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A blog on terrorism, democracy and international politics

Sunday, June 20, 2004

PWHCE presents a paper on Somalia 

Perspectives on World History and Current Events will host a talk by Dr Said Aden, on the topic, Lessons from Somalia: The Disintegration of a Nation and the Impact on the Society and its Health Infrastructure, on 30th June. In an age when the phenomenon of failed states and failed Western interventions is of critical importance, this talk should prove very interesting.

The talk will take place in Melbourne, Australia. See the invitation for more details.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Europeans vote No or not at all 

The three most notable phenomena from the EU elections on the weekend are (1) a very low voter turnout particularly in the East, (2) a decline in support for pro-European-Union major parties and (3) the emergence of new eurosceptic parties.

The decline in votes in the East is a biting indictment on the whole European bureaucracy. As Wolfgang Böhmer, head of the government in Saxony-Anhalt, said, "When people in East Germany marched in 1989 for the right to vote in free elections, and when 15 years later nobody votes in those elections, something has gone wrong." The vote all over Europe was very low and this indicates that the politicians in Brussels have lost touch with the people they are supposed to represent, a worrying development in Europe, the cradle of democracy.

The interesting result for me was in Sweden, because my 'kompis' Carl-Johan was a candidate for a newly registered party, Högerpartiet de konservativa (Right-Conservatives). (Kalle's the serious-looking one in the black suit and tie). The Right-Conservative party was important because it was the only non-socialist Swedish Eurosceptic party in the election - a party that was right/conservative/christian, in the sense of being neither socialist nor liberal. It calls for a return to Swedish "monarchist, christian and cultural" values and traditions, and warns of "a world without God, without Swedishness, without right and wrong, and without meaning." The party platform continues, "We were here before the left. We will remain when the left has disappeared."

As a new, small party with non-existent media exposure, the Right-Conservative Party had little chance of winning a seat in the EU Parliament, particularly since Sweden's representation has dropped to only 19 seats. However, one of the two left-Eurosceptic blocs, Junilistan, shocked many by gaining not one seat, as expected, but three. Given the balance of media coverage and the cursory attention many voters seem to have given to the election, it is perhaps not unreasonable to assume that a significant number of Junilistan voters would have voted for a Right-Conservative Eurosceptic party, had they been aware of that option. Aside from the Centre Party, which retained its one seat, all parties with representation in the EU Parliament lost a seat each, three of those seats going to Junilistan.

It will be very interesting to see how these election results across Europe will influence the European Parliament and whether the new parties will last. It will also be interesting to see whether this prefigures an increasing domestic disenchantment with establishment parties in many European countries.

The following table shows the election results in Sweden in terms of seats. I have given a short clarifying comment on some of the parties, using terminology that might be helpful to Australians:


PartyDescriptionSeatsPrevious
Social Democratic Worker's PartyMainstream labor party, normally gets a large majority56
ModeratesRight Liberals (dries)45
JunilistanNew left-oriented Eurosceptic party3-
Liberal People's PartySmall-l Gladstonian liberals (wets)23
Centre Party11
Christian Democrats12
The Left PartyRebranded Swedish communist party23
The Green Environment Party12

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

PWHCE Yahoo! Group 

Last year, I looked for ways to make the Perspectives on World History and Current Events (PWHCE) page interactive. I tried a guestbook, a Correspondence page and a Yahoo! Group.

Eventually I settled on the Trevor Stanley blog as an interactive medium linked to the web page.

Nonetheless, the Yahoo! Group format still has significant advantages over the blog format - personally I find Yahoo! Groups more democratic, and they have a more cosy atmosphere. They also provide for much larger comments than this blog currently caters for! In an attempt to give the Yahoo! Group a second lease of life, I have set up the blog so that all posts are automatically sent to the Yahoo! Group.

To subscribe to the PWHCE Yahoo! Group, send e-mail to pwhce-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.au





Click to subscribe to pwhce


Sunday, June 06, 2004

Time to get my own domain name 

I just found a Polish Geocities webpage that claims to be the website of al-Qaeda.

It isn't.

I have to get my own domain for Perspectives on World History and Current Events... and soon!

Vaclav Havel criticises European Leaders' Populism 

Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who became Czechoslovakia's most famous 'dissident' and went on to be his country's first democratically elected President when communism fell, recently criticised the unimaginative populism of many European leaders.

(From SILT via Non Tibi Spiro)

This blog has been quite slow for the past couple of months. This is because I've been working a lot of overtime, and have also been preoccupied with other projects.

In addition, I've been ill for the past four days, and have been unable to write up a couple of posts I had planned.

I've added more links though - hopefully they will keep readers occupied :)

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