May 9, 2012

Discontent with politicians

Voters in democratic countries are increasingly disenchanted with traditional party politics and regard most politicians with skepticism at best and as generally untrustworthy. In Europe, fringe parties are attracting increasing support. The principal focus of disillusioned voters is the austerity regimes that, the malcontents ...

Apr 25, 2012

Reining in rich tax dodgers

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has declared his intention of cracking down on the ways in which rich people in Britain avoid paying their fair share of taxes. He regards tax avoidance by rich people as immoral. British voters will generally back ...

Apr 5, 2012

The stubborn stench of money politics

The co-treasurer of the British Conservative Party, Peter Cruddas, a wealthy self-made businessman, made some revealing and highly embarrassing comments recently to journalists from The Sunday Times posing as potential donors to the Tories. He suggested that donors who wanted to be in the ...

Mar 21, 2012

Nearing the end of tyranny?

President Vladimir Putin in Russia, President Bashar Assad in Syria and President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe are detested by many of their fellow countrymen who would like to see them overthrown and tried for human rights abuses. They depend on a close coterie of ...

Mar 8, 2012

Rethinking the welfare state

A Japanese father, mother and grownup son were recently reported in the British press to have starved to death rather than face the shame of applying for public relief. Self-reliance and the work ethic are important for economic prosperity and social cohesion, but it ...

Feb 20, 2012

Media and law enforcement

The revelation last year that journalists at the News of the World, a Sunday paper, owned by News Corp., had been involved extensively in hacking into the mobile phones and the voice mail of celebrities led to the closure of this populist paper. Since ...

Feb 7, 2012

Capital pain: pay, bonuses

The recent international jamboree at Davos provided ample opportunity for the “great and the good,” as well as the not so great and not so good, to enjoy gourmet meals and doubtless lashings of champagne ultimately at the expense of tax-payers. The participants also ...

Jan 18, 2012

Loyalty alone is not enough

Japanese have been taught over the centuries that loyalty is the supreme virtue. Loyalty to Japan and to the emperor was inculcated into every child in prewar Japan. The emphasis now seems to be on loyalty to the company employing you, loyalty to your ...

Jan 16, 2012

British influence and the EU

At the European crisis summit in December, David Cameron was snubbed by his European colleagues. His “veto” on accepting treaty changes believed by other members to be necessary to save European economies left Britain isolated. All the other 26 countries were prepared to enter ...

Dec 16, 2011

Foiling the threat from Iran

The recent assault on the British Embassy in Tehran, which the Iranian authorities did nothing to stop until it was too late, led to the rupture of diplomatic relations between Britain and Iran. All British diplomats were withdrawn from Tehran and Iranian diplomats were ...