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David Howell

For David Howell's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Nov 30, 2010

Aims of Britain and Japan

LONDON — This is a speech delivered by David Howell, minister of state in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Japan Society of London on Nov. 18. Before being appointed to his current post, Howell was a regular contributor to The Japan ...

May 12, 2010

Democracy far from perfect

Prime ministers refusing to leave, political parties with a large number of votes being excluded and dubious coalitions being negotiated — which country are we in, the United Kingdom or Iraq? The parallels between current political events in London and Baghdad are truly striking, ...

Apr 28, 2010

U.K. overdoses on change

British politics has been turned upside down by recent events. The traditional two-party battle between Labour and Conservatives has been thrown into confusion by a big surge in support for a third party, the Liberal Democrats. The likely result could be a “hung parliament,” ...

Apr 16, 2010

U.K. searching for the center

When national elections are called, the major political parties — while of course emphasizing their differences through their propaganda — in practice all veer toward the center ground and claim it as their own. We are the ones, each leader proclaims, who can unite ...

Apr 1, 2010

The single-currency disease

It seems only yesterday that leading Japanese industrialists who had heavy (and very welcome) investments in the United Kingdom were calling for the pound to merge with the euro in one grand continental currency. Now the tune has changed. It is recognized that keeping ...

Mar 19, 2010

Revising the art of defense

LONDON — How much should a nation spend on defense and its armed forces? A furious argument is now raging in Britain over this very question, with insults and criticisms flying between top military men and politicians about levels of defense spending, standards of ...

Feb 25, 2010

Poland's future looks bright

In the 20th century the very name “Poland” conjured up images of suffering, refugees, slaughter, terrible destruction and division. Here was a country that had been invaded, partitioned, endlessly fought over, defeated and conquered. Will the 21st century be kinder to this ancient and ...

Feb 10, 2010

In search of a big, new idea

Governments everywhere are nowadays being overpowered by the problems and tasks they face. This is the clear conclusion to be drawn not only from the terrible time U.S. President Barack Obama is having, but also from the travails of many other political leaders. In ...

Jan 27, 2010

Surprise! More gas coming

Sometimes a quite simple new discovery or technological breakthrough changes everything, making nonsense of yesterday’s apparently safe assumptions and expert projections. The classic and often quoted example used to be the 19th-century forecast that all London’ streets would inevitably become blocked with horse manure ...

Jan 14, 2010

Good intentions, bad results

A cycle in which intended results become reversed has overtaken Britain’s political, government and social scene. All too many bold promises, targets or programs put forward by the government authorities supposedly to improve the lot of the British citizen, however sincere and well intentioned, ...