Category: Politics

  • Debating

    Loved it when I was young – but certainly caused some tensions, and now perhaps seen as aggressive and overpowering. “In our age of polarisation we have lost the skills of thoughtful empathic argument – and the will to invest in them”.  Debate encourages empathy, not polarisation, as you need to be able to see…

  • Microaggression and victim culture

    Honour cultures developed in pastoral societies, where your worldlygoods could simply be lifted one night and you would be left with nothing.  Itwas important to show your readiness to defend and retaliate withforce. Scottish immigrants to America may have brought some of this withthem, particularly to the Southern States! But as civil society developed and…

  • Don't forget, nuclear war is still a real threat

    9 nuclear states, all in conflict (India and Pakistan, Russia and NATO, etc). Enola Gay had 1 bomb (16 kiloton), killing 100 000 in Hiroshima.  1 Trident sub can carry 100 Hydrogen bombs, equivalent to 1000 Hiroshima bombs. The smallest Trident missile (multiple war heads, range from 0.3 to 100 kiloton) would kill 500 000…

  • Universalism and Nationalism

    Montesquieu- I am a father, before I am a Parisian. I am a Parisian before I am a Frenchman. I am a Frenchman before I am a European. But in a virtuous world I would run to the aid of a stranger as readily as I would to the aid of a friend. We aspire…

  • The Ruislip Russian Spies I never heard of

    At 45 Cranley Drive, Ruislip, in 1961, 2 Russian spies were arrested.  According to their friends and neighbours, they were Peter and Helen Kroger, from New Zealand.  And their passports were genuine. But their fingerprints revealed them to be Morris and Leontina Cohen, from the US originally, communists from poor Polish Jewish families.  Morris had…

  • Mistaken Identity – Reith Lectures 2016 – Kwame Anthony Appiah

    Genetically we seem predisposed to seek links with groups outside our immediate family, and seek differences that distinguish “us” and “them”.  Important in the small groups that early man survived in. Colour – Western peoples assumed everyone came from Abraham, via Noah, and race/colour were considered mere geographical variations! Race ideas emerged at same time…

  • Origins of totalitarianism

    Hannah Arendt “origins of totalitarianism” – panic and confusion after Great War. The collapse of imperialism as a benign ideal. Awareness of power of advertising to influence people. Democracy and liberalism became weakened. People were not to be trusted with autonomy. Hence powers given to Hindenburg before Hitler ever came to power. Fascism then set…

  • The Battle for Adam Smith

    Statue on the Royal Mile, commissioned by Adam Smith Institute, unveiled 2008.  But the ASI, established in 1976, is a think tank promoting neoliberalism.  Others eg Margaret Thatcher also claim Adam Smith as a father of free enterprise economics. Gordon Brown has said that Adam Smith would be happier in the John Smith Institute rather…

  • Blair-Brown New Labour achievements

    We always seem to forget the achievements of a long standing government, and see only the weaknesses.  The New Labour government inherited large deficit and high public sector debt.  Until 2007 national debt remained lower than when took office.  They introduced a minimum wage.  They lifted ban on gays in military, legalized civil partnerships, revoked…

  • My generation's failing

    “[Generations] refused to imagine themselves as making changes. Instead, in the role of the angry outsiders, they have called for the people they do not respect to make the changes on their behalf… a strategic error with enormous political consequences.  Imagine if the millions of NGO members had joined political parties and virtually taken them…