Feb 202019

An important part of my job is dealing with stuff that is both unpleasant and weird (no, I’m not talking about teaching evaluations). Much of what goes on in far-right politics these days used to be called “the lunatic fringe” but has stealthily moved into the political mainstream. The “manosphere”, a network of unabashedly anti-feminist (or rather anti-female) sites and online communities is fringe even by these standards. But that may change: the HuffPost has an interesting piece about the role of the UK anti-feminist movement within the wider far-right.

Speaking of fringe: I’m old enough to remember that the “Patrioten für Deutschland” (Patriots for Germany) stood in national elections in the late 1980s. They demanded a “new Renaissance” (sounded alright then) and had a manifesto that was manifestly bonkers. The party was part of the “global LaRouche movement”. Apparently their successor party still exists, and they are still deeply rooted within the mad-hatter sector of the political spectrum. And they continue to be guided by one Helga Zepp-LaRouche, wife of Lyndon LaRouche. The latter has died (“how was he still around???”), but his toxic legacy lives on.

Politico predicts “big wins” for the “right wing” in the upcoming EP elections, complete with a picture of Salvini and Le Pen smiling like newlyweds at the reception. Once you read the article, you realise that they actually predict losses for the Socialists/Social Democrats, good times for ALDE, and a mixed bag for Salvini, Le Pen and their ilk. But it is still an interesting article.

What is survivorship bias? Glad you asked, because this is my excuse for linking to yet another wonderful xkcd cartoon


Look Mom, no Brexit links this week!

Nov 012011

Writing for encyclopaedias is by and large a thankless task. You get no recognition at all and have to summarise all you deem relevant about your field of expertise in 500 or 1000 words without any chance of contributing something new, being original or at least witty. But sometimes, it can be fun. I realised that when I was recruited to write the article on Fringe Parties for the all new CQ Encyclopedia of Political Science (prepared with the assistance of APSA). Now that is a subject that is close to my heart. Here’s the author’s version of the manuscript (PDF).