Non- Disparagement Agreements

Some of the people who appear on American TV, or who are quoted in articles about President Trump, have signed non-disclosure agreements that oblige signers not to disparage Trump personally, or members of his family. Some versions provide for financial penalties, others are comprehensive in terms of Trump’s political, social and financial affairs. So the …

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What Britain’s pro-Europeans are getting wrong

Brexit seems to be going from bad to worse. The governing Conservative Party can’t agree on a plan for leaving the European Union- the Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed plan is opposed by a significant chunk of Conservative MPs and the vast majority of Conservative members. Negotiations have been slow and fraught, with each side …

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Brief thoughts on the upcoming Swedish election

Sweden is viewed very favourably in Britain. It’s seen as tolerant, liberal and friendly country, committed to modernity yet proud of its traditions. Sweden seems to get the balance right between supporting free markets and free trade on the one hand, and having a compassionate approach to the poor and refugees on the other. Yet …

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The sorry state of British education, part 3, universities

The conclusion of a three-part series on British education. You can read the first part on GCSEs here, and the second part on A-levels here. British universities are amongst the best in the world, beaten only by the United States, a country with five times the population. They attract high numbers of students from virtually …

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Why Jeremy Corbyn should resign.

Last week I posted about why the centre-left is in decline. Today, I wanted to talk about a party that has bucked the trend. Since Jeremy Corbyn succeeded Ed Miliband as the British Labour Party leader following its defeat in the 2015 general election, he has done what hardly anyone thought possible- substantially increase the proportion …

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A former spy-chief says social media emboldens the far Right.

I am reproducing a book review by Stephen Collins in this month’s edition of Prospect Magazine, because it needs to be emphasised and tepeated. The book is called “Principled Spying” by David Omand, a former head of GCHQ. (Georgetown University Press): “Twitter and Facebook have a darker side. I have seen them encourage the growth …

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Epicurus and politics, a response

If you type in ‘Epicurus and politics’ into Google, the first result you get is an excellent post by Robert. Here, he explained Epicurus’ arguments against politics- the needless anxiety caused by a gullible public being fooled by charlatans only interested in their own gain. Charismatic figures will emerge, appealing to the public’s sense of …

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Hitler and Stalin would be so envious!

The Guardian reports (July 20th) that the Chinese government is busy creating an individual profiling system for each and every Chinese citizen, a “social score” which will indicate who is a “desirable employee”, reliable tenant, valuable customer, their eligibility for a loan, whether they are shirkers or a “waste of time”. And, of course, who …

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Thought for the day

In the 2015-2016 election cycle, the fossil fuel industry in America received over $20 billion in federal subsidies. These subsidies are not only encouraging economic behavior that is decimating our environment but they are putting the welfare of a dying industry above the future of life as we know it.

Were Londoners right to protest Trump?

On Thursday, 12th July 2018, I took the train from my small hometown into London. I was only planning a nice paddle boat ride in a lake in Regent’s Park, to celebrate graduating from university. Instead, I was greeted with huge crowds, who had gathered to see Trump’s helicopter land in the park. Many of …

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Cementing the Oligarchy

“My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written and a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.” (Brett Kavanaugh, nominated by Trump for the Supreme Court yesterday). Sounds correct, sounds …

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Charles Krauthammer recently died. This is his view of the United States

“America is the only country ever founded on an idea. The only country that is not founded on race or even common history. It’s founded on an idea and the idea is liberty. That is probably the rarest phenomena in the political history of the world; this has never happened before. And not only has …

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Should the Democrats embrace socialism?

On June 26 2018, a young woman called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a Democratic primary for New York’s 14th seat in the House of Representatives. She beat the well-established incumbent Joe Crowley, running on a platform of radical wealth redistribution, relaxation of America’s immigration laws and enforcement, and strong policies to deal with climate change. In …

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The Supreme Court threat to our peace of mind and liberty

What will the Supreme Court look like in three months time? It will be majority Republican, the newest member picked from the outer ranks of the most quixotic and literal interpreters of the US Constitution. He (probably he, because women should be attending to the kids, don’t you know) will believe that abortion should not …

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Thought for the day: Far-sighted Seneca

Two thousand years ago, Seneca reflected on the very matters that have consumed the minds of right-thinking men through all eras of humanity to the present day: “We are mad, not only individually but nationally. We check and punish manslaughter and isolated murders, but what of war and the much-vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples?”

The lurking threat to British democracy

A short while ago this blog was discussing Brexit and the right wing of the Conservative Party. In the course of this I mentioned Jacob Ress-Mogg as a potential Prime Minister, and rather soon unless unforeseen events stop it. Two decades ago Jacob’s father, William, wrote a book, or manifesto, called .”The Sovereign Individual: How …

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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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The plight of the dispossessed Palestinians

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, when three quarters of a million Palestinians were forced to leave their homes. Some 100,000 Palestinians fled to Lebanon and, with their descendants, have been prevented ever since from returning. The residents of the camps are condemned to poverty, marginalisation and ill-health. This community has also endured …

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The US lobbying bonanza

The successful Republican drive to overhaul the tax code in 2017, resulted in a bonanza of business for Washington’s law and lobby firms. Bolstered by GOP control of Washington, lobbyists saw their business explode grow last year. The prospect of tax legislation and regulatory reform was the big reason why. The 20 largest lobbying firms …

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Politics are worse now that earmarks are banned

“The problem with Washington today is that there just isn’t enough bribery. In the old days, when parties lacked a few crucial votes to pass important legislation, they could win over opponents with the help of so-called earmarks. These were sentences included in spending bills that directed some of the money to specific projects – …

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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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The best democracy money can buy!

Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Mick Mulvaney is working diligently these days to gut the agency he now heads. But Mulvaney isn’t seeing that same diligence from the financial industry movers and shakers he’s endeavoring so hard to shield. Last week, at a financial industry conference in Washington, D.C., Mulvaney told 1,300 bankers to …

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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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Is anti-Semitism a significant problem in Britain and America?

The first post I’ve done in a long time. I’m at the busiest time of my degree, so yet again I don’t know when I’ll be able to post next. Apologies. But this is a huge issue at the moment, so I felt the need to address it.  Anti-Semitism is on the increase in both Britain …

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