NATO – Jeremy Corbyn and a New Cold War

natoOn demilitarisation Corbyn is dangerously wrong.  Perceived weakening of commitments to collective defence risks instability and war.  Even a ‘new Cold War’ is preferable.  The election of Donald Trump presents an opportunity to re-forge the alliance. Europe should increase its commitments to NATO, Europeanising it in the process. Continue reading “NATO – Jeremy Corbyn and a New Cold War”

Compass and the Progressive Alliance

Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass, has written an open letter of advice to the Green Party, much of which discusses the concept and practicalities of a ‘progressive alliance’ – the increasingly popular idea that some form of pact should be made between the ‘progressive’, non-Tory parties in the UK.  This should be of interest to all in Labour as Compass has been a focal point for this concept, since its own shift from being a Labour party grouping to one open to members of other parties. This culminated in Compass running the vote-swap website in the 2015 election which ‘traded’ votes between Labour and Green voters in areas of supposed electoral strength for each.  (A useful overview of their strategy going forward is here.) Continue reading “Compass and the Progressive Alliance”

Sir Vidia’s Shadow: Ancillary – Reviews, Notes

I’ve been reading a few of the reviews of Sir Vidia’s Shadow – it really did cause quite a stir when published. I get the feeling from most of them, that the second half of the book moves from entertaining account to splenetic rant. I’m itching to get on with it but the Christmas work party season is preventing me until tomorrow. Continue reading “Sir Vidia’s Shadow: Ancillary – Reviews, Notes”

'Sir Vidia’s Shadow', by Paul Theroux. Reading Notes: Part 1.

Summary: I’m halfway through this book having reached the end of the second of four parts, and so far this is a compelling study of an incredible character, that raises unsettling questions. Theroux’s honesty about himself makes the personal memoir aspect engaging, but it is the well observed portrait of V.S. Naipaul as a powerful, driven and flawed character that is the dark fascinating heart of the book. The animating question for me at this point is how much of the whole is necessary: how separable are Naipaul’s virtues and vices. The earliest part of the book shows the allure, and perhaps the need, for people who hold themself and the world to a higher standard. By the mid-point however this admirable and absolute commitment to the truth and to exposing reality no matter how uncomfortable, is shading definitively into contempt and cruelty towards (most of) the rest of humanity.   A second question, how far is the (post-colonial) insecurity underlying Naipaul’s character responsible for the strengths and excesses. Continue reading “'Sir Vidia’s Shadow', by Paul Theroux. Reading Notes: Part 1.”

Book Review: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt

Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt, 2011, Profile Books. Overall, an excellent book on strategy. Its two main contributions are a clear and rigorous approach to good strategy and a vigorous analysis of errors in strategic thinking that gets right to the heart of why there is so much bad strategy out there.

rrGood Strategy, Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt, 2011, Profile Books.
Summary
This is, overall, an excellent book on strategy. Its two main contributions are a clear and rigorous approach to good strategy, which almost everyone can gain from, and a vigorous analysis of errors in strategic thinking that gets right to the heart of why there is so much bad strategy out there.
The first section is the strongest, setting out Rumelt’s approach to strategy and the concept of, and prevalence of, bad strategy. The remaining two sections, whilst interesting and containing useful ideas, are less vital. The third seems rushed and poorly structured even; there is no conclusion at all, the book abruptly ends. When I’ve recommended this book to friends, I’ve suggested they read the first part and skim the rest picking out what’s of interest. Continue reading “Book Review: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt”