13.4 Rowlandson Westminster Election 1808

MONTHLY BLOG 78, WHO CARES? GETTING PEOPLE TO VOTE

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Elections again! And public moodiness at being asked to decide on weighty matters once more. The last thing that Britain’s campaigners for a democratic franchise ever imagined was that electors, once enfranchised, would not use their votes. Was it for nothing that the democratic […]

2017-05 No1 Rising phoenix tattoo - Copy

MONTHLY BLOG 77, IDEAS TAKING A WRONG TURN

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Meditating about ideas taking a wrong turn (there are a lot of wrong turns around), I was reminded of the eighteenth-century saga of phlogiston – or the spirit of fire. It was a concept that held sway in scientific circles for many years, before […]

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MONTHLY BLOG 76, HUMANS AS COLLECTIVE TIME-TRAVELLERS

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Particularly in troubled times, it’s enticing to think of escaping not just to another place but to another time: a temporal bridge over troubled waters. In the old folk stories, an individual falls very soundly asleep … and then awakens, to his or her […]

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MONTHLY BLOG 75, HUMANS AS TIME-SPECIFIC STARDUST

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) ‘We are stardust’, sang Joni Mitchell in ‘Woodstock’ (1970) soulfully and, as it transpires, presciently.1 Poets, song-lyricists and writers of scifi are often ahead of the scientific curve (as well as sometimes barking completely up the wrong tree). A.E. Housman’s Shropshire Lad (1896) had […]

2017-02 No3 Earth-from-Space-Vector

MONTHLY BLOG 74, WHY CAN’T WE THINK ABOUT SPACE WITHOUT TIME?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2017) Well, why not? Why can’t we think about Space without Time? It’s been tried before. A persistent, though small, minority of philosophers and physicists deny the ‘reality’ of Time.1 True, they have not yet made much headway in winning the arguments. But it’s an […]

2017-02-melting-clock

MONTHLY BLOG 73, WRITING INTO SILENCE ABOUT TIME

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Time – great subject. Lots of it around. Universal application. Paradoxical too: time flies, time crawls … time heals, time festers … time is short, time is long … time is money, time is priceless. And the list continues: humans can do time, have […]

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MONTHLY BLOG 72, REMEMBERING CONRAD RUSSELL, HISTORIAN of STUART BRITAIN AND ‘LAST OF THE WHIGS’

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) After contributing to a panel discussion on 22 September 2016 at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, I’ve expanded my notes as follows: When remembering my colleague Conrad Russell (1937-2004),1 the first thing that comes to mind is his utterly distinctive presence. […]

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MONTHLY BLOG 71, HOW IS GROWING INEQUALITY DIVIDING THE BRITISH TORIES FROM WITHIN?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) How will history interpret the views of millions of Tory voters who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum on the EU? It’s a good question that merits further attention. Since June, many commentators have defined the motivations of the Labour supporters who voted Leave […]

2016-10-no5-angela-merkel

MONTHLY BLOG 70, WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION’S HYBRID CONSTITUTION?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) I voted REMAIN in the great Europe-referendum of June 2016, and was sorry (though not distraught) to find myself in the minority. At the same time, I had reservations about the European Union, not least for its lack of clear political accountability. In particular, […]

2016-09 No1 Very-well-alone-David-Low-Evening-Standard-1940

MONTHLY BLOG 69, BRITAIN AND MAINLAND EUROPE VIEWED LONG: FROM CONCERT OF EUROPE TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Britain has long had a yoyo-relationship with mainland or continental Europe. Its fluctuating nature has many well-known roots. One is geography, which maintains a maritime barrier between the British Isles and mainland Europe; or at least has done so since sea levels last rose […]