Giving to airy nothing | A local habitation and a name.


June 2016

Why Vote Remain? (2/2)

3. Sovereignty

One of the most common beliefs is that the EU is imposing its law upon the United Kingdom, reducing the latter to a shadow of its former self: whereas once it was a Great Imperial Power, now it is merely a snivelling wreck, like all other nations. Leaving aside the also-unsavoury belief that a return to imperial Britain would be in any way a good thing (after enjoying, briefly, numerous members of the world’s former-largest colonial power hand-wringing about having to follow some trade legislation) it seems worth examining the notion that the EU is a threat to Britain as a sovereign state.

Continue reading “Why Vote Remain? (2/2)”

Why Vote Remain? (1/2)

I’ve oscillated a lot over the past three months. I began tentatively voting Remain, before moving towards Leave after the Spectator debate, in which the Remain panel (Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall, and Nick Clegg) performed very poorly. Inclinations to vote Leave were briefly strengthened by reading Daniel Hannan’s Why Vote Leave?, which at first read seemed to present a compelling case for Brexit.

In the end, having been lucky enough that people have pointed me to points at which Hannan misrepresents figures and consequent arguments, having considered some of his arguments (‘EU bureaucrats get too much free stuff!’, an unconvincing argument when one recalls the extent to which our own MPs manipulated their expenses) to be compelling rhetoric but lacking in substance, and having watched Nigel Farage of the UKIPS girn, gormlessly as ever, in front of a poster that bears unnerving similarities to Nazi propaganda, I’ve finally come down firmly, though reluctantly, in the Remain camp.

Continue reading “Why Vote Remain? (1/2)”

Redolent Remnants

Redolent Remnants

A second more devoid of thought,
a second more of lungs pulled taut,
a moment more to wait and pause,
and weigh in breath effect and cause,

and laws that tear down stores of sense Continue reading “Redolent Remnants”

‘When quiet, still, and lifelessly in thought’

I’ve decided, recently, to re-digitalise the poetry I wrote while at Oxford – or, at least, some of it.

During the summer after my first year, inspired by a frenzied post-Prelims reading of Pablo Neruda’s sonnets in translation, I decided to try and start writing in the form myself. I typically prefer writing in form. All but one of the finished poems I’ve written since coming up in 2012 use pretty strict form in one way or another, and at some point over the upcoming days I think I want to try and justify writing in form during a period that seems to prefer the formless. Continue reading “‘When quiet, still, and lifelessly in thought’”

On Visions, and Revisions

The following poem is the only one I’ve written in the last year, and was published as part of A Gallery/16, the annual collection of poetry and art published by my alma mater, St Edmund Hall. The theme of the collection was ‘draft’, and I really wanted to play around with the idea – write two poems, each the same until the volta, after which point the poems would change in content, and, consequently, tone. In the collection, the poems would have ideally sat side-by-side, articulating two conflicting moods and outcomes – while giving the reader no opportunity to choose between them.

Continue reading “On Visions, and Revisions”

Dissecting Rankings: A Blog Response

Much of the following post was penned as part of a LinkedIn comment response to an article written by Dean Hoke on the 15th June 2016; the article, and my comment response, can be found here: . It provides important context for the piece that follows.

University rankings are currently being produced in their multitudes: each year, one can expect various offerings from QS Quacquarelli Symonds, Times Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong (ARWU), The Guardian, Forbes, Business Week, US News – and others. Some of these rankings are global, some are regional, others rank universities by Subject or by Faculty.

Of course, to justify its existence, each ranking needs to provide a unique, fresh analysis – and different rankings will necessarily yield different results, as a consequence of different methodologies. These differences can surprise, and can (and should) be cause for question – all the more so when rankings seem to be measuring the same universities or nations.

Continue reading “Dissecting Rankings: A Blog Response”

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