Jun 21, 2012

What can be done about Syria?

The indiscriminate killing of civilians including women and children in Syria continues. All we seem able to do is wring our hands and denounce the perpetrators. The “peace plan” proposed by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, involving a ceasefire by both government and ...

Jun 9, 2012

Jubilee a very British occasion

Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee is over. It was a very British occasion, including the weather. British people enjoy pomp and color. They had plenty of both over the long weekend of the Jubilee celebrations. The press and television covered the events fully and ...

May 16, 2012

The corruption and hypocrisy of China's Communist Party

Some 3,000 young Chinese “princelings” have apparently been placed in prestigious British “public schools” (meaning fee paying and private!) and at universities including Oxford and Cambridge. The Chinese princelings seem little different from the scions of the Russian oligarchs who have been buying up ...

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 ...