Western Sahara: An unreported imperialist outrage

Sahrawi refugees try to reconstruct their camp in Algeria after floods in 2006. Their was of life is on many levels destroyed

We are all familiar with the concept of self-determination: the idea that a group of people should be able to govern their own futures. Many cases of it being denied and subjugated are reported daily in the Western media. But the case of Western Sahara is not. Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara began in… Continue Reading ➤

The Lib Dems’ big problem: and how to solve it

A Lib Dem 'Facebook flashmob' in Trafalgar Square before the 2010 election, when Lib Dem fortunes were at their apex. But a failure to articulate a clear message is making this election battle significantly more difficult.

Becoming a Lib Dem was never a fashionable choice. But never in my lifetime has my party been as unpopular as it currently is. Much of the dissatisfaction arises from our decision to join – and, to some extent, our priorities during – a Coalition which our leader always said he was open to considering,… Continue Reading ➤

English: a global language, but a language nonetheless

A language laboratory in Huaihua College's Western Campus in Huaihua, Hunan, China. The rigid teaching of English in some Asian nations is hampering learners' abilities to make creative use of the language, thus harming cross-cultural communication

In the occasional but ever-growing English language fancies of South Korean TV, there is an instructional approach to answering the question “How are you?” A celebrity on a variety quiz show, a reporter interviewing an American musician or a TV character traveling through Sydney will answer all the same, verbatim, in a monotone, “I am… Continue Reading ➤

The Greens: unprincipled and incompetent?

Credit: Ben Waters

“They have fine ideals, they’re just very naïve.” So remarks a resident of Brighton & Hove about the Greens, the party running the local council. Even a cursory glance at how the authority has been managed since 2011 when the Greens took office reveals a great deal to support this view. They doubled parking charges… Continue Reading ➤

Playing politics: Do the numbers stack up?

Spot the George: Has the Budget merely become an exercise in political theatre?

As we approach the General Election in May, there will inevitably be a steady flurry of manifesto pledges and pre-election bribes from all of the major political parties. Just recently, Labour announced plans to cut tax relief for the wealthiest pensioners in order to fund a slash in university tuition fees by one-third. Add this… Continue Reading ➤

Misunderstanding the lessons from Charlie Hebdo

A pencil left by a Charlie Hebdo supporter in Place de la Bastille, Paris

January 7th, 2015. Chérif and Saïd Kouachi burst into the office of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing nine of its contributors. A few hours later, Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, sends a tweet calling on the French population to “react to this act through a sacred union around the principles of the Republic”. … Twelve dead,… Continue Reading ➤

Can Tony Benn’s ideas still find a receptive audience?

Tony Benn at the Cambridge Union in 2012

Amidst complaints of growing disconnection from the public, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats face the prospect of fighting a general election where voters will turn to the smaller ‘outsider’ parties in record numbers. Overshadowed by the already existing and bigger problem of low voter turnout, popular discourse is increasingly turning to the question… Continue Reading ➤

Why Putin was right to annex Crimea

The Resurrection Church in the Crimean resort of Foros, commisioned by Russian 'Tea King' Alexander Kuznetsov

One year on, and we still keep hearing about the Russian annexation of Crimea. Doubtless the situation in Eastern Ukraine has continued to add fuel to the fire and keep the story in the press, but the media still concentrates a lot on the situation in the peninsula. Illegal as it may have been, however, there… Continue Reading ➤

Why outstanding women of achievement can inspire us all

"If we are strong and have faith in life and its richness of surprises and hold the rudder steadily in our hands, I am sure we will sail into quiet and pleasant waters for our old age" - Freya Stark

In mid-January, I had the honour of receiving an invitation from Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge to report on the ‘Women of Achievement’ lecture series organised in celebration of the College’s 50th anniversary. Once or twice a week, students, members of faculty, and guests all gathered in the Wood-Legh Room of Strathaird House – a beautifully… Continue Reading ➤

Greece, Europe and the Troika: Colonialism in Action?

I'm with stupid?: Slavoj Zizek and Oliver Stone meet Greece's Alexis Tsipras in May 2013

In the week following the Greek legislative elections on January 25th 2015, Syriza’s victory was hailed across Europe as marking the end of economic austerity and a new beginning for the country. Indeed, it is undeniable that the recent negotiations between Greece and the Eurozone were an outstanding Greek victory on the linguistic front: bailout extensions… Continue Reading ➤