In the News

Is Alex Salmond an unwitting Russian stooge?

With the former First Minister of Scotland starting a new career as a talk show host on the Kremlin-backed news channel, RT, the author discusses why those from the left have an unusual obsession with Russia and why Alex Salmond is ignoring Britsh history as well as embarrassing Scotland. (Read More)

History & Philosophy

The invention of history in the Scottish independence debate

“In March 2013 a piece of history was invented, that in 1940, in the face of an impending invasion, Scotland was to be ‘sacrificed’ to protect England. This ‘factoid’ was widely used and elaborated online in the months leading up to the Scottish independence referendum. It continues to be sued to demonstrate Scottish victimhood and grievance.” (Read More)

Education

Current British politics mirrors the mantra of its history: glorify the good, bury the bad

Is it possible that fewer people would hurl racial and Islamophobic slurs at Pakistanis and their communities if they knew that the British Raj was responsible for encouraging Pakistani migration to Britain in the mid twentieth century? I think so. The act of brushing such periods of history under the carpet, means that bigotry is fed by ignorance, which then allows for obliviousness and inaccuracies to find their ways into history books. (Read More)

In the News

Does Remembrance Day remind us of Britain’s future?

As we commemorate those who gave their lives during the two World Wars perhaps we could reflect on what we have done with our freedom and how we have honoured those who paid the ultimate price.

With Brexit, I think there are real opportunities to be had in terms of reflecting, re-assessing and redefining our vision of Great Britain.C (Read More)

'Europe' / CC
Europe

How could an independent Scotland join the European Union?

Another question to address is whether Scotland would have to adopt the euro as its currency. Tobias Lock and Kirsty Hughes, writing for European Futures suggest that Scotland ‘would probably have to commit to eventual euro membership, but would not meet the criteria yet.’ They also submit that an independent Scotland would ‘be able to postpone this [adoption of the euro] (probably indefinitely).’ (Read More)

Asia

North Korea: A genuine threat or grand strategy hindrance?

Tensions between the US and North Korea have reached new heights in the last few months, with the war of words between both nations ramping up and becoming increasingly hostile, but what does this conflict ultimately boil down to? Do the US believe North Korea poses a serious threat to the world order, or are they more concerned about the threat they pose to US grand strategy ambitions? (Read More)

Europe

Article 127: The question of the Single Market

With Theresa May’s Florence speech offering a semblance of calm in Europe, the fact remains that the process of leaving the European Union has only just begun. Indeed, amidst the backdrop of strenuous, prolonged negotiations, lies the small, often underreported piece of legislative verbiage that could prove to be the thorn in the side of Britain. (Read More)

Ideas & Discussion

You are not oppressed

This article deals with the difference between oppression and prejudice. Many people now claim to be oppressed now but are rather suffering from prejudice from a tiny minority of their fellow citizens. As a result, many people have a ‘victim mentality’ which isn’t really justified. (Read More)

Photograph: 'The pro-EU march from Hyde Park to Westminster in London on March 25, 2017, to mark 60 years since the EU's founding agreement, the Treaty of Rome' by Ilovetheeu / CC
Politics & Society

Is May safeguarding the position of EU and UK citizens?

“At face value, it appears to be a good deal. However, when one reads the small print, it becomes apparent that there is no value in the offer, and it lacks the certainty that Theresa May continuously refers to. The offer has come after the EU Council Decision of 22 May proposing their policy on safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. Therefore both sides have now adopted their position. However, the UK’s offer is nowhere close to what EU would like to secure as a part of the exit deal.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Homelessness and expense: The reality of the private rented sector

“While, of course, the series undoubtedly explores areas such as unaffordability and sub-standard living conditions, we must remember that it acts only as a microcosm of society, by exploring the conditions of only a handful of private tenants. Indeed, the fact of the matter is that the impacts of the Private Rented Sector are becoming more profound and widespread than ever before.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

May’s snap judgement leaves the Tories red-faced

Perhaps it will be her who will now be the centrepiece of a ‘coalition of chaos’. She will be aggressively pursued by the parties who find themselves out of the loop. Labour, the SNP, and the Lib Dems will all be sharpening their knives. The next five years look set to be plagued with uncertainty and instability, the products of a divided Westminster May so confidently promised to unite.
(Read More)

'Theresa May' by DonkeyHotey
Politics & Society

How Politicians Talk To You

“Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist approach has not been in the mainstream for decades, and we are unaccustomed to hearing the idea championed that the broadest shoulders should bear the heaviest load. This principle has been normal in rich countries like Norway and Sweden. However, some of the richest 5% find it galling to be asked to pay yet more. The reintroduction of basic socialist language into British political debate jars profoundly with the individualistic language of our society normalised by Thatcher in the 1980s. As a result, Corbyn’s old ideas sound new and exciting to young people because they have never heard them before.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Confessions of a Shy Tory

“I can assure you it takes more than money as well. You need to deeply change a culture and foster an atmosphere of individual responsibility and initiative in people. The only party that seems to mention responsibility is the Conservatives now, who have the word 11 times in their 2017 manifesto compared with 7 for Labour. A very crude measure, but like I say, much of this is just general feeling from the different parties.” (Read More)

History & Philosophy

Liberalism’s problem with the concept of violence

“What is violence? In truth, there is no clear definition. Political theorists often disagree about the parameters of the word and its relation to other metaphysical concepts such as power. This leads to radical differences. An anarchist may see violence as any act which restricts choice; whereas, a liberal may view violence as physical, empirical, an action of causing harm. How violence is theoretically treated radically defines many political doctrines.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Review | ‘The Broken Journey: A Life of Scotland 1976-99’ by Kenneth Roy

That’s extremely important given today’s politics. So much of Scotland’s past is used as a resource to fuel arguments, on both sides, of the constitutional debate that it’s rare to find a rhizomatic reading of history concerned with how well the system worked. How the Scottish justice, health, education systems operated with and through the Scotland Office; its ministers and its instruments and scope of its power in Scotland make for a fascinating read and serves an accessible index of political parties and policies still asking for your vote today. (Read More)

Politics & Society

Hugh Andrew | The joy of democracy

“All the endless consultation about what the people want has neither settled anything nor tracked any clear path. Indeed, the government has largely halted in the last few years in the ceaseless build up or wind down from one vote to the next. The Scottish Parliament has no legislation before it and – before the Prime Minister’s announcement – the sole topic of interest seemed to be another referendum.” (Read More)

Africa

The distorted manifestation of an ‘instant’ man-made famine: how the current crisis in South Sudan was no surprise

“Famine in South Sudan is not rare. Poor governance and instability quickly turn drought into a humanitarian crisis. The political and economic situation amongst the population of South Sudan has been disastrous even before the country gained independence in 2011. The Christian population of South Sudan comprises mostly black Africans, while Northern Sudan is predominantly Arab and Muslim. The political, religious, economic and social asymmetries in favour of the north, as well as racial tensions, have widened this divide between the two countries.” (Read More)

Arts & Culture

Donald Trump and Theresa May’s ‘special relationship’ has been turned into NSFW street art

“Young people have never even more isolated, and some are lashing out. Street art represents an immutable reaction against a political class that doesn’t want to listen, a voting system that is flawed and a society that feels angrier than ever in a generation. It is no coincidence that these montages are so often graphic in their depiction and so publicly displayed.”
(Read More)

Politics & Society

The Labour Party: Goodbye working class?

“The Labour Party recently has been plagued with a myriad of controversial events. Front-bench resignations, shadow-cabinet reshuffles and reports of bullying have engulfed the normal day-to-day operation of the party to such an extent, that its effectiveness as an opposition and prospective government has come into question. In light of this, you would be right to think that matters couldn’t get worse. But they have, with two recent by-elections in Copeland and Stoke central bearing this out. ” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Hugh Andrew | In the Kingdom of Allemonde

“There seem to me many Golaud’s in Scotland today. Their shrill and loud voices speak of their own desire to silence the still small voices of doubt inside them. And many of these Golauds speak too on the Unionist side of the argument. In the stentorian shouting match about the ‘answer’, people have forgotten what the true ‘question’ is. Nor it is it, of course, one ‘question’ but many (and many in each of us) which feed into a sterile and binary divide. And that question is at the deepest level about who we are.” (Read More)

Ideas & Discussion

Why I hate vegans

“Taxidermy is soon to be found only upon the walls of edgy right-wing night-clubs. Veganism is on the ascent and has quickly become an echo-chamber of sanctimony and righteous indignation. Quinoa and tofu; pine nuts and avocado: these are the altars at which the vegan worships, and the vegan worships loudly.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Unionists should welcome Indy2

“Are we deceiving ourselves into thinking independence will grant our extensive wish list? Of course not, but as things stand we are getting very little. Scotland should be the author of its fate even if the road is wrought with difficulty.” (Read More)

Europe

From conflict to peace: Remembering Martin McGuinness

“What is easy to do, and perhaps too easily so, is to allow for the visceral reaction to turn into a reignition of past difficulties. If there is to be one rallying call today, it’s that peace, first and foremost, be celebrated and protected. That is a legacy, for all people and all sides, to hold onto and belongs to more than just one man. ” (Read More)

Ideas & Discussion

Is this the end of the Liberal international order?

“Neither must we conflate nationalism with national pride and support for national values, and especially not with racism. It is perfectly legitimate for nation states to defend their own borders and define their own narratives. An integral part of the liberal world order is internationalism, a body of interacting nation states that may trade freely, share policies and examples of best practice that can simultaneously remain as sovereign actors.” (Read More)

Africa

The African AIDS epidemic is the West’s failure

“A huge number of victims of AIDS are young women due to their lives as sex workers as there is a lack of opportunities to otherwise make money for women due to education deprivation. Developed nations, therefore, can be argued to have ultimately failed to meet their global responsibilities, as so many African women are still unable to access education and therefore, unable to progress their lives. Accessible education around the globe is a global responsibility for all developed countries.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Murdo Fraser | Sturgeon doesn’t speak for Scotland

“It is perhaps little wonder that Ms Sturgeon sees the political distraction offered by Brexit as an opportunity to divert attention from away from her government’s dismal domestic failings, and is promoting a grievance agenda against Westminster in order to try and drive up Yes support.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Trump, the alt-right, and the normalization of bigotry

“But, with the normalisation of bigotry in the name of free speech, the alt-right will find themselves increasingly providing a cover for people with sincerely ugly beliefs about ethnicity, sex, culture, religion and more. Even now it’s hard to tell the genuine fascists apart from the common trolls.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Saving UKIP: A Herculean Task

“He has, until recently, retained strong support amongst both UKIP’s longest-serving members as well as the MEPs currently sitting in Brussels. And he may yet win the hearts and minds of the disillusioned, working-class voters he so doggedly pursues. The odds, however, are stacked heavily against him. Nevertheless, what is clear is regardless of whether Nuttall or UKIP survive this storm, the appetite for a party representing disillusioned, anti-establishment voters in the UK isn’t going anywhere.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Government defeated on Brexit Bill as House of Lords back amendment to protect EU citizens

“Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), Ministers of the Crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this Act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future.”
(Read More)

Politics & Society

Caroline Kennedy: America’s Next President?

“The argument exists that she currently lacks sufficient experience to run; the same argument was used against JFK when he ran for the Presidency in 1960. One has only to study Caroline’s past and observe her speak to see she is a natural diplomat and public speaker with some excellent political and legal experience; certainly more than many other Presidents and Presidential hopefuls in the past.” (Read More)

Middle East

Netanyahu’s UK visit represents a paradigm shift with Israel

“Settlements aside, Israeli/UK business remains stronger than ever. Trade relations between both countries are positive and are steadily growing in both directions. Bilateral trade is worth £5 billion a year and has doubled in the last decade. The UK is Israel’s second largest trading partner after the US. And, technological, pharmaceutical and military collaboration between both sides remains strong.” (Read More)

Education

Higher Education: Is Social Mobility working?

“I graduated in the summer of 2016, now while my student experience was absolutely fantastic; just a seconds thought about my £27,000 plus student debt is enough to make me feel nauseous. Coming from a working-class family, choosing Higher Education was incredibly daunting, I don’t even think my parents had £9000 in hand to claim their own. University felt like my only option, I needed a degree; if I wanted a successful career and to break my barriers, I had to obtain a degree and I’m so glad I did.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Parliament: The effectiveness of representation

‘MPs at the end of the day are representatives. It is this status, I believe that is the very cornerstone of our democracy. Not all, but a large majority of MP’s, I have noticed, do represent their constituents using ‘their own judgement’. Examples include Dennis Skinner, Alex Salmond and Jacob Rees-Mogg. More specifically the Hon. Philip Davies, states that he will ‘always put constituency interests first’. This highlights how Parliament is beginning to improve in its function of representation. ‘ (Read More)

Books

‘It Can Happen Here’ is as relevant as ever

Michael Meyer’s wonderfully acute, succinct and thought-provoking introduction describes the book’s protagonist, Doremus Jessup, as ‘a mild, rather indolent and somewhat sentimental liberal’. If only the world today was full of indolent sentimental Liberals. Similar to those in It Can’t Happen Here, with the exception of Jessup, today’s Liberals seem on the one hand content to hold together a world that is evidently not working for the majority of people, while also to their credit are able to identify a truly dangerous, hapless president who poses a threat not just to their world but to the ideals of the whole population. (Read More)

Scotland

The British Premier League

Countries stay together because they want to. Constitutional arrangements are contingent upon this desire, not progenitors of it. You see, there came a moment when no amount of ‘home rule’ could have preserved (all) Ireland within the Union. Think of it in human terms if you prefer, eventually a partner who is perceived as intolerable to live with is shown the door: no amount of domestic tinkering can mend the broken will. Thus it can be observed that a singular focus on the constitution as unionists strive to safeguard the British Union is to put the cart before the horse. Unionists have to cultivate the desire to remain British amongst their fellow countrymen or the Union is burst. (Read More)

Donald Trump speaking with the media at a hangar at Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona. / Gage Skidmore
Politics & Society

Dangers from Trump’s narrow hinterland

“The second weakness is that his entire career has been as a businessman. The fact that he has proved very capable in his various business appointments does not obviate the risk of harm that experience only in this one arena could bring to governmental processes. On the contrary, it could increase it. Trump has already shown he has the prejudices of many business people about government: that it is a hindrance to productive business.” (Read More)

Photograph: 'US-UK-Flags' / CC
Politics & Society

Farage, Trump and the Future of UK-US Relations

In the current global political climate, UK-US relations hang worryingly in the balance. Relations with one another’s transatlantic counterpart have simultaneously been touted as pivotal and yet uncertain, currently. Yet with Nigel Farage marching onto the scene claiming to be the key to reviving relations between the two nations through his ostensible “bromance” with Donald Trump, why, then, has Downing Street rebuffed Farage’s overtures so swiftly? And what are we to make of the future of UK-US relations? (Read More)

'Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.' by Gage Skidmore
Politics & Society

The surprise election of President Trump

With the recent election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency, this article briefly discusses some of the factors behind his successful election, what we can glean from his statements so far and why his election doesn’t spell the end of the American republic. (Read More)