In politics you encounter a certain kind of activist quite frequently — the single-issue obsessive. This is a person utterly convinced that there is one obvious solution to solve all immediate problems, and probably guarantee their party eternal victory into the bargain. What their obsession is varies; it might be proportional representation, or planning reform, or a Land Value Tax, or MMT. But for at least the last four elections, there’s been a clamour for a ‘Progressive Alliance’ which has consumed the attention of a good chunk of these characters.

The theory goes thus: The non-Tory parties regularly win a…

It might seem odd, in the context of my party losing their majority on Sheffield City Council, to write an article warning of the dangers for our main opposition. Indeed, on paper it would seem as though the Liberal Democrats in Sheffield had quite a good night, making a net three gains and finally removing the majority from Labour’s grasp.

But look below the surface, and Winning Here needs to be suffixed with a large, pointy asterisk.

The Liberal Democrats’ showing in Sheffield last Thursday was their worst performance since the end of the coalition. They secured just 20.7% of…

The well-known Political Spectrum website is, best as we can tell, the brainchild of an obscure Green Party supporter (which might explain why they consider Keir Starmer and Joe Biden to be on the authoritarian right). It’s also, as you’ll know if you’ve taken it, woefully inadequate for its purposes. You have to go out of your way to sound like a cartoonish villain not to end up with a result in the libertarian left quadrant (which is also where the creator places his own preferred politicians and parties).

For a while I’ve been interested less in the policy and…

Photo by Suganth on Unsplash

One of my recent joys has been the discovery of the concept of liminal space. This highly subjective term covers any place of transition — a non-place which serves to enable change without serving a function of its own. Think about an airport lounge, a long hallway crammed with closed doors, or a crossroads with no signs. Without realising it, I’ve found it covers so much of my artwork and writing — which hints at, but doesn’t make explicit, a world and a narrative far larger and more sweeping than that shown.

I now realise that I grew up in…

While I obviously have much to be grateful for compared to others, it’s been a year of frustrating, halting progress, with so much that I otherwise wanted to do curtailed or cancelled. So in the last few hours of (let’s hope) the worst year any of us ever live through, it’s worth pulling out some of the decisions and achievements that made this year a bit brighter.

This is the one I have, but mine’s currently in the bike repair shop so pretend I have a white room.

#1 — I bought an electric bike

My aversion to car ownership is uncertain in origin but pretty strongly held. I live in a good city for public transport infrastructure, with regular trains to most places I might want to…

I’ve never held down a full-time job for more than a few months, and most of my professional life has been made up of freelance work, usually augmented with enough part-time work to cover my rent and bills in case Twitter mistakes me for a racist or all my clients are hit by the same asteroid.

The ability to find a way to live comfortably without doing a 9–5 job is one of the aspects of my life I’m proudest of, but the enforced isolation of the last few months has forced me to interrogate why I work this way.

There’s a lot in a political party logo. Lots of them are terrible of course, but usually there’s a lot of research and expense involved in summing up a party’s philosophy, history and desired public image in a mark that will have to last years if not decades.

Canada is a particularly strong source of examples for an article like this, because each of its provincial parties has its own logo — sometimes these are minimally changed tweaks on the national brand, but often they’re quite radically different. Starting from the bottom, let’s work up to the best of them.

Because the first two games were pretty popular, I imagine.

I don’t think any of us would be millennials if we weren’t haunted by our past. But for Tyler and Alyson Ronan, the question of how to remember and deal with the past is a much more pressing issue.

Tell Me Why is in essence the third Life is Strange game, taking a visual style, tone of writing and gameplay elements from the first two series even if it doesn’t borrow the name. …

They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. From The Outer Worlds’ first rhyme — “You’ve tried the best, now try the rest” — it’s couplets all the way down. The game is the work of Obsidian, with many of the surprisingly vast development team hailing from the old Fallout games, plus 2010’s New Vegas, which leaves its mark most noticeably on the gameplay, partner system and script, but there are other evident influences glued onto each stanza, from a Bioshock Infinite-esque Gilded Age aesthetic to literary references scattered throughout the mission names.

None of which is to…

I take my vacations the way I take my coffee — large and extravagant. This is partly a result of my aversion to the heat which tends to accompany popular cheap holiday destinations, which marries nicely with my status as a childless single, meaning I can afford to travel outside the school holidays and go further for the money.

The last seventeen weeks in lockdown have taught me something else about my choices, though, which is how reliant I am on routine. …

Robin Wilde

Freelance writer and graphic designer. Once worked in politics.

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