A Rational Approach to Fighting Terrorism

 A version of this post first appeared on our Facebook page the day after the Westminster attack.

Victims of Terrorist Attacks in Western EuropeWhen it comes to terrorism, the UK is currently the safest that it’s been for decades.

People have been sharing a video of EDL organiser Tommy Robinson demanding that ‘people realise we’re at war’. If the UK and the west are at war with Islamic terrorism, we’re also at war with white nationalist terrorism. Last year Thomas Mair killed Jo Cox because she works with immigrants. The Canadian Alexandre Bissonette killed six Muslims at a mosque. Two years ago Dylann Roof killed nine people at a black church, in what he admitted was an attempt to ignite a race war. In 2011 Anders Breivik killed 77 Norwegians – in his manifesto he attacked Islam, feminism, and Cultural Marxism (which is literally Nazi propaganda – they called it Cultural Bolshevikism).

 

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Stoke Central: Labour vs not-Labour

The Stoke Central by-election is a conflict between Labour and Gareth Snell on one hand, and not-Labour and Brexit on the other.

paul-nuttall-by-euro-realist-newsletter-2009-09-04The specifics of UKIP and Paul Nuttall will drag down the latter – being a pathological liar and a party of clowns will not be attractive qualities anywhere in the world. Nuttall seems to be aware of this, not having attended either of the last two hustings for what is probably the biggest contest in the party’s history, and taken down his website for ‘routine maintenance’ just a week before voting.

Despite these specifics, Nuttall still has a chance of winning. In Stoke Central, 69.4% voted for Leave in the European Referendum, and there is the feeling among a lot of working class voters that neither Tory nor Labour can be trusted to make Brexit happen. This is part of a broader sense that parties don’t listen to voters.

It’s easy to laugh at Nuttall and UKIP. But as Donald Trump proves, just because a politician is ludicrous, we shouldn’t underestimate their ability to take advantage of a sense of abandonment.

 

Obama’s Drone Legacy

Obama’s reputation has improved since the reality of President Trump began to sink in, but we mustn’t sentimentalise him.

One of the key aspects of the Obama administration has been the growth of the use of predator drones. Although underreported in the western press, drones are a major development in warfare, often not properly regulated By the way the United States gathers information, males of military age are by default classed as Enemies Killed in Action. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimate that 800 civilians could have been killed by drones in a range of countries. The use of drones has meant that children in Pakistan have learned to fear clear blue skies, because they are better suited for the use of drones.

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Goldsmith’s Folly

This post first appeared on our Facebook page.

Zac Goldsmith has resigned as Tory MP with the intent of making the by-election a referendum on the unpopular Heathrow expansion. Although such a ‘referendum’ would be informal and abstract, it’s unlikely to be the major factor when locals decide where they will cast their vote.

The Tory Party will not stand a candidate, and it appears that UKIP will not either. This leave’s Goldsmith’s main opponents as Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, all of whom share Goldsmith’s opposition to Heathrow. If there is no pro-expansion option on the ballot, how can the by-election possibly be a referendum on the Tory Party’s policy of Heathrow expansion?

5 Quick Responses on the Nature of Capitalism

The other day we found this list being shared on Tumblr. We have 5 quick responses.

5-best-sentences

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Respect and Context

Respect and context.

Those are the two key things to bear in mind on September 11th.

The events of September 11th 2001 were shocking and tragic. Three thousand lives were ended, countless more lost loved ones, and thirty-seven thousand contracted health complications which have defined their lives since. Whatever anyone thinks of the wider context of American foreign policy, those who died were, on an individual level, innocent.

On the fifteenth anniversary of their deaths, it is correct to pay tribute to them.

But it is also an opportunity to draw attention to the wider context.
On September 11th 1973, Chile’s General Pinochet overthrew his nation’s democratically elected government, almost certainly with the support of the CIA. Pinochet’s terrorism did not last just one day, but for decades, killing tens of thousands. It is correct to use the anniversary to pay respect to the victims of 2001, but that is an anniversary few in the US or UK will forget. Many in those countries will not be aware of the actions of 1973, or their consequences. The anniversary of the better known tragedy is an opportunity to provide context.

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