Dec 14, 2012

Press and Internet freedom

The exposure of the scandalous behavior of the popular press in Britain in hacking into the telephones of people in the news caused such anger that the British prime minister set up a judicial inquiry into standards of behavior in the media. Lord Justice ...

Dec 5, 2012

Cast your ballots carefully

Disillusionment with politicians and established political parties has been growing in democratic countries for some time. Politicians are increasingly seen as venal. Some are incompetent and ignorant. Many are often arrogant and conceited. But we cannot do without them. Anyone with experience of autocratic ...

Nov 28, 2012

Failures in market economies

The eurozone has not yet collapsed and all countries not in the zone must hope that it will survive. If it did fall apart and new currencies were established, there would be serious threats not only to international trade but also to economic growth ...

Oct 21, 2012

Using the noodle to gain insight into Japanese culinary culture

SLURP! A Social and Culinary History of Ramen — Japan’s Favorite Noodle Soup, by Barak Kushner. Global Oriental, 2012, 289 pp., $90 (hardcover) Under the heading “Ramen is Japan” Barak Kushner asserts: “Ramen (regular and instant) permeates all features of contemporary Japanese life.” He ...

Sep 13, 2012

Airports: too few or too many?

A hot political question in London in recent weeks has been the need for more airport capacity to meet the needs of business in the 21st century. A neutral observer might think that this is essentially a matter that should be settled on the ...

Sep 5, 2012

Paralympics a smash success

The general feeling after the London Olympics was that the excitement was over. The Paralympics would, it was feared, be a damp squib after the games. In fact the Paralympics have attracted large and enthusiastic audiences. The media have given the competitions almost as ...

Aug 23, 2012

Legacy of the 2012 Games

The British are feeling quite pleased with their performance not only in the games, where they came third after the United States and China in the medal league, but also because the arrangements worked well and much better than some had feared. The host ...

Aug 2, 2012

The Olympic extravaganza

London has Olympics mania. The newspapers are devoting more than half their pages to the games while the airwaves are dominated at all hours by coverage of Olympic events. Even cynical oldies can’t avoid catching some of the fever. The Brits were determined that ...

Jul 17, 2012

Britain's endangered breed

British parliamentary democracy has developed over the centuries and is often seen as a model for other countries. At its best, the system works for the public good, curbs corruption and prevents tyranny by the executive. But it is not without faults. The division ...

Jul 6, 2012

Culture of greedy hypocrites

One of the causes of the present crisis in the eurozone has been the failure of European government to collect all taxes levied on citizens and companies. In Greece, Italy and Spain, tax avoidance became notorious. Rich Greek shipowners managed their businesses to minimize ...