The gunrunner President

American weapons makers have dominated the global arms trade for decades. In any given year, they account for between one-third and more than a half by value of all international weapons sales. Until recently, the Trump administration had focused on the promotion of big-ticket items like fighter planes, tanks, and missile defense systems around the …

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Our collective memory is fading

The famous quote by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, is echoed by Yascha Mounk, who writes, “One possible explanation for why young people are disenchanted with democracy is that they have little conception of what it would mean to live in a different political system.” Today most …

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Turkey regresses

For many years Turks were very pro-Western. Indeed, they considered themselves part of the West. But, maybe, partly because the EU members baulked at Turkish EU membership and the cultural upheaval it might cause, Turkey is undergoing its own cultural upheaval, where the authorities are insisting on ethnic, religious and historical distinctness from the West. …

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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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