Archive | October, 2013

Normblog

18 Oct

In the mid 90s I attended an interview at the University of Manchester for a PHD place. I was waiting outside the room of one of the academics who was having a very heated debate on the telephone. This academic ( I wont name him ) was clearly losing the argument, which was about of all things football. I was kept waiting while two Academics debated football. At the time I felt confused , and it probably showed. The winning academic was Norman Geras, who at that stage I knew only for the article about Marx and Justice.

However something stuck, and a few years later when he became “Normblog” my interest picked up again. He had a wide range of interests , a generally engaging manner , would happily converse with you ( even when he had no need to ) and was entertaining in his thoughts. It became , as one other commentator has observed , a process of ” what would norm say about xx” from royal births to Thatchers death, Anything Shayne Warne and of course politics.

For me however , it was the book ” The contract of mutual Indifference ” that still moves me. It is a clear train of thought that clearly influenced his thinking on Iraq , to the point where someone today called him a neocon on twitter , seriously !

I am still struck as to why many Marxists seem to be able to articulate about cricket better than others .., why is that ? Im still aiming for it but his cricket books were superb.

No doubt that in the e-world hell be missed but not forgotten.

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Ralph Miliband and the Kaipara Council Elections …

5 Oct

I have been thinking about Ralph Miliband recently. Not because of the vinegar tasting attacks on him by the Daily Mail. Not because of him being judged for half a diary comment when he was 17. Not because of the questioning of his patriotism , when he fought for a country he wasn’t born in whilst others hid their previous support for Fascism. No not even because attacking people who have been dead 20 years to have a dig at their son is low. No none of these reasons. I have actually been thinking about him in the context of the Kaipara Council non elections.

No seriously I have.

Miliband , as I remember , made some interesting and still salient points about Democracy. Points the right seem to ignore. Democracy is about more than just the voting exchange. Often at that point the choice is limited. The agenda set. Democracy requires activism and the ability to create change. Sadly those that hold power within institutions have little reason to have this agenda challenged or set for them and so the game continues.

Kaipara Council had its elections suspended nearly 2 years ago. It won’t go to the polls. No tragedy you might think, perhaps. The next election has been reset for 2015. I have no doubt that by then a new structure will have replaced Northern councils , Kaipara will have had no choice or voice , the agenda completed without even token representation. Something more than the functional relation between ticks on a paper and ballot day is required for Milliband and Democracy in the Kaipara.