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The times are a-changin’

Following the end of the Cold War a new international political consensus quickly emerged. The collapse of the Soviet Union had shown the western model of democratic capitalism to be the superior system and that, it seemed, was that. As both the lone remaining superpower and paragon of triumphant liberal values the US would from now on serve … Continue reading The times are a-changin’

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The election of Donald Trump

When America flaps its wings, the whole world shakes. So it is with the election of Donald J Trump. A big, brash, billionaire property tycoon-cum-reality TV star with significant character flaws, no previous experience of public office and a penchant for outrageous rhetoric, Trump's triumph over the far more qualified Hilary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election … Continue reading The election of Donald Trump

Adult play

Humans are risen apes, not fallen angels. Highly-evolved, singularly-exceptional creatures with the potential to reach for the stars. But primates all the same, with a humble animal biology first forged on the African savannas some several hundred thousand years ago. That's important to remember, now more than ever, for contemporary urban life increasingly serves to divorce humankind … Continue reading Adult play

Dealing with the devil: the paradox of nuclear weapons and world peace

The more nuclear weapons there are in the world, the greater the risk of a species-ending catastrophe involving them. That's hardly a controversial statement, at least on the face of it. After all, the grave threat nuclear warfare poses to humanity's continued survival is the very reason why the world's major powers have long been committed—in treaty … Continue reading Dealing with the devil: the paradox of nuclear weapons and world peace

Is winning everything? The Corbyn conundrum

Before last June's general election the overwhelming Westminster consensus was that a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn stood no chance of winning. History (1983, Foot and all that), countless polls and some seemingly telling by-election results (Copeland in particular, the first gain by a governing party since 1982, in a seat Labour'd held since 1935)—all appeared to … Continue reading Is winning everything? The Corbyn conundrum

The war on drugs and the long march towards cannabis legalisation

The legalisation of cannabis and other 'soft' drugs is an issue that should be much higher up the political agenda. The so-called 'war on drugs', declared by then US president Richard Nixon in 1971, has failed in every imaginable way. Despite hundreds of billions in government spending, overflowing prisons and countless lives lost or ruined, prohibition … Continue reading The war on drugs and the long march towards cannabis legalisation

The Russian problem

After the fall of the USSR, it seemed as if a promising new chapter in western relations with Russia was about to be opened. After centuries of mutual suspicion—at times breaking out into open hostilities—those of a more optimistic bent can be forgiven for back then thinking that a more cordial relationship was about to establish itself, perhaps not … Continue reading The Russian problem

A brief note on America’s gun problem

Since the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999—where two heavily-armed students engaged in a spree of violence that left 13 dead and almost double that injured, before then turning their weapons on themselves—there have been more than 200 school shootings on American soil. Not all of these were mass shootings like the most recent tragedy (17 … Continue reading A brief note on America’s gun problem