Serious reading

The Maugham Library at Kings College has an exhibition of some of its rare books, including an early edition of Holinshed’s Chronicles, so well known to all students of Shakespeare. But known by name only, in most cases. According to the Catalogue this is Denham’s edition of 1587. We all know Shakespeare used Holinshed, but…

Unfortunate Signs 6: meaningful surnames.

We all know the scene. The conference is three quarters over, the table originally strewn with name tags waiting for the delegates, now carries only a few: those who did not turn up. I am always drawn to read these. At the recent EVA 2016 conference, I found this prize specimen. LinkedIn has 20 or…

Political turbulence and social media

Professor Helen Margetts from Oxford Internet Institute spoke to the OECD this week about her recent research (see her new book.) Looking at political movements around Europe, why is everything kicking off everywhere? Is this due to use of social media? There is little hard evidence, but lots of anecdotes. However, new sources of data…

‘Casseurs’ then and now.

Riots and strikes in France this week have been widely publicised. Refineries have been closed, rail travel affected, and according to the BBC, “Riot police battled protesters in Paris and other cities, making 77 arrests, while 15 officers were injured and cars and shops were vandalised.” Much has been made of the activities of ‘casseurs’,…

Unfortunate Signs 4: Try Praying

Richmond May Fair last weekend. Amidst the crowd, two men sit alone at a stall. Richmond Green was crowded, yet (at that moment) no-one was interested in their stall. The standing man turns his hands outward in a gesture that could be despair or resignation. The seated man smiles as if to reassure him. No-one…

Cyberparty: Popular Politics in Digital Times

A conference at Kings last Friday had something of the excitement, the sense of destiny, that delegates must have felt at the early socialist meetings (perhaps the Second International meeting in London in 1896, held not so far away from Kings). Here was an international group of people making new things happen in politics, people…