politics

Beyond shame and guilt

January 14, 2022 3 Comments
Beyond shame and guilt

When I was a young student and easily impressed by big theory, I was struck by a book by E.R. Dodds called The Greeks and the irrational.  Its origin was a series of lectures Dodd gave in California in 1949.  Or, going further back, a conversation he’d had, while studying the Parthenon sculptures in the […]

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Albania: from Stalin’s knees to pyramid schemes

December 11, 2021 0 Comments
Albania: from Stalin’s knees to pyramid schemes

Lea Ypi’s Free: coming of age at the end of history, published in 2021, is a very unusual book.  It’s at once a rite-of-passage memoir – Lea is around eight or nine years old at the start and is about to leave school for university at the end – and a child’s view of one […]

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What are museums for?

December 4, 2021 3 Comments
What are museums for?

The 2021 Richard Burton Lecture in Swansea University was given this week by David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru (‘Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’, to give it its hyper-awkward formal name).  His title was ‘Do Welsh museums matter?’  It was a learned and a challenging talk, raising crucial questions about the role of […]

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Who would live in Wales?

October 22, 2021 4 Comments
Who would live in Wales?

This week the Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett (RhLC from now on) wrote an article sparked by the campaign by Vaughan Gething, the minister for the Welsh economy, to persuade young people born or raised in Wales not to emigrate. An important part of her, she says, is Welsh – she grew up in north […]

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Plague: a Martian sends a postcard home

February 12, 2021 1 Comment
Plague: a Martian sends a postcard home

My dearest brothers and sisters Five years have passed since I wrote to you about my last visit to Earth.  You will remember that I ended my report by counselling you not to send me on a third mission to that hapless planet, or at least to that insignificant part of it known as the […]

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Pos poblogrwydd Boris

January 16, 2021 0 Comments
Pos poblogrwydd Boris

Yn gyson mae’r cwmni pôl pinion YouGov yn tracio bwriad pleidleisio pobl ar draws Prydain.  Dangosa’r canlyniadau mwyaf diweddar (4-5 Ionawr 2021) fod y Blaid Geidwadol a’r Blaid Lafur yn gyfartal (39% yr un).  Sut ar y ddaear y gallai hyn fod yn bosibl? Ystyriwch yr hyn sy wedi digwydd ers i Boris Johnson ennill […]

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The art of the political apology

November 27, 2020 0 Comments
The art of the political apology

Most politicians are egotists.  (All right, I can think of a few exceptions, but as a general rule the proposition stands.)  The bloodstreams of those who reach positions of real power contain dangerously high levels of egotism, or they would not have succeeded as they have.  One of the results of such self-regard is that […]

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Nôl i normalrwydd?

November 14, 2020 0 Comments
Nôl i normalrwydd?

Pob heol yn wag ac yn ddistaw.    Ceir yn segur y tu allan i dai eu perchnogion.  Y  rheini yn celu y tu mewn i’w cartrefi.  Ychydig iawn o bobl i’w gweld yn yr awyr agored.  Gallech chi blannu eich traed, pe baech yn dymuno, ar hyd y llinell wen yng nghanol y ffordd, a […]

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Kate Bingham and the rotten state

November 3, 2020 10 Comments
Kate Bingham and the rotten state

If the case of Dido Harding has become a prominent symbol of the degradation of public life in the UK, few until recently were aware that it has a close second, in exactly the same field of Covid policy: the case of Kate Bingham. Boris Johnson appointed Kate Bingham in May 2020 as the chair […]

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The Republic of Wales

October 23, 2020 3 Comments
The Republic of Wales

A few days ago a distracted weather presenter on Sky News, missing out a few words of her script, uttered the phrase ‘Republic of Wales’.  The news spread quickly round Twitter.  There was wide agreement that the phrase had a highly appealing ring to it.  So, too, the Welsh version, Gweriniaeth Cymru.  Since then I’ve […]

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