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?

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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

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

Election 2014: a vote of no confidence

European Election 2014The hustings are over and the results are in! Across the European Union, millions of citizens have cast their votes in the widely-anticipated elections of 2014. There will be some new faces in the European parliament, new voices and a lot of uncomfortable truths to be considered. For this particular election has been characterised by the rise of radicals and Eurosceptics, of disillusionment and frustration with the Establishment. We have experienced what French prime minister Manuel Valls quite rightly termed a ‘political earthquake’.

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He’s not the Messiah: the Mark Duggan case

The Dugganites hold a vigil for their martyr. Would you enjoy the same honour if you were shot dead by the police?

The Dugganites hold a vigil for their martyr. Would you enjoy the same honour if you were shot dead by the police?

On 4 August 2011, 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot dead by police. His death triggered an angry protest by his friends and relatives which snowballed into a nationwide riot. Most of the rioters neither knew nor cared who Mark Duggan was but the ensuing chaos afforded them a golden opportunity to pilfer sportswear and Playstations. More on that here: Continue reading