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 ➤

Jordan, Japan and control of the narrative

King Abdullah of Jordan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 2013 (Source: World Economic Forum)

The group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) recently set First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, on fire. He had been shot down over Syria on Christmas Eve, during a bombing raid on ISIS bases near the city of Raqqa. On February 3rd, the horrific footage of his execution was… 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 ➤

What’s Wrong with the Left in Europe?

The Occupy London march on 1st May 2012 to mark International Workers' Day

It comes to something when an article on the left in Europe must start with the success of the far-right, once again, in this tumultuous continent. The dust from the three days of terror in Paris, in which gunmen killed 17 people across the French capital, has barely settled on an uneasy and increasingly polarised… Continue Reading ➤

Mockingbird: Harper Lee’s expression of American change

Harper Lee in 1962, , two years after Mockingbird was published (Source: Jbarta)

The news that Harper Lee was publishing a second novel was greeted by a roar of ecstasy in the literary world and beyond. The BBC described it as launching a ‘‘trade frenzy’’, while the Bookseller magazine anticipates Go Set a Watchman to be ‘‘as big as it gets for new fiction’’, and was told by… Continue Reading ➤

Days of Dawn and Torment: Iran’s slow revolution

The President of Iran Hassan Rouhani at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2014

“The Ten Days of Dawn” or “Daheh-ye Fajr” is a phrase used throughout Iran to describe and celebrate the brief period between Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran and the official date of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Some Iranians, however, have referred to the period as “Daheh-ye Zajr” or “The Ten Days of Torment”.  Two phrases that… Continue Reading ➤

Who needs the rule of law, anyway?

The Pudong area of Shanghai, as seen from the Bund (Source: Flickr: mclcbooks)

China is not always known for its adherence to the rule of law.  The judiciary is controlled by the Communist Party, and criminal trials, which 98% of the time result in convictions, “often amount to mere sentencing announcements”, according to Freedom House.  The law that exists is flouted with impunity; provisions against torture do little… 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 ➤