The Hungry Empire

This post is just a quick recommendation to listen to an audiobook currently available on the BBC Radio iPlayer. It’s called The Hungry Empire, by British food historian Lizzie Collingham, and in five 15-minute episodes charts the history of the British Empire, from the 1500s to the 1960s through the lens of food. It turns out that the history of food in the Empire has some really important things to tell us about how ordinary life was lived in that period and how it has shaped much of our modern world.

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Different lives, different values

After opening the nation’s wallet to the tune of a billion pounds for the DUP, in their desperate attempt to cling to power, the Conservatives were feeling generous this week. It was reported on Tuesday that they’ve awarded the Queen a juicy 8% pay rise, increasing her taxpayers’ grant by a cool £6 million a year to £82.2 million.

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The surprise election that surprised

Party leaders surprised at the result of the 2017 general election

It’s been a while since I felt this hopeful about British politics.

Yesterday’s result was excellent, and although re-delivering a Conservative government, has punched the wind right out of their sails and sets Labour up to truly contest for power whenever the next vote comes. This is Labour’s 1992 moment.

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Will the surprise election surprise?

Don’t you have anything to say about the general election? I’m sure my adoring readers are all asking themselves. Well, honestly I don’t have much. Soon after it was called, I laid down some of the reasons I absolutely despair at the prospect of five years of Prime Minister May, but since then events have moved too quickly for me to ever get ahead of them and feel like I have something incisive to post.

I made earnest starts on quite a few posts. The Undemocratic Election, The Theresa May Party and 2016/17 – Zombie Parties all sit in my drafts folder, glass half full, but Theresa’s absolute train wreck of a campaign has called into question the basic premises of all three; that she’ll win a thumping majority without clear competency, policies or vision, that disassociating herself from the Conservative brand and having MPs run as “Theresa May’s candidate” was a wise electoral strategy, or that Labour under Corbyn is in terminal decline, and taking the political opportunities of the left with it.

Add to that not one but two devastating terrorist incidents, and what remains to be said about this election? What remains to be felt?

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For the record

Last Wednesday May 3rd, Theresa May stood on the steps of Downing Street and made a speech in reaction to an article printed over the previous weekend in German national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). The first minutes of the speech are notable for May’s gross overreaction, xenophobic rhetoric and myriad inaccuracies. I write this just, ‘for the record’.

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Strong and silent

There is a theory that women are only able to assume positions of power if they’re hyper masculine. Where a man, providing he had charisma, the right connections and experience etc… to climb to a leadership role could project some degree of empathy, self-deference or other socially ‘feminine’ traits, a woman must be ‘more masculine than the men’, to compensate for her (assumed) innate feminine weakness and lack of authority.

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