All of Europe is haunted by a specter — or, more accurately, a Blob.
The Blob gets its title from its namesake horror films, and was coined by perennial British cabinet minister Michael Gove, who used it to describe the vested interests in the field of education when he was the sector’s secretary of state.
From across the Atlantic, it seems that American presidents are gunned down, or at the very least shot at in anger, with steady regularity. None have been hit in my lifetime, but enough have been attacked in living memory for it to be a minor cliché of the office. By contrast, only one British prime minister has been assassinated — and it was over 200 years ago; and his name, Spencer Perceval, is remembered almost solely in light of that fact.
It’s New Year’s Day and, as is traditional, I am laid low by ill health. I am not, to my knowledge, hungover. But no matter, when the year just gone hangs over into the new one, and does so in such an unpleasant, concerning manner.
Minor excitement in the diplomatic world as the British government announced that it would, for the first time, issue direct sanctions against human rights-transgressing countries without doing so under the auspices of the European Union, NATO, or the United Nations. Continue reading →
There is an unfortunate trend in Britain’s politics which has coagulated into a rhetorical device – the latter used so often that it has congealed into reflex. It’s behind a few unfortunate recent cases, each of which have, in their own way, served to confuse, and to excite anger at precisely the most bottled-up and contorted moment of my life time. Continue reading →
In ancient Athens, where the male citizen population gained membership of the assembly upon entering their majority, there is said to have been no such thing as detachment from politics. Continue reading →
The strike was violent, decisive, and wholly unexpected. After frantic reporting, initially doubted by many, the news was confirmed in the early morning on January 3 in Iraq. Two of America’s enemies were dead. Continue reading →
Since the beginning of October, Iraq has been convulsed by protests. The causes of the demonstrations are various and have been exacerbated by extreme repression. But one consistent complaint of those on the streets is Iranian control over Iraq’s government, and the seeming capture of Iraqi society by Iranian interests. Continue reading →
When they started at the beginning of October, protests in Iraq were attributed to general malaise in government and, crucially, the dismissal of Lieutenant-General Abdel-Wahab al-Saadi, a popular counterterrorism officer who had notably fought against the Islamic State. Continue reading →