Section: World

Patel’s plans for offshore asylum centres plumb new depths

Vivienne Griffiths

Increasingly outlandish and inhumane plans to deal with the migrant ‘crisis’ have emerged from the Home Office in recent days. According to the Financial Times, home secretary Priti Patel explored plans to set up asylum processing centres in the South Atlantic. The plans appear to have been dropped only because of the impracticality of shipping […]

Three little words to save democracy

Tom Serpell

Remember ‘Lock her up!’ and ‘Build the wall’? Surely not a manifesto for government yet the foundation for Trump’s victory four years ago. We live in an age of populism in which messages matter more than manifestos. Even backbench Tories are complaining that their leadership routinely bypasses them, parliament and democracy.  Rule by the people, […]

Tuning in to Your Better Nature

Viviane Doussy

This year, Global Earth Overshoot Day fell on 22 August.  This is not a fixed anniversary, but the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that calendar year.  When records began, exactly fifty years ago in 1970, Global Earth Overshoot Day was December 29. It has been […]

Something fishy afoot as Brexit future nears

Rod Watson

On the north-west coast of Scotland, an ancient castle sits atop a 40-mile sea loch. To the north and east lie mountains so often wreathed in clouds and mist that locals swear the castle has magical properties and will disappear and re-appear in a flash. This is the Seat of the Ancient Society of the […]

The tarnished crown of Spain’s reforming king

Richard Bernden

For the crowned heads of Europe, 2020 is proving a difficult year. While the Windsors fight fires here in the UK, they are as nothing compared to the turmoil that has beset the royal family of Spain. Since he abdicated the throne in 2014, the allegations of corruption and money-laundering around the former king Juan […]

My 2000-mile lockdown rescue mission

Petra Kopp

After several months of Covid-19 confinement, the prospect of an ocean passage from the Canaries to Plymouth might seem like a rather extreme choice of escape. And to be honest, back on 3 August 2020, as I set off to meet up with two fellow sailors at Gatwick, it felt that way to me as […]

Is democracy a sham?

Tom Serpell

In the centuries since the English Civil War and the Putney Debates it has become customary that democracy is seen and promoted as the most desirable basis for governance, whether at state or local level. Rooted in the concept of human rights, democracy seeks active engagement of all qualifying citizens in selection of policies and […]

Don’t blame Covid-19: educational testing has been broken for years

Vivienne Griffiths

The recent A-level debacle, which hit students from disadvantaged areas hardest, has been presented as an unprecedented set of circumstances because of Covid-19. But a report just published shows that the gap in educational attainment in terms of class and ethnic background has been growing steadily since well before the pandemic, largely because of poverty. […]

Our Covid safe haven in France can’t last

Jill Stevens

When President Macron introduced lockdown in March, with barely 48 hours’ notice, the spring sun was hot, the boulevards of Paris overflowing. Many may have expected discord, the return of rioting gilets jaunes. But it was just a weekend of disobedience. And in the days and weeks that followed the message got across.  In France, […]

More power to the pushers in solar revolution

Maya Evans

Solar power has brought with it many benefits – though perhaps not the current flood of cheap high-quality heroin to our shores. Today, Afghan opium production has seen a sharp rise with the arrival of solar power and the ability to pump water from depths of 100m. Being able to irrigate barren deserts has turned […]

Hang on, I think I can hear the future

Rod Watson

As a child, I remember the telephone in our house. It was a wooden box, screwed to the wall and big enough to hold a pair of shoes. The handset consisted of a corinthian column, a bakelite mouth flute at one end and a hearing piece at the other. To make a call, you lifted […]

Hong Kong ‘welcome’ stops short at Calais

Ginny Foster

The UK government has moved swiftly to offer a safe haven to millions of Hong Kong Chinese following Beijing’s introduction of a new security law. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has spoken of our ‘duty of care’ and boldly challenged China on this draconian legislation.  Indeed, the UK is leading its allies in offering those with […]