what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gloomy Saturday

The rain and wind have been battering us for almost 24 hours – but, so far, no sign of snow. Apart from my daughers and (the beauty of) the Scottish seascape and the dry humour which goes with it, this posting gives the only reason why I would want to make a visit to UK
I’m watching Orson Welles’ 1948 black and white version of Macbeth. He is very impressive (despite the stupid Statue of Liberty hat he wears latterly!) – and, despite (because of?) the low budget, so is the film. Touch of Eisenstein about it.
It’s good weather for Sassoon’s blockbuster – One Hundred Years of Socialism – the west European left in the 20th century (enlarge the book beyond the focus on parties and west Europe and it would be double its 1,000 pages!). It has already opened my eyes – eg how minimal trade union membership was in Britain in 1910 compared with both the scale of industrialisation and other countries (7% maximum compared with minimum of 30% in other European countries less industrialised); and the government experience in the 1920s of many other socialist parties in Europe – particularly the Swedes who emerged with the most coherent and visionary philosophy of gradualist social change. Pity he doesn’t spend longer on this – since my visits to Sweden and Denmark a couple of decades ago introduced me to some of the inspirational figures in the late 19th century who laid the basis for the Scandinavian model. The folk school was a key part of that. Others, like the British labour party, had no coherence and no capacity to learn from others or even from their own mistakes
It was therefore with particular interest that I read this post which puts in historical context our greater inclination to take seriously the ideas and warnings of the ecologists.
Another useful post from boofy about the ongoing EU crisis
And also on how central european economies are being hit.

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