Blasphemy, law and violence in Pakistan

Paul Bhatti (R), Pakistan's Minister for National Harmony, speaking at New York Encounter 2013 about his decision to continue the work of his assassinated brother Shahbaz Bhatti for universal religious freedom in Pakistan, despite threats to his life.

I was trained to believe that the law was a tool for social justice and positive change. As a law student, I viewed the law as a weapon to fight against oppression, marginalisation and discrimination. The reality, it seems, is very different. Like any other tool, the law can be manipulated into being used in… Continue Reading ➤

Does the deficit really matter?

An anti-austerity march in central London in June 2014

It has become an article of faith among the financial, economic and political commentariat in Britain and Europe that a budget deficit is an important issue, and one that requires urgent redress. In the UK, this partly results from domestic politics. Over the last five years, government rhetoric has argued that deficit reduction through government cuts… Continue Reading ➤

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 ➤

Iraq: A lost cause?

A US Marine in Anbar, conducting a security patrol around combat outpost Viking, Iraq, in 2009

As Hegel famously observed: “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” Perhaps anyone involved in Western foreign policy in the Middle East should recite this every morning before they go to work, because right now we are sleepwalking into the mistakes of the past. On 16 March, the… Continue Reading ➤

Taipei’s Eslite bookstore: Microcosm of an industry in flux

The Eslite bookstore in Taipei

A bookstore might seem like the last place for young people to be Saturday nights, but the scene at Eslite in central Taiwan is anything but quiet. Towering five stories high, the Eslite flagship store seems to transcend all stereotypes: not only is it attracting customers of all ages and backgrounds, but it has seemingly shrugged… Continue Reading ➤

Ripple effects: oil prices, politics and power

The Nigerian capital, Lagos. What impact will falling oil prices have on the country's economy?

Oil plays an integral part in the landscapes of the global and local economy. The price of oil holds great importance for the public’s fuel bills, for countries’ currencies and budgets and for the general health of the macro-economy. Since June 2014, the price of Brent crude has fallen by over 55%. The principal reason… 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 ➤

BBC Russian’s Seva Novgorodsev: my method was compassion

Seva Novgorodsev: "I was told on numerous occasions that I was the one who brought [the Soviet Union] down".

“I suppose it started in 1956 with ‘Rock around the Clock’,” says Seva Novogorodsev MBE, chuckling in a bout of reminiscence. The 74-year-old BBC Russian presenter sits across from me in a studio at BBC New Broadcasting House in London. It is the day of our interview for The Cambridge Globalist and I am, expectedly, overcome by emotion. What an honour it is… Continue Reading ➤