Rory Stewart on Dealing with the Obama Administration

I missed this one earlier in the Summer (I was on holiday). From the FT:

Since arriving at Harvard in June last year, he has been consultant to several members of Barack Obama’s administration, including Hillary Clinton, and is a member of Richard Holbrooke’s special committee for Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. “I do a lot of work with policymakers, but how much effect am I having?” he asks, pronging a mussel out of its shell.

“It’s like they’re coming in and saying to you, ‘I’m going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?’ And you say, ‘I don’t think you should drive your car off the cliff.’ And they say, ‘No, no, that bit’s already been decided – the question is whether to wear a seatbelt.’ And you say, ‘Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt.’ And then they say, ‘We’ve consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart and he says …’”


Indications of Crisis

An indication of the extent of the crisis  that the Labour Party finds itself in is that the Virtual Stoa has been included on a list of the “Top 100 Labour Blogs” that has been compiled by some outfit I’ve never heard of called Total Politics.

An indication of the extent of the crisis that Total Politics finds itself in is that they’ve included the Virtual Stoa on the list twice, at #67 and at #86.

Perhaps it’d be for the best if I could roll my rankings into one, come in at #153, and fall off the list altogether?

Ruskin on Penguins

When I begin to think at all I get into states of disgust and fury at the way the mob is going on (meaning by mob, chiefly Dukes, crown princes, and such like persons) that I choke ; and have to go to the British Museum and look at Penguins till I get cool. I find Penguins at present the only comfort in life. One feels everything in the world so sympathetically ridiculous; one can’t be angry when one looks at a Penguin.

— Letter to Charles Eliot Norton, 4 November 1860 [thanks, GC]