Politics

Week 100: Unremarkable Centenary

On the whole, my 100th week in Cambridge was an unremarkable one. There were no novel evening activities nor weekend adventures. The week had the usual mix of college lunches, real tennis matches and work in the department, both PhD work and administrative tasks. The only time during the week where I broke from my cycle of college, home, tennis, supermarket and department was to head out on Sunday to the Royal Mail depot to pick up a pair of parcels I had delivered. I finally managed to fix the few bugs in my code and export the data into MATLAB, the program I was using to generate my plots.

Rather, the most distracting feature of the week was the political news coming from back home in Australia. The week had the distinction of featuring not one, but two challenges to the Prime Minister’s leadership, and we ended the week with a change in leaders. Development were coming in continuously throughout the week, and it was impossible to but sit with the metaphorical popcorn and watch. For those unfamiliar with recent Australian politics, this scenario has repeated itself again and again over the last decade. No prime minister has served a full term in office since 2007. Of the last four changes in leaders, only one was due to an election. Because in the Westminster system, the leader of the largest party serves as the Prime Minister, should the leader of the party change, so does the Prime Minister. In Australia, the leader of the party can be challenged by the members of the party in parliament, and so spills and changes can literally occur overnight. To add to the confusion of having two spills in one week, there was also the threat of constitutional eligibility of one of the contenders, tactical manoeuvring, shock ballot results, a three horse contest and a demand for people to come out of the shadows and put their names to their words. It was all very bizarre, and nobody I spoke to, Australian or otherwise, seemed to believe it was, or could, happen.

Once it had all calmed down by the weekend, it was time to take a breather. Not just from political developments, but the fast pace the summer has brought. I stayed home all of Saturday, and as mentioned before, only ventured out on Sunday to get a parcel. Jacqueline and I had the time to put on a half decent home-cooked meal for Sunday evening, which helped calm everything down a lot.

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