The protracted period of post-election navel gazing is over and Labour has finally elected a new leader. Ed Miliband now heads Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, becoming standard bearer for the Left and baiter in chief of the Coalition Government. Prime Minister Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, will be relieved: The bookies have already lengthened the odds on Labour winning the next election.
The Scottish broadsheets have again turned their attention to the deficiencies of local government in Scotland, with widespread advocacy of the clear need for structural reform. Everyone knows 32 local authorities is too many for a country with 5 million people, but it means they are too small to generate public interest and too obscure to exert political power. Having many councils means lots of councillors, so it is no surprise the local authorities oppose change: They are turkeys commentating on the need for Christmas. Continue reading
Reality can be stranger than fiction. As the final votes from the federal election are counted the Australian Broadcasting Corporation predicts the governing Labor Party and the conservative Liberal-National Coalition will both have won 73 seats in the House of Representatives. On Saturday some 11 million citizens cast their votes, but in a twist of fate the decision on who forms the next government rests with a handful of independent MPs. Continue reading
Ordinarily, Britain doesn’t do hung parliaments. For all the talk of legitimacy demanding the victors carry the support of more than half the electorate, an election yielding a government without the parliamentary might to quash the combined strength of all other parties is viewed as a failure. Continue reading
Yesterday was the first anniversary of Barack Obama’s assuming the presidency of the United States.
His promise of change seemed destined to be fulfilled not only in the reality of an African American first family, but also through the overwhelming mandate from the public. Democrats won super-majorities in both houses of Congress, with blue representatives and senators elected from sea to shining sea largely on the President’s coat-tails. This White House was given a degree of political power to which previous ones could only have dreamt. Yet after a full year in office the hopes of liberal America remain unfulfilled. Continue reading
The modern world creates new realities incomprehensible to previous generations, with profound effects for which we could not have been prepared, to which we have thus responded badly.
The rise of the internet, hundred-channel television, an extensive satellite network and mobile telephones has created a new age of instant global communications, a dissemination of information on an unparalleled scale. This decade saw a widening of popular access to information that makes the invention of the Gutenberg press seem small beer. That access is perhaps the greatest liberator in human history, making redundant authoritarian regimes’ mechanisms for controlling the media and silencing criticism. Yet the same power that guarantees opposition and dissent also poses a huge threat to liberty. Continue reading
The prime minister’s attempt to discredit the opposition front bench based on the school they went to was a crass, petty and thoroughly unimaginative resort to the political battlegrounds of an era long since gone. That it had Tory spinsters rushing to their phones only serves to demonstrate the weakness of Mr Brown’s leadership, for no one about to lead their party into a general election could be thought wise to offer such a gift to his opponents. Continue reading
Last month NASA smashed a probe into the lunar surface, hoping to find water hidden beneath. Scientists have been analysing that crash and yesterday the world was told of the results. There is water on the moon. Continue reading