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About Christopher Harvie
Christopher Harvie is a historian who was professor of British and Irish studies at Tübingen University, Germany. His homepage is here. He was a member of the Scottish parliament from 2007-11. His website is here
Among Christopher Harvie's many books are Scotland: A Short History (Oxford University Press, 2002), Deep Fried Hillman Imp (Argyll, 2004); Mending Scotland (Argyll, 2005); A Floating Commonwealth: Politics, Culture, and Technology on Britain's Atlantic Coast, 1860-1930 (Oxford University Press, 2008); and Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown (Verso, 2010)
Articles by Christopher Harvie
This week's editors
Through the bars
No to TTIP
Meteoric rise of Islamic State
Charlie Hebdo attack
Yemen - easy to get wrong
The transformational change I believe to be essential is to recognise the end of the private car. In 1903 the poet John Davidson saw the rise of individual powered transport as a break with the essentially collective - though not compulsive - spirit of the 19th century and the railway, in a remarkably perceptive poem called 'The Testament of Sir Simon Simplex concerning automobilism'. In this he set out the 'two legs good, four wheels better' philosophy which governed the twentieth century. Among its enthusiasts were of course Henry Ford and his admirer Adolf Hitler, who saw mobility per se as an absorbing alternative to thought. With one car per four people in the 1920s the USA led the way into hyperindividualised mania. Despite the fact that only 15% of world population owned 85% of the world's cars - a proportion which remained constant because of population growth - there was no increase in human knowledge or efficiency (Anthony Trollope's 'railway compartment as mobile office') given the need to power and steer the car. This lay behind the accelerating decline of the USA after the 1980s, its urban identity and the physique problems of its people. The issue was solved by the impact of Peak Oil after 2010, with a rapid rise of oil to $300 a barrel, making a 'car-friendly society' impossible and imposing a rational transport/life balance.
Or so we must hope.
I "Strings of molten cheese"
The first meeting of Scotland's council of economic advisers (CEA) convenes on 20 September 2007. Among its eleven members are a couple of Nobel prizewinners (Finn E Kydland and James A Mirrlees), and the economics journalists Frances Cairncross and John Kay; its chair is George Mathewson, until recently governor of the huge Royal Bank of Scotland. The composition of the CEA was announced by first minister Alex Salmond on 28 June, less than two months after the elections to the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh which brought his (and my) Scottish National Party to power after it won the narrowest of victories over the Labour Party.
The historian Christopher Harvie is a candidate in the election to the Scottish parliament on 3 May 2007. He sees his target seat embodying the conflicting currents of the countrys long political journey.
The distinctive quality of Scotland's educational philosophy was defined by George Davie (1912-2007) as the "democratic intellect". The idea has helped form the country's search for autonomy, says his former student Christopher Harvie.
Britain is a globalisation success story, says the "Economist". Decay and corruption have brought the country's economic model nearer collapse, replies Christopher Harvie.
Scotland's parliament voted to abolish itself in on 16 January 1707. In 1999, devolution restored a measure of self-government. Now, Scots are contemplating independence once more. The historian and Scottish National Party candidate Christopher Harvie explains why.
Scotlands election of May 2007 may be decisive for the future of the British state. On St Andrews Day 2006, three leading Scottish writers urge voters to choose the route of national independence.
While Britain's political and media classes are obsessed with the succession to Tony Blair as New Labour leader and prime minister, the country's economy is being drained and distorted by massive VAT fraud, writes Christopher Harvie.
The legal feud between a leading Scottish politician and a tabloid newspaper is, writes Christopher Harvie, a farcical footnote to an epic, unfinished story: the decline of Scotland's industrial and political self-confidence and the withering of the British union.
Germany's hosting of the soccer world cup is an opportunity to showcase the intimate, convivial and undervalued charms of the country's railways and rural life, says Christopher Harvie.
The "United Kingdom" is in the throes of a major debate about national identity, patriotism and "Britishness". The latest contribution by Gordon Brown, senior government minister and New Labour's co-architect, recycles flawed ideas, withered histories and exhausted minds, argues Christopher Harvie.
A bullet-train link between Scotlands two major cities is a realistic ambition for an old nation seeking a new place in the world, writes Christopher Harvie.
An economic model in crisis, a polity in chaos? No, says Christopher Harvie of Tübingen University Germany has the resources to survive its troubles and confound its critics.
Robin Cook, leading Scottish and British politician, died suddenly on 6 August 2005. The historian Christopher Harvie recalls a school friend, student debater, political comrade and intellectual opponent across forty-five years, and provides a warm, witty, unillusioned assessment of his career.
An Englishman has tackled the art history of Wales and become a Living National Treasure, as the Japanese would say. Is the metropolis interested? Dont ask
European rail travel (unlike British) is getting faster. This veteran Euro-commuter isnt sure that he approves.