Should California declare independence?

California is a wonderful state. It enjoys the world’s best tech companies, bountiful and increasingly eco-friendly energy resources, a entertainment industry unparalleled in global clout, a vast array of productive and innovative businesses, and almost perfect weather. But in recent years, and particularly since Trump became president, Californians feel increasingly dissatisfied with Washington. On every …

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Why virtually everyone gets Italian politics wrong

Italy held a general election on 4 March. After weeks of deliberation, a government was formed, between the hard-right Lega Party and the populist Five Star Movement. But governing has been fraught. The ideological divisions are the coalition make forming a coherent policy platform challenging. Many of the policies, such as harsh restrictions on immigration, …

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Are Oxford and Cambridge prejudiced?

David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham in North London, has recently acquired data on admissions to Oxford and Cambridge universities. It shows that the vast majority of those who get in to the UK’s two best universities are from relatively wealthy families. A disproportionate number are from London and the South East. And while ethnic …

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Abortion in Ireland: the weaknesses of the Repeal campaign.

On 25 May, Ireland will vote on whether to repeal the 8th Amendment to its constitution, which prohibits abortion unless a mother’s life is threatened. Based on opinion polling, the Repeal campaign should win. But polls have tightened in recent weeks. About a fifth of Irishmen are undecided. The result will almost certainly not be …

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How the Trump presidency has improved American politics.

It’s fair to say I think the Trump presidency has been an unmitigated disaster.  His casual bigotry, dishonesty and regressive economic policies are terrible for America, and have made the world a less stable and safe place. The most recent example of Trump’s destructiveness is his withdrawal from the Iran deal, which will only hasten …

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Are the super-rich uncaring?

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the richest part of Europe, recently held elections for the borough council. The elections were believed to be unpredictable because of a terrible tragedy that had occurred last year, where a public housing tower block called Grenfell Tower burnt down, killing 71 people. The tower burnt because it …

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Why Westchester County should vote Democrat.

Today (Tuesday),  the New York state senate has two by-elections. Should the Democrats win, New York state will be under unified Democrat control; the governor’s mansion and lower house are already blue, but the senate is still mostly Republican. One of the senate races is a safe-Democrat Bronx seat. So the only election that matters …

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War is not conservative: The hypocrisy of Trump and May

Being politically conservative is a vague, hard to define notion that depends heavily on the context in which the term is used. To be a conservative in an Islamic theocracy is very different to being conservative in a communist dictatorship or a liberal democracy. Even within a country, the meaning of conservative can change over …

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Brief thoughts on the gender pay gap

In every country in the world, men are paid more than women. In the developed world, women tend to earn around four-fifths of what men do. In the developing world, it is common for men earn up to six times what women make, particularly in conservative Muslim countries like Iran. With the latter, it is …

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