How to solve a problem like migration

One of my favourite books is The Great Migrations by John Haywood. It documents and analyses the most significant movements of peoples since the dawn of mankind. There have been many such migrations and now, in the 2010s, we are in the grip of another, no less significant, movement of human beings, chiefly (but not exclusively) from Syria to neighbouring lands and beyond. Reasons for such migrations vary; it is important to bear this in mind when we see images in the newspapers and on the television. We must address the Syrian refugee crisis with a critical eye and a cool head, not let our baser emotions cloud our judgement.

Hark, hark, the dogs do bark. Why are most 'refugees' men?

Hark, hark, the dogs do bark. Why are most ‘refugees’ men?

Continue reading

Election 2015: five more years of pain

Ukelectionmap2015It’s 1992 all over again as the Shy Conservatives crawl out of the woodwork, make a mockery of every opinion poll in existence and condemn the United Kingdom to five more years of cutbacks, corporate tax evasion, privatisation and a potential exit from the EU, with all the uncertainty that attends it. Continue reading

Election 2015: a nation decides

UK Party LeadersNow that the Easter holiday has passed, it is time that the good people of the United Kingdom turned their thoughts to the 2015 General Election. The grubby world of politics may not be within your field of expertise. The barrage of news coverage of late may have left you afflicted with a sort of election ennui, or you may simply feel that there is not a politician in the land who speaks for you. Such concerns are understandable, but they are not sufficient grounds for staying away from the polling station on May 7th. Continue reading

LFO: A Review

LFOIn my country, it is traditional at the beginning of the year to make a promise which is binding for the next 365 days, only to renege on said vow 6 to 8 weeks later. Such ‘New Year’s resolutions’ typically include gym membership and avoiding confectionery. Sadly, your average pleb tends to run out of enthusiasm by February. I understand: it’s hard to settle in to a more healthy lifestyle if you’re accustomed to living your life as a self-loathing, weak-willed, cake-munching gastropod. Making an effort to better oneself is a decidedly alien concept to many. Continue reading

Money talks: the 2014 Autumn Statement

Sad ChristmasI am reluctant to pour cold water on anyone’s seasonal good cheer. The Yuletide festivities are a stone’s throw away and most people in the UK are not thinking beyond their post-prandial Christmas Day snooze on the sofa, when not even the shrill insistence of a Boxing Day sale advert will rouse them from their alcohol and calorie-induced hebetude. It’s a fine tradition to which most of us in fair Albion look forward and it is understandable that we should be disinclined to contemplate the grey dawn of another year. It is with considerable reluctance, therefore, that I must turn our attentions to Chancellor Osborne’s Autumn Statement. Continue reading

The nay-sayers say nay: Scotland votes to stay

IndyrefYesterday was an historic day in British politics. After months of campaigning and fevered debate, the people of Scotland have cast their votes to determine the future direction of their homeland. 55.3% voted to remain within the United Kingdom, while 44.7% voted to secede. The referendum was notable for its record turnout (85%), its high emotions and the worldwide interest it attracted. The ‘no’ vote also marks the end of Alex Salmond’s career as SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland. Continue reading