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Showing posts from April, 2016

Right-wing hatred of Obama is deep and irrational

Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal pulls no punches in the opening lines of its opinion column attacking President Obama.

"Britons now know how Americans feel. The most politically polarizing U.S. President in modern history decided on Friday to inject himself into the British debate over the June referendum to leave the European Union, as ever leading with a dubious political threat."

Wow. Really?  The most politically polarising president of modern times?  Leaving Nixon in the shade?  Clinton?  Johnson?  That's some claim.  But it is very much the right-wing mantra.  Take a UK observer, Tim Montgomerie.  Normally a man of moderation and common sense, Montgomerie lets go of his moorings when he writes about Obama.  He started his Spectator attack piece by comparing Obama negatively against Donald Trump, suggesting Trump was a bit of a shrinking violet when stood against Obama's over-weening self-confidence.  "King Barack" Montgomerie called him, pres…

That Special Relationship - or not

I have blogged before on the one-sided nature of America and Britain's alleged "special relationship".  With President Obama's visit this week, it has once more come under the spotlight, with the president and David Cameron using the phrase many times during their press conference.  Others - notably Brexiters - have been decidedly sniffy about the relationship, while for the president himself it has been clear that he enjoys visiting members of the royal family if nothing else.

As to where it really stands in a modern world of powerful regional unions and multi-country trading alliances, it probably isn't a surprise to learn that strong though the emotional resonance may be, the reality is not terribly significant.  Michael Crowley on Politico analyses where the special relationship stands today, and suggests that other European countries (quelle surprise) such as France and Germany enjoy a more influential role than the one-time ruler of the thirteen colonies. …

Big Bad Bozza - just the tip of the Leave iceberg

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It's difficult for the Leave campaign.  Faced with using high profile spokesmen to get their message across they often end up having to choose between Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.   The campaign hasn't really been kind to either man, although this might of course be the consequence of their well-embedded political personas which have now been unfairly exposed to harsh public glare.  Boris' once-cheery schtick of being a bumbling but well-meaning chap is increasingly seen as the incompetent antics of a jobbing journalist looking for headlines but uninterested in the grunt work of analysing detail.  Farage, meanwhile, is fulminating at what seems to be his increasing irrelevance in the very campaign he fought so hard to have, and spent much of his time today and yesterday excitedly pointing out that President Obama used the word "queue" and not "line" - clear evidence that his statement was written up by the Englishmen in Downin…

The importance of regionalism - A2 Global Politics

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Observer commentator Andrew Rawnsley goes on holiday to Vietnam to celebrate his significant wedding anniversary and ends up ruminating on the EU referendum.  Which may have been trying for his wife, but is good news for us, as he produces a fascinating consideration of the nature of regionalism and why the eastern experience may be one which offers a guide to the British voters on the EU.

Vietnam is well entrenched in our historical memory largely because of the "Vietnam War" which still features on our GCSE history specifications, and has a cultural pull through a range of well known films in particular.  Some of which carefully discriminating teachers like myself show in class when it's really, really relevant and instructive to do so (say, Friday afternoons, end of terms, times when other pressures have pushed out the lesson planning, afternoons when you just want an easy life, an undue confluence between me and my students' lack of desire…