This week has been a fantastic week for Gordon Brown’s “Britishness” agenda, as two events have united the people of Britain as almost never before.
First, the people of Britain came together to support Barcelona in the final of the Champions League (with the exception of a small handful in the Northwest of England). Second, we are (almost) all of us delighted to welcome a dozen Norwegian beavers into the wild (with the exception of a small handful within fifty miles or so of the beaver-reintroduction zone in Scotland).
I’m feeling fairly patriotic this week, at any rate, certainly much more than usual.
The Virtual Stoa, eight years old today.
No idea what that was about, but apparently the comments have been screwy for a while, and yesterday the whole site collapsed and all the archive pages disappeared. But it all seems to be back working again now, I think.
UPDATE [27.5.2009]: And I’ve even remembered to turn off the “must be logged in to post comments” feature, which somehow managed to switch itself on.
Something has gone fantastically right with the world when this headline appears on the front page of a major newspaper website (it links to the story here, Google Earth image here).
Over here. (Can’t tell yet whether it’s an improvement.)
In order to free up some space on my shelves, I’ve got some runs of journals to give away to anyone who can collect them from me before too long. These include Political Studies (2000-present), Politics (2005-present), The British Journal of Politics and International Relations (2001-present) and the Political Studies Review (2006-present), Historical Materialism (an almost complete set up to the end of last year), and Index on Censorship (about eight years’ worth, I think, from the last decade or so).
If you’re interested, get in touch.
I see that Kitty Ussher is not only refusing to pay back her controversial expenses claim for the refurbishment of her South London home, but that she is also (according to tehgraun) going to front a government consultation on housing benefit fraud. I’d never picked her as an especially brave politician, but this is quite something. Or even, as Sir Humphrey might say, courageous.
(I think Hopi is probably right when he says that, “Whatever happens, I donâ€™t think many of us have grasped yet how many people in all parties are going to have to leave politics for good.”)
Reading this reminds me of the slogan with which Life of Brian was marketed in Sweden: “The Film That Was So Funny, They Banned It In Norway.”
In the same way that rich people who get exemptions from inheritance tax on their art collections have to make them available to the Great British Public, perhaps MPs who have spent taxpayers’ money on home improvements could add to the gaiety of the nation by being made to have visiting hours, so the Great British Public can go and take a proper look at John Prescott’s mock Tudor beams, Kitty Ussher’s new ceilings, or Keith Vaz’s nice cushions?
The annual intercollegiate tortoise race was held yesterday here at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Blue Peter showed up to cover the race, bringing the official Blue Peter tortoise. And, after being placed in the middle of the race circle, one of the tortoises successfully mounted one of the other tortoises.