>Unsunny afternoon


It’s a typical English July summer day. Weird weather – this time rainy and cool in mid-summer– and an unravelling terror plot feverishly covered in the media. I get the train to London to give a student some feedback on her MA performance and tie up various other administrative loose ends of printing, signing and tidying the afternoon away. There;s no visible security clampdown and, fortunately, I am the bearer of good news as far as the student is concerned. None of the rest is very onerous and end up tracking down and reading French language study of Luxembourg politics to find out something more about the Alternative Democratic Reforms (ADR) party, which superficially seemed to West Europe’s only example of a sustained success by a pensioners’ party – the ADR which has pulled in up to 10% of the vote in the Grand Duchy since it emerged in the early 1990s having began as a Commitee for Pensions Justice seeking to bring (state-supervised?) private sector pensions up to the generous level of those paid to public sector employees. In fact, as the pensions issue receded it seems to have as has made the transition to being a right-wing populist/anti-establishment party and was perhaps always more about poujadisme as ‘grey power’.
When I leave SSEES the odd summer times make themselves felt a bit more forcefully: 30 seconds into my five minute walk to the Undergound monsoon like downpour begins and as I run into the tube station I almost bump into two machine gun wielding cops, also presumably taking shelter from the weird weather.

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