Power Dynamics

Out-of-touch Euro-phobic Elites

31/01/2016

I love Europe, its peoples, its cuisines, its landscapes, its architecture, its music, its literature, its languages and its philosophers. Call me a nostalgic but I don’t want the French to become German, the Germans to become English, the English to become Polish, the Italians to be Swedish or the Swedes to become Moroccan. I’m quite happy with the French being French and the Swedes being Swedish, just as long they do not impose their ways on everyone else.

Our Emerging Brave New World

28/12/2015
Mental Health Mantra: If you believe vocal lobbies, we can never devote enough resources to tackle our ongoing mental health crisis. Politicians of all hues like to champion the rights of mental health patients to better care. They try to score points on the perceived lack of funding for mental health services. The subtext is ...

Should we still call the global lingua franca English?

19/12/2015

In more innocent times we associated a language with its national community. For much of history nations and languages had a symbiotic relationship. Language is the ultimate propagator of the cultural traits that hold together communities and enable the development of hierarchical command structures. A multilingual country is effectively an empire, for it has to unite peoples unable to communicate easily except through the medium of a common higher-register language that is not their own.

Destabilisation on the eve of WW3

24/11/2015

Opinion leaders in the West seem to take four positions on the fast-moving Middle East quagmire:

Left vs Right: The Yin and Yang of political analysis

08/11/2015

As idealist teenager I always wanted to side with the notional left on everything. The left represented progress towards a better tomorrow freed of human suffering, prejudice, inequality and exploitation, a panacea in which all human beings could enjoy life to the full in a giant communal garden of Eden. The right, on the other hand, represented the forces of reactionary conservatism emotionally tied to the establishment and traditions that prevented progress to a fairer world.

Creepy Agendas

21/09/2015

Do Corbyn and Cameron agree on Policing the human mind?

Did anyone notice that we now have a shadow minister for mental health? Until recently we just had ministers for health concerned with the provision of medical services and social welfare. Indeed Labour’s new allegedly anti-establishment leader chose to use his limited time at Prime Minister’s Questions to address the perceived shortage of mental health services in the NHS. If you substitute the word psychiatry for mental health, you will soon understand where I’m coming from.

Confusing arguments about Refugees

15/09/2015

Some of us are fully aware of the semantic differences between refugees and migrants. A migrant is anyone who moves from one region to another. All people classed as refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, emigrants, settlers, travellers or nomads are migrants. Migration is a wholly neutral term that implies nothing about our motivations or plans or indeed whether we are moving to another continent, country or just another region of the same country. By contrast a refugee is a special category of migrant fleeing persecution, war and/or environmental calamities.

Imagine there's no countries...

13/09/2015

Reflections on Global Convergence

As an idealist teenager John Lennon’s Imagine became my anthem. I yearned for a future devoid of the seemingly pointless nationalist rivalry and imperialism that had fuelled two world wars and enslaved millions in the colonial era. I dreamed innocently of a world where different peoples would learn from each other, share their experiences and cultures altruistically and fairly. Yet as I travelled around Europe, South America, Southern Africa and India, another reality emerged.

Do we really need more economic growth?

09/08/2015
If you want to justify any policy whether it’s higher military spending, deregulation of gambling, lower corporation tax or higher levels of immigration to a sceptical public, just claim it’s good for the economy. How could any rational human being be against greater prosperity? In today’s cultural climate could any political party openly advocate greater poverty, the presumed opposite of a growing economy?

Bursting at the Seams

02/08/2015
Europe faces an unprecedented stream of human traffic from Africa, the Middle East, Southern and Central Asia. As wars rage from Afghanistan to Yemen and Darfur while deserts expand and arable land available for each inhabitant shrinks, this crisis shows few signs of abating. The heart-wrenching scenes of refugees huddling together on makeshift rafts in the middle of Mediterranean should concern any conscientious human being, but why would anyone go to such extreme lengths to seek economic betterment? Why did this not happen on such a large scale 20 years ago when people in the developing world were arguably even poorer?

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