Later this week, book reviews.
First, though, Elections, elections Elections.
New Zealand - a narrow scrape, it seems for the Labour Party out there, looking to remain in office after they cobble together a coalition. The election was held at the back end of last week, but no word quite yet on the final shape of the government. New Zealand uses teh aditional member system of PR. The main schism reported by the Beeb appears to be over the ban on Nuclear vessels - which is code for American Aircraft Carriers and Subs. The relations with the US seem to be a big thing for the national party.
Afghanistan well, we're not likely to hear the results for some time - and it looks like there wasn't much by way of national parties, so presumably local polics and social structures layed a major part. Violence played a part, and turnout is down.
And, ah, Germany - How has Schroeder done it? He really is one slick slippery customer, he's till in with a fighting chance despite polls that previously fave the Conservatives tehre a clear ten point or more lead. The huge numbers of don't knows seem to have come down SPD. Where this takes Germany - for all the talk of being stalled still a rich and powerful nation - is unclear. Unemployment is huge, as appears to be regional divides. Refusing to even talk to the Left Party may be a mistake, since that would turn them into the real poll of opposition - especially if a grand coalition is chosen over dealing with them (SPD-Green-Left would be a majority). Perhaps Schroeder will conveniently change his mind on that score.
Maybe we'll see German governments flip-flopping for the next few years with swing parties making hay. What's clear is that all the talk of stagmation and reform is just code for how best to attack and discipline the German working class.
New Zealand elections