For Tina Burrett's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Feb 29, 2012
The battle over Scotland's future as part of the United Kingdom has begun. Last week, politicians on both sides of the border set out passionate arguments for and against Scottish independence. All three of Britain's main political parties are committed to preserving the union. In a speech in Edinburgh on Feb. 15, Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, said he would "fight with everything I have to keep our United Kingdom."
Jul 14, 2011
May 11, 2011
Britain's rejection of a new electoral system in last Thursday's referendum comes as no surprise. Nor does the predictably low turnout of 42 percent. Alternative Vote (A.V.), the system proposed to replace the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) method of electing ministers of Parliament (MPs) to Westminster, was no one's first choice. Even the majority of those fronting the Yes campaign viewed the system, in the words of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as a "miserable little compromise."
Dec 15, 2010
2010 has seen a change in Russia's relations with the West. The Obama administration came to office promising a "reset" in relations with Moscow, and in the past year, this new mood of cooperation has begun to deliver tangible results. Moscow and Washington are working together to reduce their nuclear arsenals, as well as to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other states.
Oct 14, 2010
New party leaders never want for advice. Since his election as leader of the British Labour Party last month, everyone has words of wisdom for Ed Miliband. This frenzied fight to mold the Miliband message is hardly surprising; a series of poor policy and presentational decisions when Labour last lost power in 1979 kept the party out of office for a generation. How Miliband defines himself in the next few weeks will determine whether his party is fated to another long spell in opposition.
Sep 15, 2010
For Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, it has been a hectic summer. He took a spin across 2,100 km of the Siberian tundra in a Lada, was initiated into the Hell's Angels, fired darts at gray whales with a crossbow and still found time to jump into the cockpit of a Be-200 jet to extinguish the wildfires devastating western Russia. There's no rest for the wicked.
May 5, 2010
Britain is on the brink of its biggest political upheaval in a century. The general election that takes place this week has become an unofficial referendum on the electoral system itself. Britain's first-past-the-post (FPTP) system discriminates against small parties, wastes votes and encourages politicians to shape their policies to suit a handful of swing voters in marginal constituencies.
Apr 13, 2010
Just last month, the opposition Conservative Party seemed as close to unbeatable in the upcoming British election as is possible in politics. But last week Gordon Brown, the usually dour prime minister, had reason to be cheerful. According to the latest polls, Brown's Labour Party could yet emerge as the largest party after the election on May 6.
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