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diary uropean People’s party (EP), a mainstream centre-right coalition—until Cameron pulled them out in 2009, signing up instead to a new gang of Eurosceptic right wingers, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). The move attracted flack, browning off longtime allies like Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and attracting criticism at home for some ECR members’ views on issues like gay rights.
ow, though, Cameron’s band faces a different problem: size. The rules say any group in the European parliament must include members from seven countries. The ECR manages just eight—and five of these provide only one MEP. Europe-watchers whisper that the loyalties of the lone Hungarian, Belgian and Dutch members may prove unreliable, while several of Poland’s 15 members may be tempted by more mainstream, Europhile groups. With just two defections needed to sink the ECR, the leading MEP from the Czech party that cofounded it bluntly called it an “unimportant faction” in a recent interview. But its collapse would be doubly bad news for Dave: friendless in Europe, with both Labour and the Liberals remaining continental forces.
sport Why 2018 may still be an English world cup Might Lord Triesman’s own goal actually improve England’s chances of hosting the 2018 World Cup? The FA boss cried entrapment and resigned, writes Patrick Nally, after a Sunday newspaper sting caught him gossiping that rival bidders Russia and Spain were colluding, and might even bribe referees this summer in South Africa. Entrapment or not, Triesman’s inferences of corruption are a common theme in England’s football establishment. The FA has been sniffy ever since João Havelange succeeded Englishman Stanley Rous as Fifa president in 1974, seemingly unwilling to acknowledge the success Fifa has made of the World Cup, and world football in general. Other nations were smarter, appointing senior figures to represent their interests at Fifa, and eventually seeing big names—like Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and France’s Michel Platini—in the the governing body’s hierarchy. England has no such figures on board—surely part of the reason the 2006 bid failed.
ow, there is little room for error in the race for 2018. England has a technically strong bid, is represented by ambassador David Beckham, and impressed Fifa’s current head by arranging a phone call with new prime minister, David Cameron. But Russia also performed well, while an entertaining ploy from Belgium and Holland saw Ruud Gullit and Johan Cruyff arrive on bicycles, promising a “green” World Cup.
David Goldblatt’s World Cup blog,
live from South Africa www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/
The ideas hothouse
By Brian Eno
In 1865 Gregor Mendel presented his groundbreaking work on plant hybridisation to the Brunn Natural History Society… and for the next 35 years, nothing happened. When it was finally rediscovered in the early 20th century, it became the basis of the science of genetics.
itself is evolving. It isn’t only academic papers to the natural history society but charts, diagrams, websites, films, documentaries, newspaper stories, radio programmes and so on. These are all different ways of both disseminating and understanding, and they engage different types of intelligence.
What impresses me about this story is the 35 years of neglect. Could such a big idea go unnoticed for so long now? I really doubt it.
We’re witnessing an ever-increasing fluidity of knowledge, which moves more easily and quickly than ever before. First, the internet makes it possible to communicate ideas instantly. Then it encourages you to proclaim them openly, to everybody, not just the group of specialists in your area (who, as happened in Mendel’s case, often don’t get it). The playing field is now inclined towards immediate open outcry.
his revolution is accompanied and catalysed by another—the representation of knowledge s an example, look at David McCandless’s stunning website Information Is Beautiful (and the lovely book of the same name) which organises complex bodies of facts and figures into memorable visual patterns. Thus organised they mean more than they did, because you understand them as gestalts, as whole shapes.
More knowledge; better ways to handle it. The process isn’t just additive: it’s synergistic. When pieces of knowledge come into contact with each other they multiply like Mendel’s pea plants, fuelling an exponential growth of intelligence.
he powerful fecundity of ancient Athens is now the world condition.
Brian Eno is a musician june 2010 · prospect · 13