The Liberal Democrats have called on NATO to suspend Turkey from the military alliance because of the Turkish government’s recent crackdown on dissent following the failed coup d’etat in the country. The Lib Dems claim that the actions by the Turkish government violate “the principles of liberty, democracy, and rule of law that NATO upholds”. This response illustrates why political discourse in foreign policy is so poorly understood as people ascribe qualities to an institution rather than what the institution actually stands for.
A few days ago Hillary Clinton announced Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate. There are a number of solidly logic reasons behind this pick, including that he has blue-collar roots, is fluent in Spanish, and comes from a state which will be important in November, however I still believe that this was the wrong choice. The press reaction has largely been favourable, which is surprising given that ordinary people don’t know who the hell the guy is. Clinton should have gone with someone to fire up the base and put forward solutions that inspire a brighter future, not an incrementalist that resembles the establishment orthodoxy of the last thirty years.
A number of months ago I was speaking to a friend of mine and they were remarking on how funny the US Presidential race had been, particularly the inane comments of Republican nominee Donald Trump. However I distinctly remember telling this person that it was no longer funny, and it’s now just plain scary. To give a bit of context this anecdote took place in the same week as Donald Trump’s appearance on CNN in which he failed to disavow former imperial wizard of the KKK David Duke. The humour has definitely gone now because David Duke, the white supremacist and horrific anti-Semite, has declared that he will be running for the US Senate on the Republican ticket.
Owen Smith has just begun his leadership challenge with loud cries “who the hell is that guy?” from the Labour electorate. His campaign has already has some speed bumps including people revealing his history as a lobbyist and sexist comments he made to the leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood when he thought his microphone wasn’t recording. However now he has twisted was Jeremy Corbyn has said about the deselection of MPs and this mustn’t be allowed to go unchallenged.
In the past few days the Republican National Convention has been underway and an interesting trend has started. In a series of different people’s speeches, significant rhetorical devices and phrases have been plagiarised. Two things struck me about this turn of events: I didn’t realise that Republican delegates would be stupid enough to plagiarise speeches when the entirety of the media is watching every step you take; and also that the media’s coverage was so nearly actually good. The GOP ‘s speech-writing problem could be a consequence of two scenarios that I will touch upon, but the main point I want to elaborate is on the power of political labels.
In 2010 the newly formed Coalition government decided to increase university tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000. Despite protests all over the country from students, the government pushed through the increase.The current Education Secretary Justine Greening has said that she supports increasing university tuition fees and Universities Minister Jo Johnson has recently published a report stating his desire to linking university tuition fee increases to better teaching. Not only will this not result in better teaching, the continued rise in tuition fees discourage people from pursuing a university education.