to Metafilter yesterday. Rather than paraphrase them I may as well just post them, along with some further words I didn’t get around to adding there.

Read More · 13 May 2010

Compulsory Venting

If the first-past-the-post system is frustrating, the attitudes and assumptions it has bred among Britain’s politicians and pundits are even more so. This morning’s Today programme on Radio 4 featured comments about eight years of “unelected prime ministers” if Brown and a Labour successor governed from 2010 to 2015, ignoring the fact that Cameron would be just as “unelected” a prime minister—which is to say, not at all. In Westminster-style democracies, not least the mother of all of them, the people don’t elect the leader of the government, their representatives do. And people elect their representatives for all sorts of reasons, not simply as proxies for their party leaders.

Read More · 11 May 2010 · x2

Hare's Breadth

It’s times like this that warm the cockles of a pol sci graduate’s heart. I’m referring, of course, to Britain’s hung parliament, and the rare opportunity it affords for a public discussion of different electoral systems. As someone who grew up under one of the best, voting under first-past-the-post is always exasperating, and now millions more get to share that exasperation.

Read More · 9 May 2010 · x2

The Hand-Old-Media-the-Digital-Economy Bill

It looks as if the Digital Economy Bill is a fait accompli at this stage, but in the hope that posting this might encourage just one more person to write to their MP, here’s what I wrote to mine a couple of weeks ago. It’s more tempered than I actually feel about the bill, which should never have been drafted in the first place, but I didn’t want to turn it into a rant. He replied sympathetically, but one letter won’t make much of a difference; the effect is cumulative, though, so if you’re a UK voter and care at all about your digital life, please add your voice.

Read More · 5 March 2010

UK Culture in 2009