As part of my commitment to returning to frequent blogging, I’ve begun a new blog! The Election Stalkeris aimed at tracking elections throughout the world, analysing both opinion polls in the run up and the ultimate results, providing neat graphs to help visualise trends and balances of power. From now on I’ll be posting my impartial, analytical posts over there, so if you’d like to keep seeing these make sure to follow! I’ll continue posting comment pieces on here, keeping this as my personal blog – as well as hopefully more posts on topics like literature, life, the universe and everything…
I’ve just completed one of my main Summer projects: a video charting the rise and fall of ideologies across Europe over the last few centuries. For those interested, you can watch it here.
The wide variety of ideas on how we should structure society and govern ourselves which have sprung up from Europe have always fascinated me. From hereditary monarchies to liberal republics, Communist Utopian dreams to Fascist order and discipline – and even the idea of no structure, no state, in occasional anarchist societies; we’ve attempted the lot. Most have failed, or been brought down, but there’s no reason to suggest what we’re experiencing now isn’t simply a brief period of calm which, as I discovered while researching the video, are extremely common, before another tumultuous divergence. My favourite aspect of the video is watching the consensuses change: seeing the ideals of authoritarianism and ‘tradition’ dissolve while new accepted forms of governance emerge. Is our current system of capitalist democracy here to stay, or will something currently unimaginable one day usurp it?
See, this is a prime example of how studying history is always relevant. From the past, we can extrapolate the future.
“If there is one single factor which dominates the course of Russian history… it is the principle of autocracy.”
Just read this quote by Hugh Seton-Watson in The Russian Empire 1801-1917 (quoted by Eric Wilmot in The Great Powers 1814-1914). He wrote this in 1967 and it is still relevant nearly 50 years later. It’s as if Russia is allergic to democracy; even with the establishment of a multi-party system it had snapped back within a decade to strongman rule under President Putin. I look forward to the day that this quote is no longer relevant.