A nice little mix of stuff in this lot, though the politics averse amongst you should be warned that with elections next week there's a fair bit on that, though not much of it is serious. Posted to both LJ and DW with comments open for technical reasons that I can't be arsed to fix, LJ version: Europe, books, maps and snails—MOAR linkspam
A nice little mix of stuff in this lot, though the politics averse amongst you should be warned that with elections next week there's a fair bit on that, though not much of it is serious. Also posted to DW with comments open, linkspams don't crosspost easily due to limitations at Delicious.
I'm awake, honest. I've had enough coffee to get me going again anyway. Doing some tidying up to my LJ, renaming tags, etc. This seems like a good enough reason to rename one of them, plus 2008 has ended so it's time to start a new 'life' tag for this year.

Appears I've posted less about what's been going on in my life this year than any other calender year that I've had the LJ. I guess being happy gives me less to write about, right? Completely skint, but there y'go, can't have everything.

I don't do new years resolutions, and, well, predictions are a bit of a mugs game, but, well, might as well.

UK: politics will dominate, likely election, bit of history explaining why )

Obama's honeymoon, potential pitfalls, hope he holds it together )

Europe, Referenda, Libertas and elections )

Meh, 7pm. Time to go pick the Shrub up from her Dad's.
If you live anywhere in Europe, especially the UK, you've probably noted that there's a lot of fuss at the moment over The European Constitution, better referred to as the Lisbon Treaty. Certain elements of the press and some campaigners are a little bit hot and bothered about the whole thing. The reality? It's an amending treaty that builds upon the treaties of Maastricht, Nice and Amsterdam and while it does have a few measures I'm not sold on, overall it makes the EU more democratic, more open and is, on balance almost certainly a Good Thing. The thing is, unlike the treaties it amends, I haven't had time to read it yet. Maastricht happened while I was studying for my A levels and I did a project on it, and I studied the latter two as part of my degree. Fortunately, the wonders of modern technology mean that I can get to know someone whose opinion on such things I trust, and he can read it for me.

nhw: The Lisbon Treaty: My Take:
I promised a post on the Treaty of Lisbon a couple of days ago, so here it is.

What is the Lisbon Treaty? )
Is it a big deal if it doesn't get passed? )
How do we vote against it? )
So most of us don't get to vote on it. Isn't that a swiz? )
What's that wrinkle you mentioned? )
What about foreign affairs? )
Doesn't this mean the EU can over-ride our country's foreign policy? )
What about the European army?  )
What's this business about qualified majorities? )
Is it more or less democratic? )
What about electing the President of the European Commission? )
Does the Lisbon Treaty make the EU more powerful? )
What about this new Presidential position that Tony Blair is interested in? )
The noted historian Andrew Roberts forecasts Slovakian troops in Buckingham Palace, Gibraltar and the Falklands handed over, good men imprisoned for using Imperial measurements... )
Yawn. One of the most depressing things I've come to realise is how poisonous the EU debate has become in the UK, and how far removed from reality. In the run-up to the negotiations, Tony Blair made much of his determination to prevent the crossing of Britain's "red lines", none of which were ever in fact in danger of being crossed, not that you would have known that from the British press. The absurd level of vitriol directed at this Treaty, which as I hope I've made clear is a fairly modest bit of institional adaptation, makes me despair for British political culture.
An excellent post by Nicholas there, from a diplomat who works in Brussels and really actually does know what he's talking about. Of course, we're both biased here, and you have to make up your own mind, but it's better to do so from a position of information, right?

The media would have you believe it's an evil nasty thing that will destroy Britain. They said the same about Maastricht, Nice and Amsterdam. Um, hi guys, still here. I really do wish we could just move on, I want a referendum on membership just to clear the damned air and let the next debate be about how Europe should work and what it should do, rather than the perpetual whinging that it shouldn't exist or that it's "bad for us", the former of which is a position I can at least respect and disagree with, the latter? Nah...
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015

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Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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