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 ➤

Press ethics and the general election – a losing battle?

Here we go. It’s the 6th of May. One day until the General Election and even as I write this article tucked away in a dark corner of a library there is simply no getting away from it. The topic is everywhere, slipping into casual conversations, overheard in the streets, in coffee shops, it’s on… 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 ➤

All-Women Shortlists: Operationalising Utopia?

All-women shortlists do not tackle the deeper causes of the lack of female representation in Parliament.

“All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds” (Voltaire) With just months to go before the next general election, the debate over all-women shortlists continues to divide politicians as well as the electorate. Harriet Harman, the highest-ranking woman in the Labour Shadow Cabinet, stated in 2014: “If you’re against all-women shortlists,… Continue Reading ➤

The Egregious Folly of Western Intervention

A Kurdish march to raise awareness of the situation in Kobane in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 2 October 2014

Only fools rush in: this maxim – beautifully lyricized by Elvis Presley among others – is as relevant to the field of foreign policy as it is to love, of which there is, unfortunately, no better proof than Ingram Davidson’s piece ‘Why We Should Intervene in the Middle East’. Davidson argues that Britain should become… Continue Reading ➤

Why We Must Intervene in the Middle East

The pro-Kobane protest in Trafalgar Square, 1 November. The town has been the focus of much of the recent fighting (Source: Garry Knight)

It was late one August evening and Parliament had voted to declare war on its own integrity. In refusing to come to the aid of the Syrian people, Britain became a nation of apathy, isolationism and cowardice, unwilling to stand for the principles of international law, the cries of Arabic suffering unintelligible to English ears…. Continue Reading ➤

A Transport Revolution? Don’t Bet on It

Take-off from London Heathrow (Source: Benson Kua)

“The biggest road building program since the Romans”, the “most extensive overhaul of our railways since the Victorians” and “modern aviation fit for the modern world”. Sound familiar? These are just some of the bold claims politicians have pedalled over the years about the need to modernise transport infrastructure in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the reality… Continue Reading ➤

Fawning over the Saudis is weak. But a working relationship is necessary

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah in January 2014 [Source: US Department of State]

When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died of pneumonia last week at a ripe 90, the Western response was ridiculously gushing. Barack Obama cut short a visit to India of enormous geopolitical significance (especially for a President who has made pivoting towards the Asia-Pacific region – and away from the Middle East – the supposed… Continue Reading ➤