Bradford sociologist Alan Carling is standing for the local council in Bradford as an Independent. Unlike Norm and Chris I can’t count him among my friends, but I do have a reason for admiring him as the author of this splendid description of the difference between American and British academic conferences (and yes, I’ve quoted it before, but it’s worth it):
… but you have to hand it to US academics: they sure know how to organize a conference that feels like a serious business convention. There were actually men and women there in suits, especially those silver-sheeny ones in a mottled semi-reflective material that looks as if they descend from a job-lot of curtain lengths delivered by UFO somewhere over Colorado circa 1955… By dressing below this level, it was possible to regard oneself as a marginally dangerous intellectual presence, or at any rate a marginal one. (In the UK, by contrast, it is physically impossible to dress so low as to be the worst-dressed person present at the Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association).
That’s from his essay, “Rational Choice Marxism and Postmodern Feminism: Towards a More Meaningful Incomprehension” in Rational Choice Marxism, ed. Terrell Carver and Paul Thomas, Pennsylvania University Press, 1995, p.301.