A Model of Political Preaching: Judicial wisdom on Immigration

I very rarely tweet about talks I’ve heard – not because they haven’t been good necessarily, but because I usually think even the better ones tend not to travel well (usually because they are well embedded into their contexts). But that’s another story. Last Sunday was different. Judge David Turner was speaking as part of All Souls’ short series on flashpoint issues in next week’s General Election. His topic was Immigration. (more…)

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The Uncertainties of Contingency: What if Franz Ferdinand didn’t die in 1914?

I have stood at the very spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were shot by Gavrilo Princip 100 years ago. And the impossible “What If” question occurred to me even then. So when I noticed that eminent historian Ned Lebow had published an examination of the issue, I leapt at it. The assassination was such a fluke, so preventable, so absurd that the yearning for a different outcome of that moment is great. As he says at the start (having summarised some of the counterfactual options),

None of these what-ifs strains our understanding of the world because most royal processions do not stray from their intended routes, and most security details would have rushed the archduke and his wife to safety at the first signs of violence. In this instance, the so-called factual, not the counterfactual, is what strikes us as unrealistic and incredible. (p16) (more…)

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