Category Archives: Politics

I’m not a politician, and I don’t belong to a party. These are just my attempts to work things out for myself.

Better than democracy? (Part 2 of 2)

followersOne of the questions I keep returning to on this blog is whether there’s a better alternative to democracy.

Churchill famously said that democracy is the worst form of government apart from all the others that have been tried. But as I explained in Part 1, those others are all part of the same general class of political systems in which one group gets to impose its views on another group, explicitly against the will of those people. Continue reading

Better than democracy? (Part 1 of 2)

Flags-and-crowd_webWhat is democracy? You could say that it’s a system in which everyone gets one vote and all are equal. That sounds good.

Alternatively, you could say that it’s one specific example of a kind of system in which one group gets to impose its views on another group, explicitly against the will of those people.

Doesn’t sound so nice now, does it? Continue reading

Ukraine – are we the bad guys?

prayforukraineAm I the only person experiencing a sense of disconnect watching the people in Crimea happily waving their Russian flags and then hearing the White House and European leaders condemn them and imposing sanctions on Russia for aggression?

Here’s the story as I see it. Continue reading

Against the law

illegalIt’s often said that ignorance of the law is no defence. But this surely works only if laws are obvious and known to all. If you don’t know the laws, how can you be sure you haven’t broken any?

Since 1497 there have been 1.5 million Acts of Parliament in the UK. The last UK government passed a record number of new laws – a total of 3,506 in 2010. That’s more than 10 new laws every working day. Are you still certain you haven’t broken any? Do you even know what any of these new laws are? Continue reading

6 lessons from the French Revolution

guillotineI’ve been reading about La Revolution Francaise recently and it seems that there are some really  useful lessons we can learn from what happened. Continue reading

Welcome to Britain!

immigrationOn 1st January, 2014, the borders of the United Kingdom opened to immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria who want to live and work in Britain. The country’s newspapers are filled with hysterical headlines warning of a tide of immigrants, and populist politicians are promising to “protect” Britain from this “foreign invasion.”

So I’d like to redress the balance and say “Welcome to Britain!” Not just to Romanians and Bulgarians, but to everyone! Continue reading

Put the gun down, mister

putthegundownWe don’t really have a problem with gun crime in Britain. That’s because people aren’t allowed to own guns. In Britain even the police don’t need to carry guns.

In the United States the situation is very different. Some 10,000 people die each year and a further half a million are victims of non-fatal gun crime. Continue reading

Ich bin ein Berliner

Steve Morris:

Can a speech change the world?

Originally posted on Margarita Morris:

It’s 50 years ago today that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. But only 6 months previously he had been in Berlin making his famous speech about freedom. I thought it would be interesting to look at a few famous words spoken about the Berlin Wall.

On 15 June 1961 Walter Ulbricht, the leader of East Germany’s ruling Socialist Unity Party, said:

Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten.
No one has any intention of building a wall.

Two months later the Berlin Wall appeared!

On 26 June 1963 the US President, John F. Kennedy, made a speech in West Berlin about freedom. It brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it. Here’s the best bit:

Then on 12 June 1987 President Ronald Reagan made a stirring speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate:

I find the reaction of the West Berlin crowds…

View original 22 more words

Starting a revolution (not)

russellbrandPolitics again – sorry! In Britain we are currently having a national debate about Democracy. This was triggered by the comedian Russell Brand, who in an interview stated that all politicians are the same and there’s no point voting: Continue reading

Cost + Profit = Price

powerstationSo Ed Milliband, the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, has some brilliant ideas to make ordinary working people better off. He wants companies to pay workers more. He wants energy companies to cut prices to consumers. And he wants them to invest more too.

These are all admirable objectives, although hardly original. They are in fact what everybody wants, although Ed thinks he thought of them first. Continue reading