Right Here, Right Now

It’s over five years since I last added anything to In Theory, my repository for old political theory essays. So here are three more, from my halcyon days as a masters student twenty years ago.

Read More · 12 December 2012

The secret video of Mitt Romney’s private fundraiser comments at Mother Jones (first excerpts, second excerpts, and full transcript) and the accompanying Metafilter schadenfreude-fest have been far too entertaining and distracting this week.

By way of contrast, Michael Lewis’s profile of Obama at Vanity Fair.

By way of British contrast, it’s The Nick Clegg Apology Song.

Read More · 22 September 2012

I Dream of Gina

News of billionaire Gina Rinehart’s latest comments about how the poor should work harder did the rounds the other day on Twitter, leaving me with a burning, righteous fury and nowhere to put it. Nowhere, because I like to keep this blog reasonably civil, and figured I’d already wasted enough breath on her poetry.

But it’s hard to resist. At the very least, it’s staggering that someone in her position can’t see the enormous competitive advantage in money-making that one gets from inheriting a mining company from your rich father just before a once-in-a-lifetime mining boom.

Still, at least she has no compunction about bankrupting her own children because she has a problem with the behaviour of people who stand to inherit their parents’ enormous wealth. Um.

I nominate one square mile in the middle of Western Australia for Rinehart’s special economic zone, with no roads in or out and a flight exclusion zone above it. To be valid only if she lives there, in an enormous Scrooge McDuck money bin.

7 September 2012

Punning Hunt

I was at a pub quiz last night, where we tossed around team names inspired by Jeremy Hunt’s ministerial woes since he was caught sucking up to the aging prince of the tabloids. Mine carried the evening:

Hunt for Red Tops Over.

I thank you.

1 May 2012 · x1

Serious Business

The Ministry of Justice claims that the Freedom of Information Act has not improved government. This quote in particular is a sign of serious cognitive dissonance: “civil servants believed freedom of information was not being used to increase accountability, but instead by journalists fishing for a story”. Some civil servants seem not to understand the first thing about modern democracy. (A pertinent link via Heather Brooke.)

Nick Cohen on the Twitter joke trial appeal: Where are the judges fit for the internet age?

Al Murray on same: Problem is, the law don’t do funny.

Matthias Lenke’s macrophotography (not serious business, but seriously good).

16 February 2012

Cracked ACTA

I’ve been collecting useful links on ACTA, the international equivalent of SOPA, and had been meaning to post some here; but events are outpacing them, with political support for the treaty in at least some European countries fast collapsing. Still, here they are. Glyn Moody’s Twitter feed is a good source for the latest updates.

Read More · 16 February 2012

Worst Eighties Comeback Yet

The revival of Falklands/Malvinas sabre-rattling is one of the more depressing developments of the week, especially now that armchair generals on both sides can meet on the virtual battlefields of the Internet. A Metafilter thread pointed to a string of articles at MercoPress, the South Atlantic News Agency, with comments that take some beating:

Personally I think a few H-bomb test in Islas Malvinas Argentina can solve the problem with one strike I would love to have the honor, If USA and UK can kill over 10.000 muslims including women and children for resources, I amsure nothing will be done when this 3000 terrorists, pirates and illegal aliens go missing after a H-bomb test in Islas Malvinas Argentina.

I met a Falkland Islander a few years ago on a first aid course. As pirate terrorists go, it has to be said he was a disappointment.

Still, reducing the islands to radioactive glass would at least clear up all the landmines left over from 1982. How it would enable a glorious Argentine homecoming is less clear.

10 February 2012

The SOPA links keep on coming, and rather than just post them, I thought I’d add a few more thoughts of my own.

Read More · 23 January 2012

SOPA del Dia

Some relevant links collected during today’s SOPA blackouts, from Twitter, Metafilter and Metatalk.

Read More · 18 January 2012


Speedysnail is joining the online protests against SOPA and PIPA today by blacking out the front page.

Read More · 18 January 2012

Sixty Metres Up

For the past month, Miranda Gibson has been sitting 60 metres up a tree in Tasmania’s southwest in protest at old-growth logging, and blogging as she goes. With the coupe around her about to be logged, her campaign is increasingly urgent. But the campaign to protect Tasmania’s forests has never been anything but urgent; for as long as I’ve been aware of them, they’ve been under threat, being chipped away at, and literally chipped, even as most Australians complacently think of them as “protected” and regard yesterday’s conservation battles as an end to it.

Read More · 17 January 2012

Cold War, Hot Toys

Looking for children’s gift ideas for next Christmas? How about a Safe, Harmless Giant Atomic Bomb? Or another of these dozen nuclear toys (not all guaranteed safe and harmless)?

I was trying to think of War on Terror equivalents, but I doubt there’s much mileage in a Safe, Harmless Towel and Bucket.

10 January 2012

Politics in 2011