Jan 13Liked by Emmett Macfarlane

Peter was a giant. He was incredibly generous. His passing is a great loss

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A vast distance exists between, the often, barely educated practice of politics and the depth of understanding of what is actually occurring for good or ill present in the work of our most important scholars touching on politics, much less political science scholars of the quality of Professor Russell.

In the practical politics of representation in parliament of the communities MPs represent, rather than party views or, worse, of movements, I have been asked what skills need to be brought to the table to meet the needs of an increasingly fragmented society.

I answered, I am sure inadequately in the few words I was allowed:

Political diversity and competing interests require the ability to hear what is actually being said and why, enabling conversation between different points of view and need, reconciling differences to achieve agreement on policy and action. In politics, this is the art of the possible. The analytical skills of a historian.

From the little I have read extracted from his works I hope Professor Russell would have understood the difficulty and rarity of achieving these ends, whether or not he would have regarded the answer with something like the generosity and kindness they probably do not deserve or as the "harsh critic of the political class" you describe. But I believe that he would have made the attempt.

We are poorer for the loss you and scholarship have suffered.

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Well put, Emmett!

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I recall Russell from his commentary back when Harper inappropriately prorogued government at least once. Canada has lost a stellar scholar.

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