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Showing posts from August, 2013

First they came for the Gays...

This blog is no fan of the regime of Vladimir Putin.

Russia has suffered enough authoritarian government and it has repeatedly ended in crisis as the inherent corruption of unchecked power brings the system to breakdown once more. 

At various points in Russian history, from the burning of the proto-democratic city of Novgorod by Ivan the Terrible in 1570, to the Great Terror of Stalin in the 1930s, the country has suffered catastrophe at the hands of a state appointed "gangster elite", whether called the Ophichniki, the Okrana, or the Cheka.

Vladimir Putin thinks that he is a man in the same mold as Ivan IV or Stalin- a strong leader who imposes order upon the fractious Russian body politic. Yet these leaders were ultimately failures- they murdered thousands or millions of Russians in their determination to crush dissent and impose order. Both were certainly monsters and probably both were mentally ill. 

In fact Putin is- thank God- not in the same class as his evil predecessors…

"Realos" and "Fundis" debate misses the point for the Lib Dems

Ahead of the annual conference of the British Liberal Democrats there has been a certain amount of posturing. Nick Clegg has been talking about the need for a "grown up" party that can carry through the responsibilities of power. This supposed debate of Realos- the pragmatic party of government- versus Fundis- unrealistic keepers of some pure Liberal flame- is a complete straw man anyway. Clegg may actually wish to face a challenge in order to be seen as being the master of his party, but the truth is that the Lib Dem leadership is promoting an inward looking and irrelevant debate. The political weather is not going to be made by whether or not a Lib Dem junior minister receives the whole-hearted backing of the party membership in their promotion of some Civil Service inspired political initiative or not. The Cleggite "Realo" case is that the most Liberal thing that the party can do is support the parliamentary party in the exercise of power. The "Fundi" …