New blog on Polish Party Politics

Confused by Civic Platform’s current calamities? Let down by Law and Justice? Perturbed by perm-prone Palikot’s movement (ok, enough of that!)? Ben Stanley, my man in Warsaw, has the answers on his new Polish Party Politics blog.  For starters, he brings us lots of beautiful maps like this, which shows the gap between  pro-enlightenment forces PO (North, West) and the Dark Side  PIS (South, East). Enjoy!
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Election Roundup: Poland and Denmark by Stanley and Christensen

Life as an early 21st century comparativist is good: Skim through the English literature on country X, Y, and Z, get the dataset from some institution’s website, run the models on a superfast computer, and hey presto, you’re done. More often than not, one might be tempted to skip the literature bit completely and simply analyse a dataset on any group of countries, because this dataset has the variables required to run some fancy model that one always wanted to run.  The phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ springs to mind.

Therefore, analyses by people who read and speak the relevant languages and even live in the country they are writing about fill me with vicarious pride. While I was going back and forth between Angela’s Own Country and the Disgraced Republic Formerly Known as Hellas, two fine specimen have cropped up on the internet: My old chum Ben Stanley has a journal-length piece on the Polish parliamentary elections at the monkey cage, and Jacob Christensen of trailer park political scientist fame gives an equally detailed account of the situation in Denmark.

Highlights from a European Politics Class Test

Some answers given by students in written exams are so brilliant that you couldn’t make it up:

  • “The peace settlement created a problem regarding Germany and Austria. What was this problem and what were its consequences?”: Germany and Austria were not content with this and were still at war with each other.
  • “Why did communism spread in Central and Eastern Europe after World War Two?”: Communism spread because after world war II, Stalin came into power and was spreading communism into the other countries as he was connected to people in high places.
  • ‘Putin’ is a post-communist form of government. In the long run, he’ll probably turn out to be right.
  • Threats to communism in the 1950s and 1960s include the 1980 Solidarity challenge.
  • ‘The aim of the 1919 peace settlement was the establishment of independent, democratic nation states. Why was this not achievable in CEE…?’ ‘They could not achieve it because of lack of transportation and route links.’
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