British Tory-lite deputy-PM Nick Clegg, has announced a very limited programme of democratic and civil-libertarian reform in the following terms:

bq. I’m talking about the most significant programme of empowerment by a British government since the great reforms of the 19th Century. The biggest shake up of our democracy since 1832, when the Great Reform Act redrew the boundaries of British democracy, for the first time extending the franchise beyond the landed classes. Landmark legislation, from politicians who refused to sit back and do nothing while huge swathes of the population remained helpless against vested interests. Who stood up for the freedom of the many, not the privilege of the few.

Over at The Virtual Stoa, “Chris Brooke asks”:

bq. If you were marking examination papers on nineteenth century British political history, what mark would you give someone who described the 1832 Reform Act in these terms?

Indeed. And see especially, Ted Vallance’s response in comments to Chris’s post.

The struggle of the suffragettes for female emancipation, the extension of the franchise after WW1, all are as nothing compared to Clegg’s plans to curb CCTV cameras and biometric passports ….. An elected second chamber, sounds good. Electoral reform – subject to a referendum in which the dominant party in the coalition will campaign for the status quo. Talk about overselling yourself.

Bellesiles Returns

by Henry Farrell on May 19, 2010

And Scott (at IHE) is “not happy with his new publisher”:

bq. It is true that he drew the ire of the National Rifle Association, and I have no inclination to give that organization’s well-funded demagogy the benefit of any doubt. But gun nuts did not force Bellesiles to do sloppy research or to falsify sources. That his scholarship was grossly incompetent on many points is not a “controversial” notion. Nor is it open to dispute whether or not he falsified sources. That has been exhaustively documented by his peers. To pretend otherwise is itself demagogic.

bq. If a major commercial press wants to help a disgraced figure make his comeback, that is one thing, but rewriting history is another. The New Press published many excellent books by important authors. It is out of respect for that record that I want to invite it to make a public apology for violating the trust its readers have in it.

Jerry Cohen memorial events

by Chris Bertram on May 19, 2010

There are two upcoming events in memory of G.A. (Jerry) Cohen, who died last year. The Philosophy Department at University College London, where Jerry taught from 1964 to the mid-1980s, is holding a reception at 5pm on Thursday 17 June at 19 Gordon Square (“details”: ) and two days later, on Saturday 19th June, there will be a memorial service at at All Souls College Oxford, where Jerry spent the remainder of his career ( 2.15pm in the Codrington Library). Myles Burnyeat, John Roemer, T. M. Scanlon, and Philippe Van Parijs will be
speaking at the All Souls memorial.