Showing posts from August, 2014

Losing a Free Thinking Conservative

#454286734 / Douglas Carswell's announcement that he has defected from the Conservatives to join UKIP is a matter of no small moment for the Tory party.  First, Carswell - currently the MP for Clacton - has, entirely consistently with the principles he has always proclaimed in speeches and writings, chosen to resign his seat and re-fight it as a UKIP candidate.  Given his effectiveness as a local MP, and the prominence of his announcement, there must be a high chance that he will win it back under his new colours.  I would have thought he is likely to retain it through a general election as well, firmly embedding him as UKIP's first MP.  Headache number one for the Tories.

Second, this is bad news for David Cameron on two fronts.  The first front is the reaction of his own party.  If the Conservatives cannot accommodate an MP of the calibre of Mr Carswell on the grounds of its European approach, it might be reasonable to conclude that it may have trouble with t…

Ice, Ice....

There was a point last night on my facebook pages where if I pressed refresh every few minutes, I would be greeted with a slew of new, yet very similar, video clips.People in various states of undress stood, talked, and were then doused in water.Yes, the Ice Bucket Challenge hit its viral high as pretty well everyone got in on the act.Now before I go any further, and land myself in hot water rather than shower under charitable streams of ice cold water, I should acknowledge that the friends I watched – or whose video selfies I rapidly skimmed through – are pleasant, charitably minded, humane individuals who undeniably want to do something more than simply mind their own business.And all credit to them for that.But did it, over the past few days, really have to be in the uniform style of a single, unvarying challenge for one clever charity?

There is an obvious danger in pricking the bubble of mass charitable giving that one comes across too readily as some sort of grinch who wants to…

Cameron's non-interventionist policy against IS is a potential disaster

By Chris Schofield

#451659090 /

Barack Obama recently ordered the fourth round of air strikes against the Islamic State, which began last week in a frantic attempt to prevent the predicted genocide of 40,000 Yazidis and other minorities. These refugees had fled in desperation to the arid slopes of Mount Sinjar, fearing extermination at the hands of extremist fighters carrying the haunting black flag of ISIL. Also high on the President’s agenda was the protection of vulnerable US intelligence personnel and other military assets currently stationed in northern Iraq.

The targeted strikes by the US Navy came too late, however, to prevent the mass slaughter of over 500 Yazidis, with horrific accounts emerging of women and children being buried alive by ISIL militants and a further 300 Yazidi women reportedly kidnapped into slavery. This is in addition to the barbarous actions of ISIL militants across Iraq and Syria in the past weeks during their sweeping territor…

A Black President Has Not Led to Black Equality

I mentioned in the previous post the disappointment felt by many black Americans that Barack Obama's election, whilst it may have shattered a glass ceiling in one instance, has not led to demonstrably better relations between black American citizens and large swathes of government and law enforcement agencies.  Well, right on cue, I just came across this Newsweek piece by Pema Levy, who quotes Harvard Law graduate Ryan Hatten:

“In order to understand what happened in Ferguson, one need only know that Mike Brown was black, Darren Wilson is white and Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown numerous times while Brown was unarmed and, according to eyewitnesses, surrendering.”

 Ferguson is not just about Missouri, it seems.

The Democrats' Liberal Siren

When Barack Obama became president in November 2008 he embodied both the hopes of liberal Democrats looking for a more assertive leadership after the Clinton years, and of black Americans who saw it as a major step forward in the realisation of full civil rights.Six years on, both groups have to some extent been disappointed.The current riots inFerguson, Missouri may have specific local causes but they also represent an on-going, wider disconnection that exists in much of America between black communities and law enforcement agencies.The Ferguson riots are still playing out, so any conclusions from them must wait.Liberal Democrats, however, may already consider that six years of unrequited love from the Obama White House make a new political direction imperative.Step forward Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
For those disappointed with the political tenor of the Obama administration as a liberal government, Elizabeth Warren provides an admirable lightning conductor.She ousted R…