Monday miscellany III

Sorry, another round-up post.

Today is the day the burka ban kicks in in France. Much as I hate the burka, a ban on it is an absolutely inhuman, illiberal, authoritarian response, and France should be deeply ashamed of imposing it. See Timothy Garton Ash, Norman Geras and Kenan Malik for the arguments why. Meanwhile, Rosie Bell on the idiocy of the Qu’ran burning BNP chap and of the police for arresting him and of the observer for facilitating the whole thing. Leo Igwe on which Muslims value more, the Qu'ran or human life.

Rosie again on how Julian Assange seemed to fit a hero-shaped whole on the left, and why he didn’t fit it after all, and on an imaginary Assange in 1940 (highly recommended!). And, again, from the RCPWatch category, on a prediction about Spiked and the EDL that has sadly come true. Jim Denham on why it is not worth paying money to the New Statesman to get crap like Jemima Khan. Adam Holland on another periodical to un-subscribe to: the Nation, still touting antisemitic nutcase Helen Thomas.

History is Made at Night remembers Brixton 1981.

Flesh is Grass on horizontality, politics 2.0 and why it’s kicking off everywhere. Nick Cohen on liberal prejudice, double standards and Libya (highly recommended). Darrell Goodriffe on anti-imperialism, democratic rights, Libya and the Labour left. The Contentious Centrist and the Angry Arab outside the Israeli enemy embassy in Cairo. A new jihadi group with missiles aimed at Ashkelon. Mr Tear on a journey to Morocco and a mystery gnawa cassette. Meanwhile, it is depressing to see the unfolding of the counterrevolution in Egypt, with the military junta firing on pro-democracy/anti-corruption protestors.

Johan Hari on the hypocrisy of liberal interventionism in Libya. (Note: he emphasises the Coltan dimension to the Congo conflict, which I mentioned in my post on liberal interventionism here, but he draws opposite conclusions, arguably from a much more robust evidence base than I was using.) Two more very different takes on stuff I've posted here lately: the Flying Rodent on Jonathan Freedland and Avi Shavit.

Peter Ryley on Madeline Bunting, Blue Labour and the politics of nostalgia.

On AV, two useful items at Jim's place. Here is a link to the New Economics Foundation's safe-o-meter, showing Joan Ruddock will remain safe in Lewisham Deptford (my constituency). The other Lewisham seats remain safe for Labour, but Lewisham West and Penge less so. That's Jim Dowd's seat, where the Lib Dems came second last time. My crude calculations show that there and in Heidi Alexander's Lewisham East the Lib Dems would take the seat from Labour under 2010 voting patterns. And here's a debate between Rupert Read (pro-AV) and Darrell Goodriff (anti), which is quite good for someone like me who needs a pretty basic introduction to the debate.

As I write this, the adverts Google is putting on my Blogger dashboard include for cheap flights to Libya...


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