Thursday, May 24, 2007


In between the marking there have been some gems to read this week. Pride of place goes to the paper Norm delivered as an excuse to miss one of the most unwatchable Cup Finals I can remember. It is important because it is part of the process of addressing the perceptive lament in Nick Cohen's latest column.

However far it is from achieving power, a serious political ideology has to have a positive programme to live. For example, it is perfectly possible to imagine what a green government would do, while realising that the greens cannot conceivably win an election. By contrast, the Labour left talked at length about what it wouldn't do - keep British troops in Iraq or Afghanistan - but had no coherent principles, no guiding programme.

I hope to comment on the paper when I have had longer to study it.

I also finished reading a rather splendid little book on the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey following the Lausanne Treaty in the 1920's. Twice a Stranger is not an academic text and, as a result, is a gripping read with some nice bits of oral history. It concludes with a discussion of the problems of homogeneous ethnic nationalism as an organising principle and the rediscovery of multi-ethnicity, especially in the EU. It is also critical of both the official and romanticised versions of Greek and Turkish history. In that sense it is more than a popular history but a reflection on interesting themes.

Tomorrow it is the first Hull Peace Conference on the theme of democracy and peace. One of the speakers is Johan Galtung. It will be interesting to see the positions that are taken. No doubt I shall blog on it, watch this space.

No comments: