Boris Johnson and Other Strange Big City Mayors
May 03, 2012
London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, known simply as Boris to his ardent fans in Britain, seems all but certain to reclaim his post in the mayoral election scheduled for Thursday. But the enthusiasm Johnson inspires is only partly related to the policies he’s pursued in office; it has as much to do with his shaggy hair, quirky personality, quick wit, and idiosyncratic habits. Londoners, however, aren’t the only ones who have a quirky mayor to call their own.
David Hajdu on Music: Billboard Goddesses
April 20, 2012
Stardom isn’t normal. It’s familiar, even commonplace—ever-present not only in the realm of actors, singers, and other pop entertainers, but also in the overlapping circles of athletes, politicians, tech “visionaries,” and ambiguously skilled celebrities-as-celebrities whom Americans love to ogle, aggrandize, belittle, and resent. The impulse to idolize is as old as the gods, of course. Jesus was a superstar some time before Andrew Lloyd Webber came around.
To put it mildly, the latest round of redistricting has not been the most edifying experience. Over the past year, politicians have assembled throughout the country to carve districts that are equal in population, but that otherwise serve their own interests rather than the public’s. Protracted litigation has determined, on a case-by-case basis, which districts will be represented by minority groups. And the courts have been intimately involved not just with minority representation but also with every other aspect of the process.
Just over a week ago, at the Chardon High School near Cleveland, Ohio, a seventeen-year-old youth opened fire on fellow students: Six were wounded and three have died. A teacher said it was important to get the rest of the students back to school to “show that terror and evil do not win out.” Such things keep happening, and people make brave, encouraging, and ridiculous statements.
What the Libyan Intervention May Have Cost Us
March 05, 2012
Just a year has gone by since the Arab Spring first hit Libya, and celebrations of Libya's liberation from its despicable dictator aren't exactly making headlines. Indeed, has there been much to glorify? There is little semblance of a central government, and intertribal fighting shows no signs of abatement. Are the Libyan people better off now than they were before France and Britain, with the United States "leading from behind," rushed to the rescue of the 2011 revolution?
Time has not appeared to be on Rupert Murdoch’s side in the phone hacking scandal. The stream of revelations about the ethically and legally dubious practices at Murdoch’s media properties seems to have no end. And as the investigations have taken their toll, Britain’s Left has mostly watched in glee, assuming that their longtime adversary was finally receiving his comeuppance. Yet the schadenfreude seems to have been premature.
God Save the Queen: Why the British Monarchy May Not Outlive Elizabeth
February 14, 2012
Last week marked the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the British throne. The government has already declared a four day public holiday in June, during which Her Majesty will lead a flotilla of a thousand boats along the Thames and a chain of fiery beacons will be lit across the United Kingdom. For a country in recession and at conflict with the European Union over its right to govern its own finances, this offers us a unique opportunity to reassert confidence and historical identity.
In 2005, when I ran as a Parliamentary candidate for my home town in England, I invited an American friend, who had worked on Barack Obama’s senatorial race, to join me on the campaign trail. He was expecting a rather more high-tech operation than the one he found. Leaflets were run off an old black and white photocopier and the balloons bore the name of the candidate from eight years before. The American’s first question was “How much have you invested in television ads?” Everyone on the staff laughed.
Regional Empowerment: Britain’s ‘City Deals’
January 24, 2012
Here at the Metro Program we have long advocated a “bottom-up” approach to economic development. Such an approach calls for a major reorientation of federal-state-metro relationships--one that empowers metros and regions with real flexibility and resources so as to enable them to chart their own courses. And so we have often looked abroad for ideas as we have worked on concepts, such as Metropolitan Business Plans (coming soon: Metropolitan Export Plans) and our proposals for aiding and abetting the self-organized initiatives of innovation clusters. For example, we have closely followed devel
Not Fade Away
January 11, 2012
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year.