Photograph: Pexels
Europe

Time to reboot the debate on Europe

Last week the first of a series of debates on the UK’s membership of the European Union took place in Glasgow. This debate were to focus on the concerns of young people, but it maybe didn’t get off to a wondrous start. The panel, with its mean age of almost 60, is maybe not the best to really understand the concerns of today’s youth. The debate itself very aptly summed up the referendum debate so far – scaremongering, with little regard for facts as the dominant narrative. This is doing nothing to rebuild the public’s trust in politicians, especially as both sides contradict the other sides’ arguments on a continuing basis. With less than a month to go, it is time for a reboot of the debate on Europe. (Read More)

'Lighting the Future' / CC
Environment & Energy

The bright future of nuclear power

With moderated, slowed down neutrons, only a fraction of the nuclei in the core can be fissioned. With unmoderated, or fast neutrons, a considerably higher proportion of the nuclei are fissionable. This leads to favourable recycling properties which present a solution to the single biggest issue concerning commercial nuclear power – waste. (Read More)

UK

Ken Livingstone and the freedom of speech

It should be stressed that recent statements from Ken Livingstone and other representatives of the Labour Party have been anti-Semitic in their nature, and their suspensions, therefore, are correct. However, we must act with caution, especially in the current time. The ever-so-difficult balance between the freedom of speech and the protection against abuse must be found. (Read More)

Environment & Energy

Watch | John Lindberg – The securitisation of nuclear power

Why is it that nuclear power is so feared, despite the fact science rejects this notion? What are the implications of this in terms of combating climate change? In his talk at the undergraduate conference ‘Let’s Talk About X’ at the University of Glasgow, Darrow’s Deputy Editor John Lindberg explores some of these questions by using the theory of securitisation. (Read More)

Environment & Energy

Democracy and environmental vision can go together

What’s to be done? Saying ‘go vote’ is wasted breath because people will only want to do it if they want to anyway. What we should all be rallying for, particularly at elections, is not just for promises for this and that but for, as President George H.W Bush put it, the ‘vision thing’. We want politicians that will sacrifice the popular for the right, and there is a curious absence of it these days. Our country deserves more than ‘the now’ and it deserves a future, but only if our elected officials are brave enough to look beyond their own five-year plans and see the nation’s life as contingent on the environment which nourishes its peoples. (Read More)

History & Philosophy

Brussels vs Istanbul: The proximity principle and selective caring

The proximity principle explains why a terrorist attack in the U.S. would affect us more than an attack in Nigeria. Proximity can also refer to cultural proximity where we perceive a certain culture to be closer to our own. This better equips us to relate to what has happened. An attack on a culture similar to ours makes the scenario that similar events could happen at home much more credible. We can rationally understand that attacks taking place in a faraway country could theoretically take place anywhere, but this hardly ever translates into an emotional response. (Read More)

UK

The watershed Budget?

Much can, and has, been said about Duncan Smith and his welfare reform. It is easy to demonise him, however maybe unfairly. If one explores his background in welfare reform, one should not forget that this man is a part of a rare breed of politicians nowadays – conviction politicians. His genuine belief that his reforms are for the better for disabled and disenfranchised people should be applauded. (Read More)

Photograph: 'St. Andrews Square, Edinburgh' / Chris Fleming
Scotland

The hijacking of Scotland

The SNP has been successful in creating a narrative of ‘us and them’ – Scotland versus England. If someone living abroad just tapped into the public debate one could not blame them for thinking that most of the Scottish people would be ardent nationalists. However, this does not correspond with the facts on the ground. (Read More)

Ideas & Discussion

Nuclear Terrorism – What is the actual threat?

Utter the phrase nuclear terrorism and most people would automatically envisage a bright flash, followed by a mushroom cloud rising over a scorched earth. It is an issue that steps into the stage light every now and then, cause some frightening headlines, only to then disappear into the quagmire of issues that are not ‘newsworthy’ enough. Nuclear terrorism is, like all issues connected to the word nuclear, fraught with misconceptions, myths and even outright lies. It is high time that some light is spread over this in order to separate myths from facts, thus enabling a truly informed debate regarding this substantial threat. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Arts & Culture

Review: ‘Die Welle’ (The Wave)

Is the threat of dictatorship and oppression but a distant memory? Is it something only found in developing countries half a world away? Has democracy and its subliminal values been entrenched in the West? These are all issues that Dennis Gansel’s film Die Welle (The Wave in English) seeks to deal with. Based on true events, this story seeks to explore the human psyche and the very society that we are taking for granted when it is put under pressure and its ‘basic truths’ are questioned. (Read More)

Europe

‘Crumbling borders restored?’ – The German suspension of Schengen membership

Today is a remarkable day. Today we see the fallout of something that most of us believed to be impossible. Germany has, albeit temporarily, suspended its membership of the Schengen Agreement in response to the refugee crisis. This decision to suspend its membership in Schengen marks a shift of policy from statements made by Chancellor Merkel earlier this week. The rhetoric from Berlin has changed remarkably in the last few days and it is important. The prognosis of 800,000 refugees coming to Germany this year alone puts a unprecedented stress on German society, but it is also telling of something larger, a decline in something seen as ‘sacred’ by Eurocrats. The free movement of people, a ‘fundamental’ pillar of the EU, has in effect, started to end. (Read More)

UK

Manifesto Review: The Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democratic manifesto is ambitious, yet pragmatic. It contains some of the radical think found in the Green Party but also the realism of the Conservatives. The resulting compromise therefore is a well balanced energy and environment policy that by and large manages to incorporate most key aspects of a sustainable policy. Certain policies are likely to prove hard to implement, such as reduction in energy use, as this would be misdirected and is unlikely to prove popular with the public. Its stance on nuclear power is interesting as it might open the door for new approaches to nuclear power that are currently disadvantaged. (Read More)

UK

Manifesto Analysis: The Green Party

The Green Party is, and as expected, highly radical regarding energy- and environmental policy. This radicalism is seen throughout the manifesto and the Green Party is the first out of six UK parties to have their manifestos scrutinised and analysed on Darrow. The overall philosophy is that of radical change do address climate change, but also to deal with a range of issues from fuel poverty to the way the energy market operates. It is highly critical of the markets and it proposes high levels of government intervention throughout the policy areas. (Read More)

UK

Manifesto Analysis: The SNP

The SNP’s manifesto in relations to energy and the environment lacks in details and these segments are fairly short. It is fairly clear that the Party is not investing a lot of political capital into these policy areas. The policy statements that are present however are in line with what the SNP has been arguing for some time, especially in terms of wind power. They are also the only out of the six manifestos to be analysed that does not mention nuclear power. (Read More)

UK

Manifesto Review: The Labour Party

The Labour Party manifesto vows that they ‘…will put climate change at the heart of our foreign policy’ and aims to create one million green jobs in the UK. They envisage Britain as a world leader in low carbon technologies and has as target net zero emissions. Climate change is being highlighted as a national and international security risk and the importance of global emissions peaking around 2020 is stressed, however it is fairly sparse on actual policies. (Read More)

UK

Manifesto Analysis: UKIP

As the second manifesto to be analysed, UKIP’s is running against the general consensus that climate change must be combated and a need to shift towards a zero-emission energy production . The underlying philosophy is very straightforward: there is a need for a diverse energy production, ranging from coal, gas (conventional and from fracking) to solar, hydro and nuclear, however only where these can be delivered at competitive prices. Given its rejection of climate change as a significant issue most of its policies run counter to conventional wisdom in the field. (Read More)

Environment & Energy

The evil twin of climate change

2015 could be the year that mankind united and rises above national grievances and takes action against a threat that we all face. Climate change is upon us and our actions have already led to significant and irreversible changes to our planet. The climate summit in Paris in December will be the last chance to seriously address the problem – inaction now and we will not be able to meet the critical 2 degree target. If the planet heats more than 2 degrees we are in unchartered waters, waters that will very dangerous for all species on this Earth, not only humans. (Read More)

'Lighting the Future' / CC
Environment & Energy

A small solution to a big problem

What if we could address Britain and Scotland’s energy security before it became a real problem, with a solution that not only offers cheap and reliable electricity, but also allows for us to meet our emission targets? Renewable energy sources are important yet usually fail two out of three tests all while the hypocrisy of the SNP remains astounding. (Read More)

'Lighting the Future' / CC
Environment & Energy

Nuclear Britannia – How a break with complacency can save the day

Many of the greatest revolutions that mankind has experienced have been linked to the innovation or exploration of new energy sources. Coal allowed us to leave the Dark Ages behind and step into the Industrial Revolution. The automobile revolution, driven by oil, continued that revolution. But we are now standing on the brink of a new step, a new revolution. The question is, will we dare to seize the moment? (Read More)