George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life
Tag

UK

Making sense of #brexit resignations

The political landscape in post-#brexit U.K. reminds of the creation and subsequent destruction of Buddhist sand paintings, known as sand mandalas. This is the process whereby coloured sand is strategically placed on a surface through an extremely laborious and time-consuming process in order to create a lovely and detailed sand painting, only to be ritualistically dismantled soon after completion. Like the sand mandala takes weeks of round-the-clock work to create only to be destroyed in mere minutes, the U.K. is experiencing a rapid dismantling of its political and social order, which was moulded over decades of cooperation within institutions such as the E.U. A multiculturally-oriented Britain is rapidly transformed into an inhospitable place, with political campaigns reminiscent of...

Scotland’s big day, morning thoughts on devolution and inequality

Today is the big day. The Scots are voting for or against their independence from the United Kingdom. Some thoughts before I start my day. The polls show the two sides starting the day head-to-head, with a slight advantage given to the Better Together campaign. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, it is safe to say that the tendency towards decentralisation will continue, and more powers will be devolved to Scotland. Quite a lot of focus has been placed on the devolution of powers, mostly to reassure those that have been flirting with a YES vote. The message is clear: this is not the end of the road, more powers will be coming to Scotland anyway, there is no need to break-up the union for this. The Tory angle was also interesting. Don’t vote YES just to get rid of the effing...

Time to rethink the book ban

A Cypriot was stopped at Stansted Airport because he was carrying emergency flares with him. The person that will likely carry mini-explosives to the airport is either a potential terrorist or “stupid and naive”, and it makes sense for the authorities to assume that he is the former. As it turned out, the defendant was not a terrorist. If this was a story about a 22 year-old with a box of distress signal mini-flares in his luggage, then there would be nothing controversial about it, besides perhaps the fact that the police actually returned the flares to him once they charged him. As it turns out, the problem were not the flares, but rather a book he was reading, called the Anarchist Cookbook, which was published in 1971. Five months before his airport arrest, Andreas...

Not very British #BritishValues: how Cameron silences minorities

In his article on Mail on Sunday, the British Prime Minister explains that values such as freedom, tolerance, social responsibility and the rule of law are virtues distinctively British that should be taught in schools. Cameron is factually, conceptually, historically and empirically wrong. These values he describes — tolerance, freedom, social responsibility, the rule of law — are desirable and worth upholding, but they are not ‘British’. They are global values that feature at the core documents of the biggest intergovernmental organisations like the Charter of the United Nations and the Lisbon Treaty. At best, they could be described as ‘Western Values’; an equally misguided conclusion since it assumes that non-Western countries endorse slavery, which is the opposite of freedom. Cameron...

Labour needs a grand vision for Britain

However misguided the Tory vision of a future Britain might be, at least we know they have one. It is time for Labour to start thinking similarly. The numbers attest to this need: recent polls show the first Conservative lead in over two years and give Ed Miliband’s party its smallest share of the vote for four years. Ed Miliband has hired Obama’s former advisor David Axelrod to help him with communicating the party’s policies – but that will not be enough if the party continues to lack a grand vision of what Britain under Labour can look like.

How Ebola turned into an epidemic. Smaller states, public health and pharmaceuticals

There is an outbreak of Ebola virus in Guinea. Ebola is found in isolated communities and it is so lethal that it kills 90% of those infected by it. Ebola virus was firstly identified in 1976, in the small village of Yambuku in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For nearly forty years since then the international community has failed to dedicate considerable resources towards finding a cure, permitting the spread of the virus to the level of an “unprecedented epidemic“. This is what happens when public health is left to the hands of private pharmaceuticals.

Angela Hobbs: Plato and the England Riots

Dr Angela Hobbs wrote a very interesting post, titled Plato and the England Riots, where she analyses how the Platonic threefold source of harmony of the psyche, is linked to the England Riots. The last paragraph ends as follows: ..if we want to diminish looting and the abuse of our banks and taxes, we have to pay far less attention, and accord far less status, to the supposed ‘goods’ that such activities seek (I suspect it is unlikely that anyone stole a copy of the Republic). Our current predicament is not just a case of the unnecessary appetites run amok; it is a case of the unguided thumos run amok as well. Our society needs to scrutinize itself without flinching from some unpalatable truths, and then seek to renew itself, including its educational institutions, in ways...

UK riots and Cypriots

I am a bit shocked about the way Cypriots of my age conceptualise and analyse the riots in the UK. I was a recipient of quite a few remarks against what they described as people who live on benefits and who are driven by consumerism rather than by a genuine anger against the conservative policies. Not only they dismiss the people on the streets as thieves who seized the chance to steal things, they also challenge the whole idea of the welfare state. The latter point is the most worrying.

George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life

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