When Politics Are Stranger Than Fiction

When Politics Are Stranger Than Fiction

Why you should care

Because with these leaders’ stories, you couldn’t have made this stuff up.

Fighting the Good Fight — With Funny — in Kosovo

Kosovo’s Strong Party is no ordinary outfit. Founded last year by a group of Kosovars fed up with the political status quo, the Strong Party is agitprop supreme, a satirical sideswipe at a political arena marked by corruption and an economy that’s flailing. Its platform planks include installing urinals in every Pristina building, selling ad space on the national flag and legalizing marijuana (to keep the citizenry happy). Also, a Grand Prix racecourse in the middle of Pristina, the eradication of green space and, more generally, world domination. But this satirical party wants more than laughs. Read the story here.

Shakespearean Drama in British Government

When brothers vie for the same prize, the metaphors just about write themselves. Such was, is and ever shall be the case for Ed and David Miliband, who were — until 2010 — the twin leading lights of the Labour Party, heirs apparent to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They served together on Brown’s last cabinet, but David, the older brother, outshone the younger until 2010, when Ed challenged and beat his brother in Labour’s leadership election. End of story? Don’t bet on it. Because while it’s tempting to read more bloodlust and betrayal into the sibling rivalry than likely exists, the natural order of things has been disrupted by the younger Miliband’s ascent to power. But which brother will lead the Labour Party out of the wilderness? Read the story here.

Evil People With Surprising Pasts

Pol Pot. Jim Jones. Idi Amin. Ayatollah Khomeini. Timothy McVeigh. All pretty nasty characters — but with something in common. As history reminds us time and time again, the road to evil often contains some surprising detours along the way. And, as these cases show, a nascent megalomaniac may try on many — unexpected — hats before donning the service cap and shades of a despot or mass murderer. Revisit history’s vilest characters who lived in relative obscurity in the days before they lived in infamy. Read the story here.

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