If you stop people on the street and ask them to think of conflicts in the Middle East, many will talk about Iraq and Syria in relation to ISIS, some will talk about the quagmire that is Israel/Palestine, and the most astute will mention something about Iran’s nuclear deal. However what is rarely mentioned in the media in the conflict in Yemen, which is essentially a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
This conflict should concern people in Britain as not only are many civilians being killed which is always a tragedy, but much of the killing is being done with weapons sold to Saudi Arabia by British companies. The chaos in Yemen is being facilitated by the British government’s geopolitical interests and the fact that Saudi oil makes Britain the oppressive kingdom’s lapdog.
The issue of Trident renewal has been in the headlines and one of the main criticisms of the British government’s position has been the exorbitant cost of the missiles. However this piece isn’t about Trident. In the wake of the vote on Syria, critics of Britain’s intervention pointed to, among other things, the unmentioned financial cost of bombing the livings shit out of Middle Eastern country. But this piece isn’t about foreign policy. In 2008 £500 billion was spent on bailing out the British banking system due to their reckless and under-regulated behaviour. But this piece isn’t about financial policy either.
This article is about priorities. Whenever there is a threat to the country that is tangible, like the threat of economic collapse or a nuclear holocaust, fiscal prudence goes out the window. On the issue of climate change however the same rhetoric around ‘belt-tightening’ is deployed by the government and the right-wing elements of the media. Not only should renewable energy be seen as a necessity to prevent us all from dying, which to be honest should be motivation enough, it would be economically beneficial. The government should do some Keynesian-style capital investment in green technology.
Because of the vitriolic Republican rhetoric around same-sex marriage, the LGBT community is almost certainly going to line up in support of the Democrats. Indeed in the 2012 election around 76% of LGBT people supported President Obama, and this support for a candidate whose record on LGBT rights was okay. However I do not understand one fact of this 2016 primary; although opinion is split on which Democratic candidate to support, many people in the LGBT community are enthusiastic supporters of Hillary Clinton. This support is a result of circumstances out of her control, but these LGBT Americans are supporting the wrong Democratic candidate.
Everyone to one degree or another is a liberal. Even for us on the Left we acknowledge that certain fundamental principles have their roots in liberal philosophy, and therefore our support of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom from state oppression etc. is a nod to those radical liberals who pioneered these principles. Indeed conservatives that use the term ‘liberal’ pejoratively actual support many liberal ideas. Although I am not a liberal, because I believe capitalism to be an economic system that encourages and rewards the worst parts of human nature, I am aware of what constitutes liberal philosophy. Continue reading →
Imperialism is an oppressive and exploitative form of government that seeks to enrich a select few at the expense of millions of others. Whether it is the example of Britain in India, the US in the Philippines, or Belgium in the Congo, colonial ‘adventures’ have been rightly characterised by violence against the native population by the occupying power and the ravaging of the host country’s natural resources for the benefit of the colonising nation.Yet despite these historical realities a recent YouGov poll showed that 44% of British people were “proud” of their nation’s colonial history whereas 21% regretted it took place and 23% were agnostic on the issue. The same poll also showed that 43% of British people’s view of the British Empire was positive whereas 19% viewed it negatively and 25% held no view. Not only is this attitude dangerous, as one of the key reasons people study history is not to repeat its mistakes, but these views have implications on modern policy.
Since the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, political goings on north of Hadrian’s Wall have dominated the media headlines. Indeed after the 2015 General Election, in which 56 out of 59 of Scotland’s MPs were from the SNP, the media speculation swiftly turned to discuss the possibility of a second referendum. As a result of this focus many backbench Conservative MPs have called on more time to be devoted to English issues, possibly with the creation of an English Parliament.
The replacement of Peter Robinson by Arlene Foster as First Minister and other political issues that have their roots in Northern Ireland’s troubled past have also come to dominate the headlines. As time as trundled along journalists and politicians have begun to turn their eyes to the upcoming elections. In May the London Mayor will be elected along with MSPs in Holyrood and the usual local elections across the country. However everything I have just said has been with one massive omission: Wales. The media has completely ignored Wales and I think I know why.
On the Democratic side, healthcare has emerged as the latest background issue. The Clinton campaign sent out high-profile supporters like Chelsea Clinton to point out the policy distinction between the former Secretary of State and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. I do not live in America, I live in England, but even here it is obvious that the tone of the campaign for the Democratic nomination has changed significantly because the Clinton campaign’s tactics have gone decidedly negative.
Not only was the decision to bring up healthcare a mistake in my opinion, but the attack against Sanders from the Clinton campaign was just false. Chelsea Clinton is an intelligent women yet she was deliberately spreading misinformation, and Hillary Clinton has doubled down on this falsehood. Only one conclusion can be reached from her criticism of universal healthcare: Hillary Clinton is a liar. Continue reading →