Daily Archives: October 1, 2009

By Richard McGregor, the FT’s former Beijing bureau chief

Most commentaries about modern China these days stress how far the country and the state has moved on from the totalitarian rule of Mao Zedong. The parade to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China through the centre of Beijing today is a reminder of the opposite, and largely overlooked, trend – just how communist the Chinese state still is. Read more

On Friday, the Irish are going to vote one more time on the European Union’s benighted Lisbon Treaty. Together with a clutch of Irish and European politicians, I spoke last night at a forum on the treaty at the Historical Society at Trinity College, Dublin. The HistSoc is said to be the oldest undergraduate student society in the world, and was founded by Edmund Burke in the mid eighteenth-century.

I wonder what Burke would have made of the Lisbon Treaty? I suspect he would have disapproved of a top-down effort to re-mould national political cultures that have developed organically over centuries. On the other hand, he certainly would have disliked the resort to referenda, since he was the arch exponent of representative government. Read more