Populism from Bryan to Obama

Barack Obama’s current political woes are slightly overstated, the current Democrat slump has been worsened by a panic reaction to bad economic news, even although the economic evidence viewed overall points to a continuation of the slow recovery.

Tony Abbott and the end of Catholic conservatism?

Much attention has been given to Tony Abbott’s proclaimed Catholic conservatism but in fact this election campaign provides further evidence of the demise of Catholic conservatism in Australia.

The truth behind ‘Howard’s battlers’

Since the British ‘church and king’ mobs of the French revolutionary era, Disraeli’s 1880 election victory and Henry Maine’s discovery of the referendum conservatives have sought to present themselves as true representatives of the people vs. liberal elites. Conservative rhetoric has often been successful in annoying the left, but despite the hyperbole conservatives have sometimes […]

Socialism within capitalism?

To look over the landscape of socialism is to be persuaded that again and again that Marx was the socialist thinker who had something enduring to say, non-Marxist socialism is fated to merge into liberalism, and if we were looking to political guidance Leonard Hobhouse probably more offers more than the Webbs.

Labor, science and the 1940s

Some recent reading has shed light on how we evaluate Labor’s most productive decade that of the 1940s. Almost finished Boris Schedvin’s Shaping Science and Industry a study of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the predecessor of the CSIRO.

The false friends of ‘liberty’

Who would be a better prison warden: a simple moral person or a very intelligent member of the Institute of Public Affairs? A media report describes a recent meeting of conservative notables at a ‘Foundations of Western Civilisation’ event, organised by the Institute of Public Affairs, at which they rallied against the evils of ‘relativism’. […]

Obama’s lost opportunity?

Has Obama’s presidency been a wasted opportunity for American liberalism? Was there ever a prospect of establishing a permanent Democratic majority? Via Mathew Yglesias an interesting analysis from an American dating site using membership data to track the relation between ideological identification and partisan allegiance.

One of the greatest Speakers?

As health care reform passes this afternoon it is noteworthy to consider Nancy Pelosi’s outstanding role as Speaker. Back in 2006 before the Democrats won Congress I was the first Australian observer to highlight her potential importance: The task of uniting the Democrats in opposition has been surprisingly well-handled by San Francisco liberal and Democrat […]

The South Australian Liberal revivial

The strong performance by the Liberals in the South Australian election campaign has surprised many and driven Labor to resort to a highly negative campaign as shown. One clear pattern in recent Australian politics has been the recasting of the national Liberals as a strongly conservative party. Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall was evidence of this.