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!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Holding ones breath

As the talking stops, I have no hesitation in awarding my accolade for the most thoughtful blogs to two academic bodies – or rather
- one body - UK Constitutional Law and
- one academic - Paul Cairney of the University of Stirling who, a bit like me, has stepped up his posts in the last few weeks

Cairney’s posts of the past few days have been models of careful analysis – whether sketching out for Canadian inquirers the various aspects of the debate; or exploring the meaning of various  recent surveys
And this explanation of what the latest offers from UK politicians actually mean is as good as it gets - although Cairney also deals with the issue very succinctly.

As I had anticipated, I had another sleep-interrupted night but was delighted to receive at 03.00 a mail from someone who had been my Secretary in Glasgow in the 80s when I was one of the “gang of four” who were the leaders of the Regional government system which was then responsible for most services for half the population of Scotland. Since then she’s been the local aide to the Rt Hon John Reid - who was Tony Blair’s key firefighter in the 2000s – occupying more senior Cabinet posts than anyone else in British political history.
Other people who have sent posts hail from countries such as Portugal, Bulgaria and France – and I’ve noticed indeed from the blog stats that my most regular readers in the past few weeks are from Turkey, France and the Ukraine. Time was when the US topped the ratings….
But it seems that most countries are intrigued by the referendum.....with the Spanish PM issuing a strong warning that an independent Scotland would not have an easy ride back into the EU......

Other issues have been pressing on me this bright mid-September day in the Carpathian mountains
- provoked by the weekend's work drafting a bid funded by EU Structural Funds, I’ve now collated 100 pages from my blogposts dealing with the whole issue of EU funding, performance measurement and training and hope to edit it into a real critique of the nonsense of much of this funding. And, coincidentally, I spotted this review in Public Books of a couple of books about economic indicators. I have to say I am greatly encouraged by the way some good writers (many non-specialists) are now daring (and succeeding) to write very coherently about economic and financial matters.
A superb demolition job on property developers was juggled with an attempt to read David Harvey’s short book “Rebel Cities” - but being much more convinced by Benjamin Barber’s underestimated If Mayors Ruled the World

For a round-up of today’s events in Scotland – follow this live Guardian blog

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