Oct 8, 2009

Bureaucracy gone mad

Two policewomen with children work part time. While one is on duty, the other looks after the children of both families. When education authorities learn of this arrangement, they forbid it, as neither policewoman has a certificate allowing her to act as a child ...

Sep 11, 2009

Shifting balances of power

The hope was that the League of Nations before World War II and the United Nations, its postwar successor, would provide a more effective way of ensuring world peace than the “Balance of Power” that Britain, in particular, had tried to maintain in Europe ...

Sep 2, 2009

Justice, clemency and U.K. politics

The secretary for justice in the devolved government in Scotland decided Aug. 20 to release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only individual who had been convicted of involvement in the so-called Lockerbie tragedy. This terrorist incident occurred more than 20 years ago when a ...

Aug 11, 2009

Seven topics for a summer day

LONDON — As Japanese lawmakers campaign for the Aug. 30 Lower House election, British members of Parliament are in recess and Prime Minister Gordon Brown is on holiday. Papers and weeklies are scraping the barrel for something to write about. Many fill their columns ...

Jul 28, 2009

Challenge of a straight question

LONDON — Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, recently was asked twice by the Defense Committee of the House of Commons whether the army chief of staff had requested that reinforcements of 2,000 men be sent to Afghanistan, where British forces have recently suffered ...

Jul 17, 2009

Scrutinizing fitness to lead

LONDON — How much importance should we give to the right to privacy? Should politicians and personalities in the public eye be expected to forgo this right because the public need to know the facts about them in order to judge their fitness for ...

Jun 14, 2009

The will to deal imaginatively with a crisis

LONDON — The report that North Korea had set off a second underground nuclear explosion made headlines here, but European eyes were on issues closer to home, including elections to the European Parliament and the state of the European economy. The main focus in ...

Jun 12, 2009

The deficits of democracy

LONDON — Britain and Japan have prime ministers who have not been endorsed by the electorate in a general election. Both are hanging on to power and argue that it is their right as prime minister to choose the date for the next election. ...

May 21, 2009

The way forward in Afghanistan

So far, 157 British troops have died in Afghanistan and many more have been injured. These are significant and worrying losses. How long will British public opinion accept these losses when it is not clear whether the war in Afghanistan can be won? Britain’s ...