topic: UK

Emperor Boris

We, who live in the United Kingdom, have fallen into a habit of considering our politicians as a bunch of dissolute and feckless, mostly grey, ‘servants of the people’, whom we like to mock and complain about. Westminster seems a quaint, at times almost irrelevant, institution struggling to keep up with the times. We consider the United Kingdom a middling country with a relatively small population; though there are enough people here that many of […]

why do electorates divide nearly 50:50?

Have you ever wondered why so many recent political votes divide their electorate almost 50:50? This is my attempt at a simple—perhaps obvious—explanation. The results of the referendum for Scottish Independence (No 55.3%: Yes 44.7%) and the Brexit Referendum in the UK (Leave 51.89%: Remain 48.11%) seem to me remarkably close—especially given that in one case you had 3.6 million people voting, and in the other 33.6 million. Why were these not 60:40, or even […]

the Scottish Referendum and the community of Britain

The community of Britain and Northern Ireland, formed by hundreds of years of intermarriage and shared history, is too strong to be broken by Scottish independence. It seems likely to me that all that such independence would be is a ‘coup’ whereby the northern part of that community wrests back some of the political power that is increasingly concentrated in London. Before the north of Britain was deindustrialized, power and wealth was more equitably shared […]

an argument for scottish independence

(In the Autumn of 2014, the people of Scotland are going to vote in a referendum to decide whether they wish to separate from the UK. There are all kinds of arguments that can be made for and against this separation, I would like to add one of my own.) Humanity seems unable to focus on doing what would have to be done to head off global warming of 2ºC – and, the way things […]

force majeur

Snow has fallen heavily along the coast of the British Isles – 60cm, perhaps. With our maritime climate, this kind of weather is unusual enough that it has never been worthwhile investing vast resources in proofing our infrastructure against it: but common enough that when it happens it brings chaos. From the midst of this chaos rises the usual outcry: why can’t they do something about it? The same voices would be the first to […]