Fox and propaganda

I watched a Fox News Reporting programme, "Iraq and the Rise of a Terrorist State", yesterday. It was purportedly a news investigation into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), presented by Chris Wallace. But in fact it was nothing more...

On Jihadis, moderates and the US

So Obama wants approval to fund and train moderate Syrian rebels. The recruits would be trained at a US base in Jordan, from where they would be able to travel back to Syria to fight against the government. If this should strike you as familiar, there...

Royal Spin

The monarchy cost the taxpayer thirty-five million pounds last year, according to the monarchy.   The sum hardly sounds credible. And there is a good reason for that: it isn't credible. The monarchy costs the taxpayer far, far more than...

Theatre of the Absurd

Watching Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons is like being a member of the audience in the Theatre of the Absurd. Today's questions were dominated by the issue of what and when Mr Cameron knew about his former closest advisor, Andy...

Environmentalist hypocrisy?

Greenpeace say, "Give us your money. We need to save the planet." So, lots of idealistic, well-intentioned people give Greenpeace loads of money. But what do Greenpeace do with it?   Well one of Greenpeace's ways of saving the planet is to use...

It's the electorate that needs to change

Mr Chuka Umunna, the Labour party's Shadow Business Secretary, knows why people voted for the United Kingdom Independence Party in the recent elections. It is because they are computer illiterate. They are unable to send emails or browse the Internet....

The enigma of the West's support for Saudi Arabia

The world is full of mysteries. Take the West's support for Saudi Arabia, for example. The West is supposedly committed to the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Saudi Arabia is the very antithesis of those values.   Saudi...

Cameron: shades of Blair

Watching Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons yesterday was a surreal experience. It was as though parliament's collective memory had been surgically removed. David Cameron told the House that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant...

Democracy is more than elections

Democracy isn't just about holding periodic elections. Any democracy, worthy of the term, enables the people to decide on public policy matters; not necessarily in terms of details, but certainly in terms of the general shape of major areas of policy....

ISIS: a question of funding

It takes a lot of money to fund a group such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). This, of course, makes one wonder about the group's funding. Unfortunately, ISIS does not publish its accounts. Nevertheless, it is known that the group...

Blair's bloody bonkers

Tony Blair once famously claimed that he only knew what he believed. And he sounded sincere, but he did after all make a career out of sounding sincere.   Claiming to only know what one believes is seriously weird. If one is to take the claim at...

Cameron on 'British values'

In the wake of the missing Trojan horse, Prime Minister David Cameron has joined in the call for the promotion of 'British values'. Given the content of his contribution, I can only assume the purpose of university education for the political class is...

On shrimps and slavery

Slavery is illegal in every country in the world. I am talking about the old fashioned kind of slavery, where people are bought and sold like commodities, where they are subjected to brutal treatment and forced to work without pay. Unfortunately,...

Science and sense

World War One resulted in roughly sixteen million deaths. Horrendous as the figure is, it pales in comparison to the fifty million people who died as a result of the 1918 so called Spanish Flu. Yet, the US Centers for Disease Control have...

On British values, Gove and a horse

The government has gotten itself into a right old pickle over the missing Trojan horse. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has reacted to the scandal by asserting that "British values" must be promoted by all publicly funded schools. This is just...

Anti-Semitism rife across globe

A global survey has found that more than a quarter of the world's population hold anti-Semitic attitudes. The attitudes are most prevalent in the Middle East and North Africa, where seventy-four percent of the population hold anti-Semitic views. In...

On tractor history and the press

Marina Lewycka's novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, was published in 2005. It was widely reviewed in the press. The liberal Guardian was unimpressed. Its reviewer concluded by saying, "Reading this novel gave me the impression that I had...

The Good Sisters

The bodies of almost eight hundred babies and children have been found in a sceptic waste tank in Tuam, County Galway. They died in a mother and baby home run by the Bon Secours between 1925 and 1961.   The discovery was made by local historian,...

When is voting democratic?

Voting to elect representatives who can form a government, create laws and hold the executive to account is generally considered to be fundamental to a democratic state. This, hitherto uncontroversial, notion now appears rather less secure. In Syria...

Belief is wilful ignorance

Talking to a believer is like banging one's head against a brick wall. Criticism, no matter how well founded, just bounces off. The believer is by definition incapable of accepting reasoned, evidenced argument that is discordant with his or her...

Climate Change logic

Whilst I wasn't paying attention, it seems the Obama administration persuaded a court to define carbon dioxide as pollution. They achieved this on the ground that it contributes to global warming, which is true.   Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse...

The science is not settled, says IPCC lead author

Michael Oppenheimer, an Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change lead author, giving evidence to Congress acknowledged that global warming science is not settled.   Another IPCC lead author, Richard Tol, reinforced the point, acknowledging...

Giro d'Italia: stage twenty-one

The final stage looked for all the world like a leisurely procession. However, with twenty-five kilometres to go, Svein Tuft went on the attack and the racing started. By the end, it was a furious bunch sprint, which was won Luka Mezgec.   The...