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 ...

May 13, 2009

The dead weight of a stubborn politician

“Never apologize, never admit mistakes” is a maxim that many politicians seem to regard as necessary to demonstrate that they are firm in pursuit of their policies. They do not recognize that obstinacy is usually a sign of weakness, not strength. Gordon Brown, the ...

Apr 28, 2009

Politicians on the make

The image of members of Parliament (MPs) in Britain has been damaged by recent revelations about the way in which MPs — including ministers and some senior members of opposition parties — have taken advantage of the rules about expenses to feather their own ...

Apr 17, 2009

Taxing times for the rich

The agreements reached at the Group of 20 summit in London to try to close down tax havens and clamp down on tax avoidance have been welcomed by all except those who have benefited from such activities. But it would be foolish to think ...

Mar 25, 2009

Wrestling with job losses as the recession deepens

In Britain the number of unemployed has reached over 2 million (6.5 percent) and there are fears that the number will rise to over 3 million before the recession ends. In America the rate of unemployment is reported to have risen to 8.1 percent. ...

Mar 6, 2009

Human rights in recession

LONDON — “It’s the economy, stupid!” declared Bill Clinton during his U.S. presidential election campaign. He was right then as well as now in emphasizing that economic issues are paramount with voters. President George W. Bush thought that the war on terror overrode all ...

Feb 13, 2009

Blaming bankers' bonuses

LONDON — U.S. President Barack Obama has called for an annual salary cap of $500,000 for directors of banks receiving government funds. (It is worth noting that this sum is $100,000 more than the president’s salary.) President Sarkozy of France is reported to be ...

Feb 4, 2009

Protectionism not the answer

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has rejected protectionist measures to mitigate the effects of the present world economic crisis and has condemned the anti-globalization lobby as ignorant and misguided. He and Lord Mandelson, the minister responsible for business affairs and a former EU commissioner, ...

Jan 16, 2009

Enough to put off a multi-tasker

LONDON — President-elect Barack Obama assumes power (Tuesday) at a time when the United States faces huge problems at home and abroad. Americans and people all around the world are looking to him for leadership and a return to the ideals set out in ...

Jan 7, 2009

Lessons of the credit crunch

The credit crunch and the deepening recession have provided church leaders, politicians, economists, journalists and armchair philosophers with a good excuse for moralizing and for expounding their views on what happened, why it occurred and what to do to prevent a recurrence. The queen ...