Showing posts from March, 2015

When Toryism moves right....

Lynton Crosby's general campaign advice for the right-wing politicians he expensively manages generally seems to be to tack right, and then right again, until you've out-manouevred anyone else who might be coming from that direction.  It seemed to work in Australia for John Howard.  It didn't work for Michael Howard in Britain in 2005.  And the jury is obviously out on its impact on David Cameron's campaign in 2015.

Mind you, there used to be a time when the Conservative Party didn't see tacking right as a useful or honourable tactic.  This was a party that held a variety of centre-right views together - including, yes, some of the 'ultras' - but believed firmly in its national position as a "One Nation" party, needing to look beyond its own borders for support and affirmation.  It was a party that understood the welfare state, tapped in to the aspirations of lower income earners whilst maintaining their safety net, and vigorously challenged any …

Michael Gove and the destruction of school history

There’s an odd little article in the Spectator this week.  Written by Emily Hill, and titled “MichaelGove’s secret fan club”, it purports to show how teachers across the nation secretly mourn the passing of the late Education Secretary and have finally been released to teach vigorously and properly as a result of his reforms.  All heart-warming stuff, no doubt, although I counted only three teachers whose views were actually used to propel this lovely tale of education re-booted – one an  anonymous friend (always useful for journalists), one the author’s mother, and one a bona fide teacher seemingly unrelated to the author. 
I did feel a little sorry for Ms. Hill’s mother.  She was apparently nervous at being ‘outed’ as a secret Gove supporter in the totalitarian world we know as British Education, and only felt able to teach demanding lessons to her students once Mr. Gove had finally given her the say-so.  The anonymous friend, meanwhile, teaches Ancient Greek at a London state sch…

The leader of the Middle-East's only nuclear power speaks to Congress

Binyamin Netanyahu's speech to the US Congress tells us much about him and much about the Republican lawmakers fawning over his every word.

The Israeli prime minister has been engaging in a reckless gamble, as he deliberately sets out to alienate the president of his country's only reliable friend in the world.  This is the man who openly sought a Romney victory at the last US presidential election and who has now once again flouted the non-partisan rules of international engagement by taking up his invitation from the Republican House Speaker, John Boehner, to speak to a joint session of Congress without doing the president the courtesy of even letting him know.

Mr. Netanyahu may be holding on to a belief that no matter how much he offends Mr Obama, the US president would not, in the last resort, leave him and Israel hanging in the wind.  And yet Mr Obama has shown that he is willing to redraw the map of American political allegiance in the middle-east if it suits him, espec…

Iraq fights back against ISIS

With Iraq launching its offensive against ISIS in Tikrit - supported by Iran but not the USA - this quick overview on The Week's "Speed Reads" should be a go-to for A2 Global Politics students.  The short BBC video accompanying it is also a useful summary of the current state of Iraq's military.

As the parties sectionalise their appeal, is British politics fracturing?

This far out from a long-planned general election, you can understand why political commentators are becoming desperate for any sort of hook on which to hang yet another election-related article, and why such articles are increasingly speculative.  Everyone suspects the next election will yield results which are some way transformative.  There will be more smaller party representation perhaps.  Another coalition is on the cards maybe.  A party representing the national interest of one part of the UK will have a stranglehold over the other two parts we're told.  All of which may be true, but not until May can we speak of these things with any degree of certainty.  Hence the apocalyptic speculation that is currently the norm amongst commentators.

Nonetheless, the search for new angles can produce some interesting assessment of the current British political condition, and two notable commentators - James Forsyth from the right and Andrew Rawnsley from the left - have produced this S…